Written By HANNAH KRAMER — firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who has opened their home as a venue to the multitude of bands passing through Davis knows that having neighbors who don’t mind noise is of paramount importance. It makes it easier if those neighbors are dead.
The Morgue, conveniently located across the street from the Davis Cemetery, is hosting a Halloween Spooktacular this Friday, featuring musical performances by Kaz Mirblouk, The Ostriches and Dust Collector.
Christopher Preston, Kaz Mirblouk’s drummer and a UC Santa Barbara graduate, describes the band as garage psych-surf.
“[The sound is] influenced by [music groups] like Ty Segall and Bass Drums of Death, as well as older artists like the Standells,” Preston said.
Matt Stalcup, a fourth-year technocultural studies and English double major and member of The Ostriches, describes his band’s “acid, psych-rock, freakout” style as a direct result of a mishmash of three very different musical tastes.
“We [have] all [traveled] pretty far in our own directions [in terms of our musical tastes], so [our group has] a large pool of influence,” Stalcup said. “I think that the ‘acid freak-out’ part of what we do is actually more of a confrontation of placid Vacaville monoculture than the direct influence of another band.”
Headliner Dust Collector hails from San Francisco and is billed as a union of cleverly mixed samples and experimental hip hop.
Noa Ver, a second-year transfer technocultural studies major and resident and booking agent of The Morgue, works to promote musical variety at shows, unlike traditional venues which focus on one specific style for its openers and headliners.
Ver sees house shows as an opportunity to bring different styles together for a more memorable listening experience.
“I think about style and complementation but I never make [the booked artists] homogenous — I want them [to complement one another] but not [be musically] the same,” Ver said. “There’s no easy segway, which is something that I’ve always really appreciated about going to house shows. You’ll have an evening where you’ll see four bands that are all very different but work together.”
For example, instead of booking three death metal acts for one evening, Ver will try to book punk and noise performances with one death metal set to mix up the sound.
“It’s not fair to assume that punk rock can only be paired with punk rock,” Ver said. “You can put psych next to it, metal — anything next to it. [Booking according to genre and sound is] purposefully not too strict.”
Musical variety isn’t the only reason to attend. The smaller space produces a different atmosphere than traditional shows.
“[Davis house shows] are really laid back and great places to hang out and hear local and touring bands,” Preston said. “The best part is the intimacy. The bands play right in front of you and usually hang out before and after the show.”
In the same way that the atmosphere and music is unlike any other, the venue itself and audience etiquette are modified at house shows. In addition to following the respecting the vicinity the show is in, audience members are encouraged to donate money to help fund talent.
“It’s weird to say, as a musician, that you should bring donations, but you should seriously bring donations,” Stalcup said. “No one is going to twist your arm or judge you, but $3 to $5 is typical. A lot of the bands that come to Davis are driving all the way from L.A., Olympia, Seattle — even Canada. It helps a lot if you are willing to support them [spread] music across the Pacific coast.”
As for the Spooktacular, the Morgue is living up to its namesake by going all out with decorations, costumes and wild performances.
“I never use the phrase ‘spooktacular’ unless I’m dead serious. This is a spooktacular Halloween extravaganza of the most chilling order,” Stalcup said. “We’ve been busy hexing the house for weeks to summon the right ghouls.”
Audience members are asked to dress for the occasion.
“You have to wear a costume if you want to come — don’t be a square in jeans and a Davis sweatshirt,” Ver said.
The Halloween Spooktacular begins on Oct. 31 at 8 p.m. The Morgue’s address is 1919 Wahl Way. For more information, visit the Halloween Spooktacular’s Facebook event page.