Whether you're dressing up as Drake, Bernie Sanders, or Libby Schaaf's snailmobile this Halloween, you're going to need something to do in your costume. Here's our guide to the top Halloween events in the East Bay this weekend.
14th Annual Murder Ballads Bash
Crimes of passion have been lyrical fodder for musicians across different genres and generations, so what better night to listen to music with a penchant for bloodlust than Halloween? The Starry Plough presents its 14th annual Murder Ballads Bash, a showcase of local bands and singer-songwriters whose work delves into dark and potentially frightful themes of revenge, misery, and despair. In the large lineup, readers may recognize Dennis D (who hosts a banjo night at Stork Club on Sundays), The Happy Clams (whose members have been active in the East Bay punk scene since the Eighties), veteran rockers Roy Loney & Larry, and country quintet Loretta Lynch. We suggest dressing up for this one, too. Costume ideas: Velma Kelly or Roxie Hart from Chicago, Bonnie and Clyde, zombie Elvis, or Rihanna in the “Bitch Better Have My Money” video. — Nastia Voynovskaya
Sat., Oct. 31, 9 p.m. $8-$15. TheStarryPlough.com
File Photo by Bert Johnson
A lot has happened for HBK Gang, the eclectic East Bay hip-hop collective, in the past year. Kehlani’s debut album You Should Be Here
landed her a FADER cover and garnered her a national following; Kool John and P-Lo’s collaborative album, Moovie!
, solidified their status as a rapper-producer dream team; and Iamsu! is getting ready to drop his next album, Kilt3
, and go on his first-ever world tour. Celebrate with the gang on Heartbreak Halloween, a two-night concert at The Warfield in San Francisco, featuring the above-mentioned artists, plus Sage the Gemini (of “Red Nose” and “Gas Pedal” fame), Skizzy Mars, Jay Ant, Skipper, and other artists from the crew. Because the October 30 show sold out quickly, the venue added an encore on Halloween night. The official after-party (and Kool John’s birthday celebration) takes place at Roccapulco (550 Barneveld Ave., San Francisco) at 10 p.m. on October 31 and will feature appearances from HBK members and DJ sets by Daghe, Noodles, and Aux Cord. Suggested costumes: a tsunami (in honor of Kehlani’s girl crew, Tsunami Mob), a red-nosed pit bull, or the Shmoplife happy face. — N.V.
Fri., Oct. 30, 8 p.m. and Sat., Oct. 31, 8 p.m. $35-$50. TheWarfieldTheatre.com
Come dressed up in your spookiest attire for The Rock Steady’s free Halloween turn up — Ghoulish Gala — courtesy of promoter Mike Melero (aka DJ Bobby Peru). Rising producers D33J and Karman, who are both based in Los Angeles, top the bill and will perform atmospheric, maximalist beat sets with glitchy sound palettes that evoke early videogame soundtracks. The lineup also includes Aquacure, the new, melancholic electro pop project that features James Laurence of well-known East Bay producer duo Friendzone. Swerve, a DJ duo composed of Neto 187 and So What, and Kawasaki Papi of the MoreVibes crew will serve up high-energy DJ sets made up of obscure internet rap gems, hyphy and post-hyphy slaps, and top forty remixes. If you’re looking to dance the night away on Halloween, Ghoulish Gala will be the spot. Costume suggestions: one of Drake’s “Hotline Bling” girls, a ghost-riding ghost, or Gucci Mane’s ice cream tattoo. — N. V.
Sat., Oct. 31, 9 p.m. free. TheRock-Steady.com
Halloween Cover Show Benefit
Adding to the pool of Halloween cover shows — in which bands dress up and perform as other bands — LoBot Gallery (1800 Campbell St., Oakland) will start the night of mischief early with a show of if its own, from 2–6:30 p.m. on October 31. But unlike the others, this one is an all ages benefit for two local nonprofits focused on empowering young women to take down the patriarchy by having fun: Bay Area Girls Rock Camp (an organization that teaches female youth how to start bands together) and Skate Like a Girl SF (the local chapter of an organization that teaches female youth to skate and nurtures inclusive skate park culture). The lineup stars Skitch, an all-female skate punk band from Seattle who are part of the girl-centric Seattle skate crew, The Skate Witches. Aside from music, there will be a free skate lesson (and skating session, for those who are seasoned) from 2–3 p.m., as well as a gang of tablers, including Scream Queens, and food from the Lumpia Lady. And of course, everyone should arrive in costume. — S.B.
Sat., Oct. 31, 2-6:30 p.m. $5-$10. LoBotGallery.tumblr.com
All Souls’ Eve Celebration
The subtitle to this All Souls’ Eve celebration is “Calming the Sh**storm of 2015,” which tells you about everything you need to know about the event’s sensibility. According to FuseBOX (2311A Magnolia St., Oakland) owners Sunhui and Ellen Sebastian Chang, the community gathering is designed to honor “the ancestors that came before us,” as well as the living artists and cultural workers who have been displaced by the Bay Area’s affordability crisis. The $50 prix-fixe dinner (vegetarian option available) includes one “Smoky Mary” libation. Meanwhile, to help calm your spirit, there will be live music by the Oakland-based banjo player Guy de Chalus and vocalist Tossie Long. And Sebastian Chang, who is also a well-known theater director, will lead diners in an interactive, community-building activity. Call 510-444-3100 to make a reservation (and put down a deposit) to guarantee seating. — Luke Tsai
Sat., Oct. 31, 6 & 8 p.m. $50. FuseBOXOakland.com
There are a lot of different kinds of scary stories. There are those spooky tales that involve ghosts and murderers and all that traditional Halloween stuff. And then there are the type that can almost be more horrifying — the ones that you could more easily imagine happening to you. At Busting Out Storytelling: Horrified!, which will take place at Geoffrey’s Inner Circle (410 14th St., Oakland) on October 30, the scary stories will mostly be of the latter sort. “That time you discovered a disgruntled old flame was going on the Jerry Springer Show, the time you dyed your hair purple and it changed the color of the Airbnb shower tiles, or when you were locked in the mall basement bathroom,” as the show’s teaser reads. Host Kay DeMartini (who will apparently be dressed as a Marilyn Monroe-and-Batwoman hybrid) invited six storytellers to share their true experiences first, then audience members will be invited to share theirs. Also, everyone is encouraged to come in costume. — Sarah Burke
Fri., Oct. 30, 8 p.m. $10. BustingOutStorytelling.com
Also, Hi Scores
will be performing at Slim's
on Friday, Shalo P will be giving a tour of his otherworldly show
at Krowswork in the afternoon on Halloween
, and the spooky play Through the Wall
will be playing at the Flight Deck
in the afternoon on Halloween and through November 3.
Imagery from Shalo P's exhibit, Valley.
If your pockets are feelin' light and you're still yearning for more suggestions, we've got a ton, and these ones are all FREE!
We're Hungry: Got any East Bay news, events, video, or miscellany we should know about? Feed us at Sarah.Burke@EastBayExpress.com.