Halloween Music Awesomeness

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Halloween in Minneapolis, outside Orchestra Hall

Now that its November, you know, NaNoWriMo month, where those of us who have any inkling of being a “writer” spend an hour or so each day hammering out some pointless drivel, er I mean, novel ideas (maybe that’s just me), I have not yet had a chance to report on my Halloween activities! Since I’ve been attempting NaNo for about five years now, Halloween has kind of become that last shindig before the writing crunch begins.

It’s always fun when Halloween falls on a weekend. Or at least, that’s still how I feel nowadays even though I’m out of school and I’m just as likely, and happy, to work weekends as not. Still, for our nine-to-five friends, weekend Halloweens still make things convenient. I think I may have mentioned that Halloween remains my favorite holiday, what with the creativity, imagination, and, yes, adventure, that goes along with it. I may have been a fairly timid kid, in general; scared of jump scares, horrible things, and the littlest drop of blood, but I also found Halloween, and spooky things in general, fascinating. This nostalgia has remained with me, and like any true millennial “kidult,” I still can’t get enough of it. I mean, check out this Huffington Post article from last year, Halloween Can Save Democracy. All very convincing arguments to me!

For me, I prepare for Halloween by reading spooky books and listening to spooky music, so when too awesome Halloween concerts popped up on my radar, I had to attend.

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Waldo enjoys MC Lars at the Amsterdam Bar and Hall, St. Paul

Over in St. Paul, at a nice early hour so the kids could still go Trick or Treating and the grown-ups could head to their parties later, the Amsterdam Bar and Hall hosted the Minnesota stop for Koo Koo Kanga Roo and MC Lars’ Joyful Smiles Tour, which definitely brought a lot of joyful smiles to all of people in the audience. It was definitely a fun time for all ages, whether hip young parents and their kids, and random kidults alike. MC Lars’ ode to Edgar Allan Poe was a particularly thematic part of the show, and of course, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, who I have talked about before, put on an awesome live show. It’s just like going back to Saturday morning as a kid- the only thing missing was breakfast cereal- though there was plenty of candy, of course, and for those over 21, the Amsterdam has a very nice list of craft beers and the little sandwiches we all love. Of course, seeing all of the costumes was a good part of the fun.

Later in the evening, after relaxing a bit from all the jumping around we did earlier, we kept on with the nostalgic theme and headed into Minneapolis to the beautiful new Orchestra Hall to watch the Minnesota Orchestra perform Danny Elfman’s score for the Nightmare Before Christmas. Conducted by Sarah Hicks, it was difficult to focus on what to watch more, the musicians or the movie. The costumes were even more elaborate and creepier here, even among the orchestra itself, and everyone seemed to be in quite the mood for some nostalgia. As director Henry Selick says, Nightmare is totally a Halloween movie, so it was perfect excuse to check out the Hall, which I have not done since its renovation.

Another fun aspect was the interactive Halloween animation filmed before the show by local arts organization Intermedia Arts, aided by concertgoers and show at the end of the show. It was fun to help put together this fun stop-motion mini-movie, with its skeletons, pumpkins, leaves, ghosts, and musical instruments. It looks like, if you missed this piece of nostalgic holiday fun, the Minnesota Orchestra will be performing the score to Home Alone, that most nostalgic of early ’90s Christmas movies later in the month. Not really as exciting as Halloween, but some may be excited!

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