There is a gaggle of Halloween gatherings happening around town, or whatever the collective noun for Halloween is.
Not so many moons ago I used to “Bah Humbug” the whole thing. Dismissed it as more American commercial crap. Now it’s one of my favourite events to get garbed up and ghoulish about. And it’s nothing really to do with the Yanks. They just put their own over-the-top spin on it with horror movies, pumpkins and treats and trickery. The true history of it is freakily fascinating. It harks back to the 8th Century, as a feast before All Saints Day. With the spread of Christianity through out the Celtic lands, the Church declared November 1 as The Day of the Dead. For the Celts it was the beginning of a new season and the time to start harvest. They also associated it with death and new beginnings. They started celebrating the holiday the night before, with bon-fires and dress-ups. They believed ghosts were returning to the earth. America didn’t pick up on it till the 1900’s with Scottish and Irish migration. A twist in the tale this year in the U.S is “Trumpkin” carving. Carving pumpkin/Jack O’Lanterns in the likeness of the Ginger Creep-oid poised to Trump all over the world. Now that is truly horrifying. Mega spooky.
Starting off UP THE CREEK with the inaugural FUZZ FEST, a few souls got into the spirit.
Baltimore Gun Club take the prize pumpkin for their witches outfits. But wait. Bassist Hryma seems to be expanding slowly before our eyes. An inflatable body suit resembling the Michellin man is bit by bit, inch by inch exposed. He rips off his cloak as ‘his body’ inflates to the point where I thought he’d be rolling around like a turtle on its back. He maintains his verticality but it is an hilarious and clever interlude.
Up at the SHARK BAR everyone was garbed and wonderfully ghoulish for MONSTER MASH. DRAGGS got all the freaks a’freaking. The air con had decided to shit itself for the occasion. Sunny Coast boys HOBO MAGIC and Melbourne’s DRUNK MUMS whipped us into a boiling cauldron of toil and trouble. The southern lads managed to look cool in their hooded cloaks and masks as the rest of us started ripping our wigs and costumes off and peeling away suffocating body paint. It was hellishly hot hot hot. I’m sure I lost a few pounds along with any dignity or brain cells left.
No rest till… November. Sunday eve on my rambling way home south of the border, well, you gotta stop in Cooli if you’re taking the GC highway. Fancy dress attire is not so prevalent down this end of the coast. I toned mine down but still was refused admittance to the pub. What? Because I was in costume? I seriously thought the security guys were joking. When I joked back, “if I take these plastic horns off can I come in? “No” is the emphatic answer. Jaw drops .Unbelievable. Has paranoia re terrorism gone completely berserk? (The manager has since apologised).
Well it was Rattlesnake Hotel I was going to anyway. The old Neverland of yore has had a few incarnations. Happy to see live bands back there, once a month for RATTLE ROCK SUNDAYS. The gals from Byron, GALAXY GIRLS, start things off. Yay Grrrl Power. Caught them up at Sounds of Sunday and was intrigued. They are pretty damn cool. Sorta lo-fi and languid, building slowly, luringly. Nice.
The lads from LOTUS SHIP have been jamming out all over the place lately and they are sounding mighty sweet. One guy said he was entranced through the whole set. I hooked the guys up with Byron boys SUNROSE, for a gig at The Northern a while back. Loving how the Goldie and Byron crew are linking up and supporting each other.(And getting there with the Brissie and Sunny mob). SUNROSE are mesmerising and haunting. So psychedelic and dream-like. No crazy stage antics. They just stand still and take you away.. to another place. Nick’s voice leaves goose-bumps. Captivating.
CHESTA HEDRON, aka Matthew Armitage and one half of The Swamps is certainly keeping busy. He just got back to the GC after a run with Swanny and The Swamps up north and out west. He got caught up for three hours at Mt Isa airport and nearly didn’t make it in time. A true professional and bloody master of that guitar. Flamenco, surf, blues, rock. He creates magic in such a humble way. We bow before thee.
But wait. I’ve got one more Halloween gig to get through and it’s gonna be a doozy knowing the crew at Absolute Tattoo in Kingscliff. WALL THIEF takes over the shop’s back yard with art exhibits, free booze and rock n roll. Does it get any better? The weather was looking pretty dodgy and it was almost cancelled at one stage. THE WRATH were meant to play but because of the Gods of the Sky, they didn’t but still joined in the madness. THE BADLANDS ventured up from Byron town and smashed the be-Jesus outta the joint. As they do. Welcome to my town lads. Brandon Sullivan’s art adorned the walls, surviving the impending deluge. I think I’ve got to award owner and manager, Juan, for best outfit. Jesus Christ.
He was smothered in blood- chocolate syrup I think. A crown of thorns and loin cloth and danced like no one was looking. Legend. Yep that’s the secret. Just dance.
Just as well I couldn’t give a rat’s about Melbourne Cup the next day. I need to hang up my horns and have a good lie down. Day of the Dead just about killed me.