Given all that has happened this week, it’s easy to forget that Halloween was just last Friday. But I haven’t forgotten. Sure, there was some kind of election this week that might just change the face of America, and even the world, but we’re talking about Halloween here. That involves changing faces too, right?
My friend and I dressed up as Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee, respectively. The idea of dressing as a tacky pop culture couple was hers, but the specifics of Pam and Tommy were mine. The costumes weren’t particularly good and we didn’t particularly look like either of our alter egos, but we certainly felt like them, and that’s one of the best parts about Halloween when you’re a grown-up. It’s everyone’s chance to be an actor, to play a part, to unleash a bit of the id and go a little crazy.
Our first stop was the Gothic Theater, arriving just in time to catch 3OH!3’s tricks and treats. We were disappointed to have missed Cobra Conda and the Chain Gang of 1974, but shaking our costumed asses to the Boulder boys’ disco’d-up hip-hop grooves was well worth the trip.
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Since all those hands throwing up the 3OH!3 gang sign had big black Xs on them, the show was over in plenty of time for us to race up Broadway to catch Monofog at the hi-dive. Inspired, perhaps, by the spirit of the night, the band – dressed as some kind of undead something or other (Doug Spencer admitted that they threw their outfits together at the last minute) – rocked out one of the best sets I’ve seen them play in a long time. Hayley Helmericks seemed to channel the Wilson sisters (both of them), Runaways-era Joan Jett and maybe Rhoda from The Mary Tyler Moore Show, while Spencer, brutal bassist Dave Yob and monster mash drummer Lucas Rouge helped her tear up the stage.
But the real kicker, and the perfect end to the evening, was the closing number. It’s become a tradition for the Halloween show at the hi-dive to close with a cover, and Monofog wasn’t about to break that tradition. As Yob and Rouge launched into the unmistakable bassline and beat from the Hall & Oates classic, “Maneater,” several members of the audience began to make their way onto the stage to provide completely unnecessary backing vocals. There was singer-songwriter and former Machine Gun Blues frontman, Aaron Collins, dressed as Alex DeLarge from A Clockwork Orange, followed by a methed-out redneck version of Nathaniel Rateliff, Ian Cooke as a Thundercat, soon-to-be pop star Joshua Novak as a nearly-naked Olympic swimmer (or maybe Greg Louganis?) and many, many more.
It was like a who’s who of the Denver music scene, with everyone on stage in costume, flying their freak flags more freely than ever, and letting the license of Halloween carry them away from their customary stage selves and into a whole new realm of frivolity. The song probably went on for too long and contained far too many “whoa-oh, here she comes!” refrains, but somehow, this spontaneous, costumed collective managed to turn a patently absurd exhibition of questionable musical value into an affirmation of the joy, unity and lack of pretension that characterizes this little community. It was a pretty cool trick, and definitely a treat. – Eryc Eyl