Candy apples and razor blades

SSION, Crypts, Hunx, and Misfits cover bands bring out our Halloween spirit

Red lips, moustache wax recommended for SSION's Public Works gig (Thu/25).

TOFU AND WHISKEY While I don't miss living in Long Beach, Calif. too much (save for some particular pals and the endless flat biking roads), I do sorely yearn for the yearly costumed Halloween performance — at steak restaurant/dive bar the Prospector — of the Shitfits, a Misfits cover band made up of local musicians. Luckily, in San Francisco, there are numerous bands-costumed-as-other-bands shows in late October, including at least one Misfits tribute: Astrozombies, a full-time tribute act, which will do the horror-punk legends right at Hemlock Tavern (Oct. 31, 8:30pm, $7. 1131 Polk, SF;

"The band was essentially formed to be a Halloween act," Astrozombies' vocalist-guitarist Kevin Amann, a.ka. Doyle Vonn Danzig, tells me.

Because what is Halloween without a Danzig-alike howling "Hallow-e-e-e-e-en?" Prefaced by, "Bonfires burning bright/Pumpkin faces in the night/I remember Halloween." Doesn't that make you itchy to slick down your devil-lock, and paint your face like the quintessential skull?

I ask Amann if his band's Misfits (and some Danzig/Samhain) repertoire is constraining, and he says, nope: "I think, because there is some pretty serious diversity within the Misfits catalog, it really doesn't ever feel limiting. We can go from a lightening fast punk song like 'Demonamania' to a brooding slow tempo rock song like 'London Dungeon'."

An aside: The actual Misfits — or, their current incarnation, minus Danzig — are playing the Oakland Metro on Nov. 16, but that's still a few weeks away.

Let's get back to the Halloween tribute show in general. It's often the peak of the year's nights out, the pinnacle when one might revert to early show-going wonder and moshpittery. Everyone is feeling creepy, and the only true nerds are the kids who come in street clothes, or as something "ironic" or "thought-provoking." This year, some friends and I hope to go out as Pussy Riot, as both a fun fashion choice, and in solidarity. Wait, is that thought-provoking? Well, my partner will be a bearded man in a hot dog suit, so it's not all politics.

Along with the Astrozombies, another local year-round tribute act, Bob Saggeth, will play Halloween again: two Black Sabbath-ish nights at Amnesia (Oct. 30-31, 10pm, $7–$10. 853 Valencia, SF;

Then there's the kind of once-a-year special mashup tribute night I was blathering on about above at Thee Parkside (Oct. 31, 8pm, $8. 1600 17th St., SF;, with Glitter Wizard "Pushin' Too Hard" as the Seeds, Twin Steps as the Cramps, Meat Market as G.G. and the Jabbers, and excellent new local bluegrass band the Parmesans as the Kinks.

There's also a few Total Trash Booking monster mashes, which are pretty much always guaranteed to be raucous, punkish blowouts. There's the pre-party at the New Parish (Nobunny, Shannon and the Clams, who will also be the Misfits, Pangea, Audacity, Uzi Rash. Fri/26, 8pm, $12–$14. 579 18th St., Oakl.; and two totally exciting Coachwhips reunion shows.

Coachwhips of course being John Dwyer's pre-Thee Oh Sees noise punk outfit. One of the reunion nights (Sat/27 at Verdi Club) is totally sold out, and you're bummed because there's going to be a haunted house inside the venue. I'm stoked because that's where I'll be Pussy Riot-ing.

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