Rock 'N' Roll And Halloween Make A Helluva Match

Shock-inclined rockers are set to wreak sonic havoc and reap rewards on one of the busiest concert nights of the year.

Concert promoter Tony Palagrossi won't soon forget the Marilyn Manson concert he

booked at a New Jersey venue two Halloweens ago.

Bomb threats and protests marred the otherwise perfect creepshow of a gig by the

popular shock-rockers.

As president of Concerts East, Palagrossi -- who has booked everyone from

hard-rockers Grand Funk Railroad and industrial-pop band Stabbing Westward to the

controversial Manson on the fabled day of freaks -- may be hoping to avoid similar

fireworks this Halloween, but at a cost.

In choosing to book popular art-rockers Garbage for a show in Asbury Park, N.J., he has

likely forfeited the marketability of rock's first night of fright. Tickets for the Garbage show

have been so slow, in fact, the gig is being switched to a smaller-capacity venue.

"It depends on the show," Palagrossi said. "Quite frankly, I think that a holiday like

Halloween takes something away from some bands. But for a band like Marilyn Manson,

it makes it the place to be."

It seems as if concert promoters, such as Palagrossi, have a choice for Halloween: book

such Halloween-appropriate, ghoulish bands as Kiss, the Cramps or Marilyn Manson

and risk mayhem, or book more conventional rock groups and settle for reduced ticket


But no question about it: For the rock 'n' roll P.T. Barnums who don't fear a little extra

bacchanalian revelry, Halloween night can be a mainstay of their yearly schedule.

"It's the primo day for bands that can be aligned to the theme of Halloween," said Gary

Bongiovanni, editor in chief of Pollstar, the touring-industry trade magazine. "You

would expect to probably do more tickets on that day than a normal day for a band like

Manson or Kiss."

Rock 'n' roll has always had its horror-show side, from goth-glam rocker Manson and the

fright-costumed band Kiss to '70s shockmeister Alice Cooper and '60s demon-rock act

the Crazy World of Arthur Brown.

And that's why Halloween -- the night when everyone gets into the costumed

shock act -- has become an ideal night for live-rock activity by acts specializing in the

scary, the menacing and the bizarre.

Halloween is one of the most booked days of the year for some genres of live music,

according to Bongiovanni. "It's a night where a lot of people are already inclined to go

out," he said. "And this year, Halloween falls on a Saturday. Therefore, creating a

Halloween event around the concert is a good way to market."

And it's a good way to market bands that fit the Halloween vibe, Bongiovanni added.

This Halloween's freak parade includes Manson, rockers Alien Sex Fiend, trip-hop guru

DJ Spooky and ghoulish metal-man Rob Zombie.

Manson roll their Mechanical Animals tour into St. Paul, Minn. -- a date

Bongiovanni predicts will likely create a huge buzz and ultimately sell out. Rob Zombie

and space-rock sextet Monster Magnet bring a creepy double bill to Lewiston, Maine, while

Alien Sex Fiend invade Cambridge, Mass.

The night's purveyors of the bizarre include other such unconventional acts as

quirky-popsters Barenaked Ladies, who will offer their special brand of musical

tricks-or-treats within the glittery aura of the Las Vegas strip.

At the top of the heap is the ultimate Halloween act, the costumed, pop-metalheads Kiss,

who are kicking off their Psycho-Circus tour at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Opening Kiss' Halloween romp is another Halloween-friendly act: the aptly titled art-rockers Smashing Pumpkins.

Shock-rockers GWAR and clown-faced, horror-core rappers Insane Clown Posse

descend on St. Louis, while in Hamburg, Germany, Halloween '98 will be greeted by

gothic-godfathers Bauhaus, with a show the night before the haunted holiday.

For some artists, such as DJ Spooky, the name alone makes for the perfect Halloween


"I'm not going to change anything around, but I respect the historic ideas about

Halloween," said Spooky, who performs at the Hollywood Athletic Club in Los Angeles

on All Hallow's Eve.

"I'm going to probably add some additional visual punch to stuff," said Spooky, whose

shows feature montages of video snippets and effects. "Halloween is a day of masks,

pagan reenactment, the bizarre role-playing that kicked around when different cultures

got to the New World. So, on a lot of levels, it's like, hey -- every day is Halloween."

Shock rockers aren't the only acts slated to raise sonic hell on Halloween. Promoters are

booking acts from all across the musical spectrum.

In New York, '70s pop-rock pioneers Cheap Trick perform at Irving Plaza, the Rob

Halford-less heavy-metal act Judas Priest perform across town at the Hammerstein

Ballroom, while lesser-known acts, such as power-pop veterans the Mr. T Experience,

thrash-rock hip-hoppers Incubus, pop-jazzman Grover Washington Jr., and bubblegum-punkers the Queers also perform in the Big Apple.

In Boston, veteran metal-act Mötley Crüe take center stage at the Orpheum

Theatre, while in Chicago, artists such as the punk group All, swing-revivalists the Brian

Setzer Orchestra, country-crooner Kenny Rogers, electronic-dance group Meat Beat

Manifesto, jam-band God Street Wine and punk-ska rockers Less Than Jake perform at

various venues.

San Francisco boasts Halloween's loudest assortment of tricks and treats, with gigs from

ghoulish-punkers the Cramps, industrial-mainstays Spahn Ranch, punkers Stanford

Prison Experiment and industrial acts Front Line Assembly and Kevorkian Death Cycle.

Across the bay, jam-oriented pop-sensations the Dave Matthews Band will certainly

scare up a stadium full of fans at the Oakland Coliseum.

The most bizarre lineup of acts goes to the equally bizarre city of Las Vegas, which

welcomes jam-rockers Phish, Australian crooner Tom Jones, Canada's Barenaked

Ladies, country singer Faith Hill, Motown legends the Supremes and alt-rockers the

Motels for Halloween gigs.

More Halloween Night Shows:

Alanis Morissette; Toronto, Ont., Phoenix Concert Theatre

Better Than Ezra; Houston, Texas, Aerial Theatre

Fastball; Medford, Mass., Tufts University

Goo Goo Dolls, Athenaeum; Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Walt Disney World's Pleasure Island

Henry Rollins; Seattle, Wash., Paramount Theatre

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion; Denver, Colo., Ogden Theatre

Lyle Lovett; Indianapolis, Ind., Clowes Memorial Hall

Mike Watt and the Black Gang; Minneapolis, Minn., 7th Street Entry

MXPX; Baltimore, Md., Fletcher's

Neil Diamond; Milwaukee, Wis., Milwaukee Arena

Rancid; Worcester, Mass., Palladium

Reel Big Fish; Pittsburgh, Pa., Gateway Clipper

Seven Mary Three; Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Walt Disney World's House of Blues

Son Volt; Milwaukee, Wis., Rave

Squirrel Nut Zippers; Washington, D.C., 9:30 Club

Suicide Machines; Cincinnati, Ohio, Bogart's

Tragically Hip; Atlanta, Ga., Roxy Theatre

Violent Femmes; Milwaukee, Wis., Pabst Theater

Voluptuous Horror Of Karen Black; Seattle, Wash., Fenix Underground

Widespread Panic; New Orleans, La., UNO Lakefront Arena