The first band to play at KCRW’s third annual Halloween masquerade in L.A. was Brooklyn-based Milagres, whose members were dressed as old men. Throughout the show bassist Fraser McCulloch got really into character, shrugging his shoulders much like a grandpa indicating “I don’t get this music,” despite the fact that he was rocking it. Smiling, lead vocalist Kyle Wilson admitted he preferred playing in his pajamas and faked senility asking the audience if he had introduced the band already. When a member of the crowd shouted for him to repeat himself, Wilson answered with a, “Say what again?” Despite being the opener of the night, playing before many of the attendees had arrived, Milagres impressed, getting a girl dressed as a milk maid to ring her bell repeatedly in approval as others stomped their feet and clapped.
While Milagres was playing one of the two upstairs stages, Chris Douridas was rocking his DJ set in one of the two downstairs rooms. He also probably took the award for freakiest costume wearing the giant head of a curly-haired middle-aged woman and a school girl outfit. The most popular costume of the evening was Nina from Black Swan. When Mariachi El Bronx, the Latin alter ego of punk band the Bronx, took the stage in its Día De Los Muertos get-ups, lead singer Matt Caughthran introduced “48 Roses” by saying, “This one goes out to all the Black Swans in the house!” Other popular costumes included the traditional Tim Burton characters, a slew of gladiators and a few different parodies on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Dengue Fever had one of the most fun group costumes of the evening, dressing as the different characters found at a carnival or circus. Lead singer Chhom Nimol was a ringmaster, keyboardist Ethan Holtzman portrayed a blue swami, Paul Smith “clowned” around on drums, David Ralicke played a lion on brass, and bassist Senon Williams completely owned being the strong man, lifting giant dumbbells and climbing up on top of the speaker system. One of the cutest moments of the evening came when Holtzman’s brother and Fever guitarist, Zac Holtzman, as the bearded lady, introduced the band’s song “Shave Your Beard.”
While Dengue Fever was having its three-ring in one room, Moby was having a riot in the other. So many people were trying to get in and out of Moby’s DJ set that the LAFD was called in to regulate. Masquerade goers trying to leave Moby to see Dengue Fever, Mariachi El Bronx or Henry Rollins’ DJ set were yelling at those trying to get in for blocking the way while those trying to get in were yelling at each other for not moving quickly enough. At one point a pair of drunk men almost got in a fist fight when one tried to cut another in line, but thankfully security broke it up before any blood was shed. Once inside the cavernous Terrace Room, it was a nonstop dance party as people grinded to the music and jumped on each other’s shoulders in order to get a better look at Moby. At the same time in the downstairs Gold Room Henry Rollins was leading a dance party of his own, playing fun music that hipsters hopped to. Rollins himself was thrashing his head and body to the beat with such force that everyone in the front row probably should have had ponchos to protect themselves from his sweat.
There were also non-music related happenings over the course of the evening: a live art performance called “Melting Rainbows” by Aaron Axelrod, high-end photo booths, ghost stories and interactive experimental performances by vaudevillian circus troupe Lucent Dossier. Some of Lucent Dossier’s highlights included a woman whose boobs were made of cotton candy feeding pieces to those wanting a treat and “The Boarding Station,” a beautiful fortune teller-esque stand where people could receive a ticket to the path their life is on.
Photos by Annie Lesser.