A few weeks back at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor, Comedy Central’s Lewis Black was in town, warning us about how “STUPID!” Halloween can be. Without getting too deep into the perils of candy corn and the amnesia that makes us taste it again for the first time every year, Black’s most scathing denouncement of Allhallows eve had to do with adults dressing up “LIKE IDIOTS!”
“Bbbbbggghhhttt — get over it!” he blabbered at the top of his paid-to-be-disgruntled lungs.
Get over it? Why not just retire? Ever see someone at the bar on Halloween who’s not dressed up? These people are the ones who are always reduced to begging for attention of any pathetic variety just because they lack the imagination and/or testicular goo — figuratively, at least — to do anything droll. (Honestly, what’s more disturbing than Black’s maturity is that poseur-drunk Dave Attell has yet to shoot a Detroit episode of “Insomniac.” Perhaps their assumption is the cameraman will get shot, or the production van’ll have its 24-inch spinners jacked.)
So Black isn’t down with dress-up reverie — fine, but what’s so wrong with acting like a lobotomy victim for comedy’s sake? Halloween is the perfect excuse to get in touch with your inner fucked-upness. And really, if acting like an ADD kid on acid whenever the moment calls ain’t your bag, maybe you should reconsider this whole Detroit-area thing and soak up the nightlife someplace magazine-ready “wild” and “crazy” like Brooklyn or Hollywood where you can’t even smoke in a bar and the DUI laws are strictly enforced.
To get on track for a moment, this Halloween is a special one. Sure, it lands on Friday, but more importantly, you’ve had one more year of realizing just how deranged your world is. Run with that. Run fast. Run far. Seriously, people will commend your honesty.
To rewind for a moment, it’s important not to forget Angel’s Night when planning an effective regression session. Here’s what the devil has in store:
Once again, the mayor’s office has tossed its “Angel’s Night” branding campaign into the cauldron. Doing their bit to ensure that evil’s still on the guest list, Paxahau (1515 Broadway, Detroit; 313-965-1515) is putting on a night of brooding down-tempo compliments of Germany’s Rechenzentrum (Mille Plateaux, Kitty-Yo, Shitkatapult). The group presents an audiovisual experience of, um, “epic” proportion. At least that’s what the press release says (so it’s gotta be true). The hook is that they play a live electronic set that’s accompanied by their film, The Director’s Cut. Maybe it’s the other way around and their music accompanies the movie. Who knows? Visual aids might be in order. You know, like prescription eyeglasses and whatnot.
Also happening on the pseudo-satanic tip, Diesel Boy — one of the countless drum-and-bass DJs who should be flogged for going with such an embarrassingly stupid pseudonym —plays for free at the Roostertail (100 Marquette Dr., Detroit; 313-822-1234) for the legal-to-drink crowd. Apparently, it’s sponsored by Salem cigarettes. Salem — how fitting for Devil’s Night?
Can’t hate, though. Gary Chandler, Felton Howard, Matt Christian and DJ Fever are on the bill too. Obviously, it’d be way cooler if Chandler were headlining, but a free party at the Roostertail is nothing to shake your pitchfork at.
There are few traditions more sacred to the dirty electro community than the annual Interdimensional Transmissions (IT) Halloween party at the Blind Pig (208 S. First St., Ann Arbor; 734-996-8555). Hosted by IT label founder Brendan Gillen (BMG of Ectomorph fame), the event features fire-eating, fire-twirling, bondage, bubbling-hot digitized horror oozing through the speakers and some of the most inventive costumes anywhere.
“We’re not just doing fire-eating,” says Gillen, “we’re doing a celebration of the apocalypse. I can’t totally explain it — you’re gonna have to experience it — but there’s a troupe of people involved.”
Last year, hell was raised from the DJ booth as a coven of leather-clad dominatrix chicks took chaos, lit it on fire, and spit it back at the crowd. Wolf Eyes killed (again, figuratively) and everybody got roaring drunk. It was beautiful.
“IT is a concept that was born on Halloween,” explains Gillen who, thankfully, takes the (un)holiday a little too seriously. “The holiday itself came from the ancient Celtic celebration of samhain. They believed that on that day, the planes of the living and the dead collided and that their entire history is actually living with you in that moment. One year, I heard voices in my head from ancestors and that’s when the interdimensional transmissions began.”
After a brief moment of silence over the phone, it’s clear that Gillen actually means that.
This year, BMG plays alongside Carlos Souffront with another fiery freak show compliments of Infinite Dimensions. Past IT Halloweens have been graced by such deviants as Cap’n Off Da Hook, Dr. Bootygrabber and Derek Plaslaiko (as himself), so make sure your costume measures up or it could get weird.
Jak ’n lanterns
Eight years ago, Richie Hawtin’s Plus 8 label set a high-bile mark for Halloween fun with its “Jak-o-lantern” party. People in bee costumes got their belligerent buzz on, some dude shaved his dome into a tennis ball and dyed it green (jackass-raver-move alert), people’s lighters were blown out just for being within 15 feet of the 4/4 breeze created by the speaker stacks. They even had to dole out earplugs at the door. Although Hawtin assures us this “won’t be a Jak party,” Minus Records says it is bringing in the infamous tinnitus machine affectionately dubbed “the system.” You should also know that Magda and Clark Warner open. Hawtin will DJ and treat the crowd to a couple live tricks. Hawtin might even dress up like Plastikman for a minute. Maybe Plastikman will be in costume? The only thing for sure is that Magda will polish off a fifth of Grey Goose by her petite self.
The teenybopper ambush club dubbed Closer (after the new Plastikman album) happens at Wired (576 Ouellette, Windsor; 519-252-2267). With Minus involved, the place should be totally transformed and appropriately darkened.
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Jak the Knife
Anyone who likes party rock and doesn’t have their head up the arse-end of their borrowed costume is going to the Magic Stick (4120 Woodward Ave., Detroit; 313-833-9700) on Halloween to witness Asia’s finest, Shonen Knife — a band that’s always comely and costumed. The internationally overlooked Hentchmen open, and if you don’t “get it” after seeing them during a Halloween show, you should insert your head into the aforementioned orifice.
The greatest trick that Devil’s Night ever played was convincing people that it doesn’t exist. Just stay off the streets and make sure the only thing you’re burning is that latex George W. facemask you were saving from last year.
Whatever you do, know that the undead have no shame and what’s really idiotic is going through life like some boring mortal.Robert Gorell writes about club life and electronic music for Metro Times. E-mail email@example.com