Halloween’s just around the corner, and if you live in San Francisco and you haven’t already made plans for the big night, here’s a roundup of some of the parties that are going on across the city, in some of our favorite venues.
For some, the celebrations got started last weekend – Bimbo’s 365 on Saturday night saw Foreverland bring the night alive with a soul-stirring tribute to the King of Pop, with a setlist that went way beyond Thriller to become a dance through one of the greatest catalogs in pop. Elsewhere, Crawloween (yes, that’s a pub crawl in full fancy dress) went down impeccably.
On the day itself, the Regency Ballroom sees none other than no-seriously heroes The Damned taking over the stage with their signature brand of punk and gothic rock; the perfect time, and the perfect venue, for dark-hearted raucousness. In Berkeley, the Ashkenaz brings a world music vibe to the darkest night of the year, hosting a dress-up party featuring the Funky Gators on the 30th, and the Halloween Flamenco Fiesta happening on the 31st. The Warfield hosts Vallejo’s own SOB X RBE on Halloween itself that will surely see beats sharp enough to be vampire’s teeth.
As always, the Great American Music Hall puts up a tough competition; this year it’s going all-out for a day-glo cabaret vibe, with a show featuring Mac Sabbath (California’s trailblazers of Drive Thru Metal – come for the Black Sabbath vibe, stay for the fact that you might see someone who looks like the Hamburglar playing sick drums), and Franks and Deans, with the promise of Vegas punk rock colliding with genius burlesque, right before your eyes. If that’s not your scene, The Independent has a similarly incendiary show in prospect, as the Bay Area’s weekly live electronica party Afrolicious sets the stage on fire.
If Halloween is more about the colder evenings and laid-back, cozy vibes for you, Biscuits & Blues is always there for you – Chris Cain is playing his legendary blues guitar there on October 30th, soaking the place with his warm vocals.
Away from the shows, San Francisco is gearing up for the big night in other ways, with parties and celebrations being planned and hosted around the city. There’s a pub crawl run by Crawloween’s CrawlSF starting from Mayes Oyster House on the 31st (but get tickets in advance), while on the other end of the spectrum, The San Francisco Mint promises to dial up the dread with Terror Vault, which is a spooky mix of theater, escape room, haunted mazes, and special effects that are guaranteed to make your hair stand on end.
If you want to laugh the dread away there’s Cobb’s Comedy Club, and if you want to go beyond the obvious outfits, The Speakeasy hosts a full-on, old-school Midnight Masquerade Ball. If you’ve always wanted to indulge in the mystery of this ancient tradition, slip on your mask, don your formal attire, and head there to discover the thin line between class and romance.