There’s just something about Halloween that makes it one of the biggest times of the year for concerts, with bands scrambling to claim hometown haunts and desirable music markets throughout the country.
College towns are often hotspots, and the Burlington area is especially hopping this year, with a slew of artists serving up a variety of musical styles ranging from funk and reggae to circus-punk and psych-pop.
Here’s a look at some noteworthy Halloween action happening this week.
Sunday — Jay Som
Jay Som, a.k.a. 25-year-old Los Angeles-based singer and multi-instrumentalist Melina Mae Duterte, brings her distinctive dream pop to ArtsRiot in support of her fourth album, “Anak Ko,” released in August.
Inspired by the lush, poppy sounds of such ‘80s bands as Prefab Sprout, the Cure and Cocteau Twins, the album shines on the strength of Duterte’s deft production skills. The title — pronounced Ah-nuhk Koh and translated as “my child” in Tagalog, one of the native dialects in the Philippines — was inspired by a text message from Duterte’s mother, who has used the term to address her.
Spin called the album “a gorgeous and dreamy record that is plenty enchanting,” while Variety declared it “both a triumph of understatement and an understated triumph.”
Added Consequence of Sound: “The record and its seamless transitions from one heavily enticing, tender and softly-delivered track to the next paints a captivating and enthralling self-portrait.”
Jay Som and openers Gia Margaret and Boy Scouts perform at 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 27, at ArtsRiot, Burlington. Tickets are $13 (all ages); call 802-540-0406 or go online to www.artsriot.com.
Tuesday — The Bad Plus
One of the most compelling jazz trios around, adventurous New York City-based band The Bad Plus makes its first return to the area since a show with standout saxophonist Joshua Redman four years ago at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. This time out, the talented trio brings its newest member, topnotch pianist Orrin Evans, who joined the group last year.
Evans joins bassist Reid Anderson and drummer David King, who formed the band 20 years ago with pianist Ethan Iverson, who parted ways with the group in late 2017. The Bad Plus has been blurring the lines between jazz and rock since its inception, while infusing the genre with some serious juice.
Clearly rejuvenated by the addition of Evans, The Bad Plus is performing in support of its second album in as many years. “Activate Infinity,” released Friday, is a follow-up to the group’s first album with Evans, “Never Stop II,” released in early 2018.
The Bad Plus performs at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29, at ArtsRiot, Burlington. Tickets are $40 (all ages); call 802-540-0406 or go online to www.artsriot.com.
Thursday — Low Cut Connie
Spirited Philadelphia rock group Low Cut Connie — music critic Greg Kot called them “the essence of what rock-and-roll should be” — brings its renowned live show back to Vermont for a Halloween performance complete with a costume contest hosted by frontman Adam Weiner.
Area favorites, the band has headlined Higher Ground, performed at Grand Point North, opened by Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats at Shelburne Museum, and helped ring in 2018 with a headline show at ArtsRiot.
Low Cut Connie’s latest album, last year’s widely praised “Dirty Pictures (Part 2),” was a follow-up to 2017 standout “Part 1.” Glide called the latter “the kind of rowdy party record we expect from Low Cut Connie, but with all of the incredible polish and sophistication of a band that has really figured out who they are.”
Low Cut Connie and openers Aubrey Haddard and J’Beau perform at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, at ArtsRiot, Burlington. Tickets are $25 (all ages); call 802-540-0406 or go online to www.artsriot.com.
Thursday — Madaila Wakes Up
One year after performing its second-to-last show before going on hiatus, Burlington psych-pop group Madaila is back on board for “Madaila Wakes Up,” its second straight Halloween night soiree at Higher Ground.
Widely regarded as one of Vermont’s best and most promising bands, Madaila enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity since the 2015 release of its stellar debut album, “The Dance.” But prior to last year’s Halloween show, the band announced that they needed to take an extended break “with the hope that we will be able to come back together.”
Thursday’s Halloween show follows solo releases by frontman Mark Daly and keyboardist Eric B. Maier. Daly’s debut album, “Ernest,” was released in June. And Maier, a.k.a. One Human Person, last Friday released a mixed-media project called “Red & Blue.”
Madaila also recently hinted on its Facebook page that the band is “working on something in the studio.”
Madaila and opener JUPTR perform at 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 31, at Higher Ground Ballroom, South Burlington. Tickets are $20 in advance, $23 day of show (all ages); call 877-987-6487 or go online to www.highergroundmusic.com.