Just because the bulk of the celebratory Halloween debauchery generally takes place in Chicago the weekend before Halloween doesn't mean you can't make it a long weekend this year by catching great live music this Monday night. So put your costume back on and head out to see GWAR, Widespread Panic, or any of the following ten shows this Halloween...
1. GWAR (6PM Monday 10/31 at House of Blues. $27, All Ages) - Every Time I Die opens. Have to work Tuesday morning? Don't fret. Doors open at 5PM for this early, (shockingly) all ages show. In case you're not familiar with GWAR's insane stage set, All Music Guide defines it (better than I could) as both "Gory, sexually perverse, and scatological in the extreme" and " Thrash metal's answer to the more mainstream satire of Spinal Tap." Oderus Urungus, Slymenstra Hymen and the rest of the band's cast of characters bring their unique brand of rock to the House of Blues stage and lest you cast doubt upon their musical capabilities, let us not forget the fact that the band was (miraculously) nominated for a Grammy for 1993's home video Phallus in Wonderland. If you're lucky, maybe you'll be amongst the chosen few to be sacrifced by the band and eaten live onstage by its carnivorous worm to end your evening. Fun for the whole family at this all ages Halloween concert!
2. Hugh Cornwell (of The Stranglers), Clem Burke (of Blondie) and The Handcuffs (8PM Monday at Reggie's Rock Club. $18, 17+) - The Dead Superheroes Orchestra and Happy Hunting open. The very epitome of punk rock live onstage helps Reggie's masquerade as CBGB's this Halloween. Cornwell and Burke need no introduction given their rock resumes and The Handcuffs are one of Chicago's finest. Touring in support of their September release Waiting For the Robot, in Brad Elvis and Chloe Orwell, The Handcuffs feature one of Chicago's finest drummers and front women respectively. Their live show is always a blast and if I didn't have to be up for work at 4AM on Tuesday morning, Reggie's is where I'd be spending my Halloween. Come dressed as your favorite dead rockstar for a chance to win cash prizes.
3. Widespread Panic (7:30PM Monday at the Aragon Ballroom. All Ages, SOLD OUT) - Widespread's Halloween shows are the things of jam band legend and this is their third in Chicago. Part of their 25th anniversary tour, this show comes on the heels of Chicago appearances Friday and Saturday at the Chicago Theatre.
4. In Tall Buildings and Cains and Abels (9PM Monday at Schubas. $10, 21+) - In celebration of Halloween, Erik Hall's In Tall Buildings will be performing as Deerhoof while Cains and Abels take a stab at Modern Lovers.
5. Northalsted Halloween Parade (Registration begins at 4PM, parade steps off from Belmont and Halsted at 7PM. FREE) - You really never know what you'll see during a parade on Halsted and you can't beat the price. Lots of bars along the parade route and several costume contests should make this a fun, unpredictable and entertaining way to do some outstanding people watching on what could be one of the final halfway decent nights of weather in Chicago before the winter (Mostly sunny, high of 54).
6. Halloween Hell 2011 (Monday at Exit. No Cover, 21+) - Bust out the chains and leater for a performance by Cealed Kasket, an "Internet Celebrity Costume Contest," and killer drink specials (including $3 Guinness). Yes... Hell yes.
7. Killer Punk Rock Monday (Monday at Delilah's. No Cover, 21+) - I suppose this isn't specific to Halloween but Delilah's just seems like a great place to spend the season's spookiest "holiday." DJ Christian starts spinning punk at 9PM and killer drink specials include $1 beers and $2 Beam. Get scary drunk on a budget. Did I mention they serve absinthe? You're welcome.
8. Linsey Alexander (9:30PM Monday at B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted. 21+) - Expect a cover somewhere between $10-15 for a night of very loud blues guitar within the cozy confines of one of the city's most intimate blues clubs.
9. J.W. Williams and Carl Weathersby (8PM-4AM Monday at Kingston Mines. 21+) - Directly across the street from B.L.U.E.S. for your maximum dose of live Chicago blues. Like B.L.U.E.S., expect a cover in the $15 range.
10. Patricia Barber Quartet (8PM-midnight Monday at the Green Mill. $7, 21+) - If blues isn't your thing, how about some late night jazz at one of the city's most storied venues?
Tags: Aragon Ballroom, B.L.U.E.S. on Halsted, Blondie, blues, Brad Elvis, Carl Weathersby, Chloe Orwell, Clem Burke, debauchery, Delilah's, Erik Hall, Exit, Green Mill, GWAR, Halloween, Halloween Hell 2011, House of Blues, Hugh Cornwell, In Tall Buildings, J.W. Williams, jazz, Kingston Mines, Linsey Alexander, Patricia Barber Quartet, Reggie's Rock Club, The Handcuffs, The Stranglers, Widespread Panic