Halloween 2020 is shaping up to be just as wild and weird as the rest of the year.
If there is one strange aspect of this year’s celebration of the dark and macabre, then irony would be shifted to the forefront. Over the past year, the world has been living in fear and anxiety fueled by deadly plagues, nightmarish political scenarios and unbridled street violence. All the while, society has been forced to wear masks. With this in mind, the powers-that-be have been mumbling about “canceling” a holiday that encourages masking and promotes the spread of fear and the unknown.
Fortunately for local Halloween enthusiasts, the Azalea City embraces Halloween much like Joe Cain Day and St. Patrick’s Day. Even though COVID seems to be rearing its head in hopes of another lockdown, Mobile’s birthright to celebrate is being conjured along with all the ghosts and goblins of the season. Naturally, these celebrations will be accented by great music. As you sift through Halloween Weekend’s spooktacular musical offerings, Lagniappe is here to highlight some of the weekend’s ghoulish festivities. It’s sure to be filled with Tiger Kings, Plague Doctors, COVID-themed costumes and musical treats.
The resurrection of Soul Kitchen (219 Dauphin St.) for Halloween Weekend is some of the biggest news around the city. In the past, Soul Kitchen has played host to some of the city’s best musical experiences on Halloween. Halloween 2020 will be no exception.
Soul Kitchen is summoning the Marcus King Trio for its annual Halloween party. Mobile will be one of the first stops for this blues-rock threesome. King used 2020 to release his solo debut, “El Dorado,” which was produced by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys). Even though the album has a mellow, acoustic opener, King still fills this album with a blues-rock style that falls somewhere between ZZ Top and Gov’t Mule. While this show may be sold out, those wanting to attend are encouraged to take advantage of resale tickets, because this promises to be an epic night.
Cedar Street Social Club (4 N. Cedar St.) will not only host a Halloween extravaganza, but also a great pre-party. On Friday, Them Dirty Roses will be using its set to summon sonic spirits from the backwoods. Them Dirty Roses promises to bring a collection of indie country songs fueled by Southern rock ’n’ soul. The band’s performance will include cuts from its self-titled EP.
Them Dirty Roses will be bringing Taylor Hunnicutt as the evening’s opener. With Mobile a regular stop for this singer-songwriter, Hunnicutt’s fresh country sounds have found a niche with locals.
On Halloween night, Cedar Street Social Club will call forth a local favorite from the netherworld of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Blackwater Brass will be providing the musical entertainment for Cedar Street’s Samhain soirees. This furious eight-piece brass explosion delivers an adrenalized load of funk and jazz with a modern touch. Blackwater Brass shows no mercy with the musical energy resonating from the stage. Every zombie in the building should be moving and grooving to Blackwater Brass’s music.
The Brickyard’s (266 Dauphin St.) Halloween pre-party on Friday night will feature a new band on the scene with four familiar faces. Brass Pony will be warming up the masses for Halloween. Brass Pony features Stereo Dog’s Andrew Ayers (keyboards/vocals), Symone French & Trouille Troupe’s Christian Heiden (bass) and notable sessionist/instructor Cameron Alidor (drums). While this new project is just getting started in the local scene, Brass Pony promises to deliver a “crowd-pleasing show.”
The Garage (9 S. Washington St.) has a reputation for throwing a hellacious Halloween party. This year, The Garage has recruited Nappie Award-winner Hollywood Vagabonds to entertain this beloved downtown bar’s costumed regulars. Hollywood Vagabonds will be bringing the hair-metal sounds of the ’80s and early ’90s to The Garage. With its heavy metal catalog and colorful costumes, Hollywood Vagabond’s live show should make for a great Halloween night.
With this year’s Mullet Toss complete, Flora-Bama (17401 Perdido Key Drive) in Perdido Key is slowly getting back to the beachside roadhouse’s version of normal. If this week’s hurricane behaves itself, Flora-Bama will fill Halloween with costumed patrons and great music. Halloween enthusiasts owe it to themselves to experience one of Flora-Bama’s costumed events. From the horrifying to the humorous, Flora-Bama patrons showcase some of the best and most original costumes on the Gulf Coast.
Music will be featured all day. However, two artists will be providing must-see performances. Singer-songwriter Ryan Dyer will be taking the stage at 2 p.m. in the Bama Dome. Dyer’s clean, modern country sound has made him a regular at Flora-Bama.
Jack “Big Earl” Robertson will be bringing the Halloween version of “The Big Earl Show” to the Bama Dome at 6 p.m. As his alter ego Big Earl, Robertson delivers a set filled with irreverent songs and witty onstage banter, both of which are not for the faint of heart.
Those venturing into South Baldwin County for Halloween should make plans to spend the night in Gulf Shores. Greg “Red” Padilla will bring Red & The Revelers Trio to Big Beach Brewing Co. (300 E. 24th Ave., Gulf Shores) for Dia De Muertos at 6 p.m. Padilla has been turning these Day of the Dead shows into an annual tradition for his band. Armed with his acoustic, this local singer-songwriter will fill the air with soulful grooves. The crowd should also expect new cuts from the band’s upcoming sophomore effort.
Halloween might be getting canceled in cities around the globe, but Mobile does not seem to be included in that list. Halloween Weekend will be filled with elaborate costumes, great music and more than enough tricks and treats to satisfy locals. However, locals should also respect safety protocols where they can. This goes without saying, but masks should be considered a must. Crowds should respect the capacities of local venues. Finally, social distance should be maintained whenever possible. Following this magic spell might make for a better aftermath in the days that follow Halloween.
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