The young folk punks Bet on Rats set the tone last night and got the crowd good and ready for the stacked line up of spooky local acts and a surprise set from NY punk legends The Ramones. Bet on Rats matched the tonalities of folk with an impressive punk energy, topped off with melody driven vocals which relay messages of frustrations, disappointments, triumphs and failures. As their songs became faster and louder throughout their set, they created a whirlwind of energy which spiraled off the stage and into the costumed crowd and spurred them into fanatic dancing.
Bet on Rats adorned the identities of reptilian ninjutsu fighters Raphael, Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Donatello, however, they seemed reluctant towards my idea of having them set up a fight with local hip hop collective (the Almighty) Foot Clan. Their set served as a debut for some new material, which the crowd enthusiastically displayed their approval of by singing the chorus of “Ninja Rap” (“Go ninja, go ninja, go!”). Bet on Rats plan to stay busy this winter and return in the spring with even more new recordings.
Joe & the Westside Orchestra shifted the mood when they packed the stage with 9 total members, and filled the room with their swelling melodies and enchanting vocal harmonies. Supporting Joe on acoustic guitar, the Westside Orchestra included an electric guitar, a flute, a backup female vocalist, a keyboard, an electric bass, a cello, a violin, a fiddle, and at times a trumpet. Joe’s repetitive and thoughtful lyrics created a rather meditative atmosphere, almost oppositional to the energy of Bet on Rats, yet no one in the crowd seemed to disapprove.
“It is with heavy hearts that we must announce that I Believe in Julio must cancel our performance at the Devil’s Night show. Our apologies to our fans who were excited to see us…IN OUR PLACE WE HAVE CONVINCED OUR GOOD FRIENDS, RAMONES, TO RISE FROM THE DEAD AND PLAY IN OUR SLOT!” reads the Facebook post announcing I Believe in Julio’s cover set. “It’s something we’ve always wanted to do” admits front man Julio. “It fits the rock and roll tradition of playing covers, and it’s perfect for Halloween.” Because of the fact that they played two of my personal favorite songs back to back (“KKK Took my Baby Away” and “Rockaway Beach”). I can almost excuse them for messing up the ending to The Ramones’ most popular song. Nonetheless, by the end of their set the crowd was definitely pleased and out of breath from singing along to their rapid-fire set.
Though not many bands might want to follow up The Ramones, Murder Party kept the energy rolling and even brought the Halloween vibes up a notch when they took the stage with a hostage taped to a chair at the front of the stage. Though the three piece apparently couldn’t coordinate a group costume (they were dressed as a Ghostbuster, a skeleton, and I think an Alien), they had their set list of spooky love songs down to the last beat. They cut their hostage loose after two songs but kept the audience captivated with their catchy up-tempo psychabilly rock. They debuted some songs from their new album, also met with approval from the audience, yet their standout track was yet another Ramones cover (“Do You Wanna Dance”), which the crowd just couldn’t get enough of.
Written By: John Akers