Halloween Medicine Show – Snake Rattle Rattle Snake – Church Fire – Reverend Deadeye – DJ Vince Voyeur –

Writing a Halloween post in December comes off as procrastination and poor timing, though I believe any moment that may or may not be Halloween provides a perfect opportunity to write about the holiday. The further you get from October 31st, the more you need it around. This year my wife and I actually dressed up, instead of tossing around ideas – Bob Ross & a Happy Little Tree, Bill & Ted, Wayne & Garth, Chihiro & No Face, creative option & related creative option – and choosing the lazy road instead (an actual road). Out of love for older Tim Burton films, and the characters in Beetlejuice specifically, we decided on Lydia Deetz (me) and Beetlejuice (her). We also determined that modeling our dynamic after its depiction in the cartoon felt like the right option: best friends instead of enemies.

 

beetlejuice-ep-1-part-3-critter-sitters-mp4_snapshot_06-57_2012-01-10_13-57-02

Best friends. Not enemies.

 

Choosing an event to dress up for presented the second obstacle. Sitting at home, drinking beer, watching Beetlejuice in our costumes sounded like a great idea, but felt slightly wasteful. The solution presented itself in Syntax Physic Opera‘s Halloween event, featuring DJ Vince Voyeur, Church Fire, Reverend Deadeye, and Snake Rattle Rattle Snake.

Read on, fellow Halloween fan(s)! I have written multiple interesting words about this place, the bands, and the event in general, including a graymonster music Q&A exclusive.

Syntax Physic Opera

Fashioned after 19th century decor, the name combines two seemingly unrelated components.  Physic Opera means “medicine show”, a traveling group of entertainers and physicians. Syntax reflects the physical, musical, culinary incarnation of their longstanding publication, Denver Syntax.

As noted on their website, “This is a love poem to 1860s Denver. A living museum.” Inside the living museum, you’ll find local art, a case full of pistols, a mixture of church pews and non-church related furniture, and a laminated bathroom floor covered wall to wall in pennies.

We arrive, choosing to sit in the corner, honoring true Lydia Deetz affectation. Church Fire finishes up sound check as honky-tonk country fills dead air.

Elton Britt “There’s a Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere”

Red Foley “Peace in the Valley”

 

DJ Vince Voyeur

I had difficulty searching for information on DJ Vince Voyeur, and little success. For the chosen alias, I discovered the not-at-all-DJ, actor/director Vince Voyeur, known for his efforts in the porn industry. I cleared my search history and went for empirical data. Excluding the host, DJ Vince Voyeur occupied our first encounter at the venue, telling us we looked great. Dressed as Furiosa from Mad Max: Fury Road, he looked pretty great, too.

He played in between each set and closed out the night, though I’ve listed a few notable tracks that set the mood perfectly (spooky, silly, inspiration for odd dancing).

Sex Beat “Sex Beat (1983)”

Siouxsie and the Banshees “Red Light”

 

Moev “In Your Head”

 

Gerard McMann “Cry Little Sister”

 

New Order “Round and Round”

 

Church Fire

Let’s revisit sound check. Our extremely friendly server asks “Have you seen this band before?”(in reference to Church Fire).

“Not yet!” (in reference to not seeing them yet).

“They’re my favorite band in town. I get chills every time.” (in reference to seeing them and getting chills each time).

church fire

Chills y’all.

 

When performing, they have immediate presence. Shannon’s use of otherworldly vocal effects both create and reflect the Halloween atmosphere. My first thoughts rudely interrupt with “They could score a horror film”. I still agree with those initial rude thoughts. With many past intentions to see them perform and never succeeding, I felt regretful for missed opportunities. Their percussive, heavy, hypnotic sounds combined with tons of energy and stage presence offer viewers one hell of a show.

“Breast Bones” (Live at Syntax Physic Opera, Halloween 2015)

In this video, shot and edited by James Terry of Sink This!, you can glimpse what I’m referring to, at the show I am writing about. Cool! Technology is great.

Shannon wore local Denver designer Olivia McLean’s creation for Halloween, you can find more threads here

“Love is Theft”(Noise Floor Comeback Show, Syntax Physic Opera)

Another video shot at Syntax, this time for Noise Floor Comeback Show.

“Milk Dealer”{Alive from Moon Magnet}

An extremely fun video that features many food ingredients.

“Simple Act” (Official Video)

Church Fire’s first official video release.

 

As promised, a special Halloween questionnaire from the band:

1) Q: What is your favorite Halloween memory, costume you’ve worn, or costume you’ve seen? (Or all of them, even!)
A: Shannon – Hallowe’en’s my favorite but I usually don’t put enough time and effort into planning anything super epic.  My best Hallowe’en memories are just taking my pillowcase door-to-door with my dad as a little kid.  It used to snow pretty much without fail every Hallowe’en when I was little and I’d be wearing jellies or ballet slippers or something ridiculous.  I think my dad was almost more excited than me.  He’d always say I made out like a bandit and loved rifling through my “loot” for all the black licorice when we’d get home.

A: David:  1. Opening for Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, 2015 2. Triangle Man, 2010 3. They all just kinda like…blend together, 1980-present.

2) Q: Do you like horror movies? If so, which is your top pick?

A: Shannon – I love horror movies.  Pretty bad ones usually get me.  When I first saw Silent Hill I didn’t know it was based on a video game and felt pretty silly for how much it freaked me out.  When I saw the movie Mimic in the theatre I just giggled the whole time because it made me jump and scream so much even though it was super cheesy.  As a kid, I would try to prove to my dad that I was tough and could handle horror movies so he thought I was super into Nightmare on Elm Street and would get me Freddy paraphernalia for my room.  Really, they scared the crap out of me and my closet ended up full of Freddy posters, board games, all this stuff that just gave me nightmares!

A: David – 1. No 2. The Shining

3) Q: Besides being surrounded by costumed fans, do you notice any key differences between playing spooky events and traditional ones? Do you plan your sets differently? Any noticeable differences in energy?

A: Shannon –  Playing on a holiday is kind of like playing a festival and is tons of fun.  Everyone’s got great energy and is really committed to having a good time, which is energizing and can also be a little frightening sometimes.  Audiences are super enthusiastic and positive though often really drunk.  As a performer, it’s a blast when people get into dancing and cheering.  As far as planning our sets, we will usually have a new song or two.  This year we had 3 new songs that all just happened to be a little “Hallowe’eny.”
A: David – 1. There are more tourists at the former and more weirdos at the latter. 2. We don’t plan our sets at all. 3. Yes, very noticeable.

4) Q: What was your costume this year, and how did you go about choosing?

A: Shannon – This year I wore a local designer, Olivia McLean’s, threads.  I am modeling for her at her showcase at 6 Collective (230 W 6th Avenue in Denver) on November 13th so I wore her design to showcase her piece and promote the event on the 13th.  She makes really neat clothes – and they have pockets!  Amazing.

A: David – 1. Gimp Cosby. 2. It chose me.

5) Q: If you weren’t playing a show on Halloween, what would you do instead?

A: Shannon – We just moved, so I was actually kind of excited to be at home handing out candy for the hour we were home this year.  I would have probably enjoyed a chill night at home watching scary movies and hoarding my favorite kinds of candy.

A: David – 1.  Whatever Shannon wants.

6) Q: Lastly, could you recommend one item from pop culture for readers (book, music, film, video game, board game…)?

A: Band – We recommend local musicians the Milk Blossoms, Killd By, Sister Grotto, Echo Beds, Mirror Fears, French Kettle Station, Morlox and Cop Circles as a starting point for discovering some of the great music in Denver.  Listen to them and the artists they like and play with and you’ll never run out of great local stuff.

 

Thank you to Shannon and David for their input. For more Church Fire, go to their Bandcamp!

 

Reverend Deadeye

Whether playing on rural farmland, at a dive bar, or for esteemed venues, Reverend Deadeye’s hard southern blues mesh well with the surroundings. Adding gospel samples to the mix and help from Brother Al on the drums, they deliver a gritty performance more akin to punk shows than church sermons.

In place of my bad photographs, I offer this cool shot:

rev-deadeye

Photo courtesy Duffy’s Tavern

Much cooler.

 

“Baby’s on the Train” (Performed for Late Night Denver, directly from his Colorado farm)

 

“Fuck The Devil”

Yeah, that guy sucks! (The Devil)

“Coldest Heart”

“Sinner You Better Get Ready” (Hard Soil excerpt)

 Reverend Deadeye offered some Halloween answers to a few Halloween questions:

1) Q: What is your favorite Halloween memory, costume you’ve worn, or costume you’ve seen? (Or all of them, even!)

A: I rarely dress up for Halloween, I once dressed up as a homeless person and nobody recognized me so I left.

2) Q: Do you like horror movies? If so, which is your top pick?

A: I like horror movies that aren’t scary like Evil Dead.

3) Q: Besides being surrounded by costumed fans, do you notice any key differences between playing spooky events and traditional ones? Do you plan your sets differently? Noticeable differences in energy?

A: Ya, I think people are more rowdy on Halloween or maybe just more drunk..

4) Q: What was your costume this year, and how did you go about choosing? If you didn’t dress up, how come?

    A: This year I painted a skull mask with my signature cross and snakes on it, but I didn’t wear it but for one song. I spent more time making it than wearing it.

5) Q: If you weren’t playing a show on Halloween, what would you do instead?

A: I’d probably be at a show or drinking somewhere or just at home reading my Bible..

6) Q: Lastly, could you recommend one item from popular culture for readers (book, music, film, video game, board game…)?

     A: I’ve been really interested in scary children’s fairy tales like The Brothers Grimm stories or “Scary Stores to Tell in the Dark

Thank you to the Reverend for his input. For more Reverend Deadeye, check out their Bandcamp!

 

 

sc33bu8

“Check out more Reverend Deadeye!” -suggestion from creepy woman with black hair and black eyes

 

You should probably listen to her.

 

Snake Rattle Rattle Snake

Halloween shows agree with Snake Rattle’s dark post-punk style, especially in a smaller venue such as Syntax. Joined on several songs by Paper Bird’s Genevieve Patterson (vocals/keys) and Sarah Anderson (vocals/trumpet), they mostly performed tracks from their 2014 album Totem, but threw in some older ones from 2011’s Sineater. Seeing the two Colorado bands work together made the night special, elevating it beyond a Halloween show. After seeing them live on many occasions, I can honestly say they bring something new each time.

 

snakerattlehalloween.jpg

 

“Like a Moth” (BlankTV Feature, The Greater Than Collective)

 

“Versus” (OpenAir Studio Session)

 

“The Breath and the Glow” (Live at Twist and Shout Records)

“Parallel Lines” (Brass Tree Sessions – Episode 201, Denver UMS)

From their first full-length, Sineater, as performed at the Brass Tree House during Denver’s Underground Music Showcase.

For more Snake Rattle Rattle Snake, visit their Bandcamp!

 

General Observations

Now comes the portion of the article where I give some general observations (see above) and wrap things up.

I really like bullet point format:

  • I don’t know how to sit in a dress
  • My wife is the brightest thing in the building
  • Girl dressed as Max from Where the Wild Things Are told my wife Beetlejuice she looked pretty. I wish I had seen this adorable exchange.
  • How about costumes? Besides Max, we had Devo, Amy Winehouse, Jareth (David Bowie/Labyrinth), a Steampunk guy, Indiana Jones I think, a gypsy, a girl covered in note cards, and lastly, a table full of creeps, consisting of zombies, a lady with fairy wings, and a lobster
    • Let’s talk about these guys for a second. Fully grown adults who broke five glasses (at least!), bothered anyone in the vicinity, and proceeded to comment on today’s youth culture
    • Zombie walker #1 stumbled into our corner table, leaned on me for support, and asked if we were real live witches. Here’s an accurate dramatization: “Are you making potions what are you doing over here ha! ha! Seriously are you witches are these potions?” We all know Lydia Deetz really is hating this. “I’m working, writing a review for this show”. I don’t think he knows about Beetlejuice.
    • Zombie walker #3 kept dancing over to our table and begging for us to join him. That would never happen, even if we made everyone dance to Harry Belafonte’s “Banana Boat”.

 

anigif_enhanced-27932-1412365064-9_preview

While laughing in the corner

 

Overall, really good stuff. Syntax put together a great lineup with talented Denver bands. I’m definitely looking forward to weird stuff next year.

-graymonster

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