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:
Monday: George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
Funk legend George Clinton, still as vital as ever at age 77, brings his sizable, multi-generational ensemble Parliament Funkadelic back to Vermont on what he says is his final tour with the group – which will forge on sans Clinton following a massive year-long trek around the world.
The funk juggernaut is touring in support of its first album in nearly 40 years. “Medicaid Fraud Dogg,” released in May, finds Clinton and company in top form, taking on the inner workings of the American medical machine as only they can deliver it.
The 23-track, 100-minute-plus album, which Clinton said was inspired by current artists like Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar, “frequently finds the seam where P-Funk and G-Funk meet,” according to Pitchfork, which called the album “delightfully raunchy but also surprisingly tenderhearted.”
“I had to get this music out there,” says Clinton in press materials. “I felt real creative urgency to give the world this, right now.”
Monday, Oct. 29, Higher Ground Ballroom, South Burlington, 9 p.m. $42 advance, $45 day of show (all ages); call 877-987-6487 or go online to www.highergroundmusic.com.
Tuesday : Lee Scratch Perry + Subatomic Sound System
One night after funk legend George Clinton plays Higher Ground, reggae legend Lee Scratch Perry brings his New York City-based band Subatomic Sound System to the intimate confines of Club Metronome. The show is part of a tour celebrating the 45th anniversary of Perry’s landmark 1973 album, “Blackboard Jungle Dub.”
Widely regarded as the pioneer of dub music, Perry, 82, is “a notoriously eccentric figure who stands as one of reggae’s greatest producers” and “is unquestionably one of reggae’s most innovative, influential artists,” according to the All Music Guide.
Perry and his group will perform “Blackboard Jungle Dub” — considered one of the first dub albums ever, and called “a true classic of the dub genre” and “absolutely essential” by reggae historian David Katz — in its entirety for the first time, in addition to classic cuts from Perry’s storied career.
Getting the party started are live dub artists the Green Lion Crew, and Mi Yard DJs Big Dog and Jahson.
Tuesday, Oct. 30, Club Metronome, Burlington, 9 p.m. $25 advance, $30 day of show (age 18 and older); call 802-658-4771 or go online to https://liveatnectars.com.
The brainchild of singular singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Merrill Garbus, 39, Oakland-based Tune-Yards has been synonymous with forward-looking music since its formation in 2009, delivering an explosive performance style and a unique polyrhythmic sound that defies categorization — merely described as “wild” on the band’s Facebook page, while the All Music Guide says it “fuses indie-pop and global elements into uniquely vibrant music.”
Joined by super-funky bassist/synth player/vocalist Nate Brenner, Tune-Yards is touring in support of its fourth album “I Can Feel You Creep into My Private Life,” released in January on the independent 4AD label. The AMG called it “a vibrant album that explores the political and cultural tumult of the late 2010s with anthemic heft and individualistic perspectives,” while Rolling Stone dubbed it “an LP determined to conjure kinetic joy while staring down our present cultural fright show.”
Opening the show is U.S. Girls, aka Toronto multi-disciplinary artist Meg Remy, touring in support of her sixth album, “In a Poem Unlimited,” released in February on 4AD.
Wednesday, Oct. 31, Higher Ground Ballroom, 8 p.m. $20 advance, $23 day of show (all ages); call 877-987-6487 or go online to www.highergroundmusic.com.
Wednesday: Bella’s Bartok, Superhuman Happiness
Bella’s Bartok, a self-described “circus punk” band in Northampton, Massachusetts, returns to Vermont in support of its stellar new album, “Is Me That Monster?” released in June.
Opening the show is dance-inducing Brooklyn collective Superhuman Happiness. Led by Brooklyn multi-instrumentalist Stuart Bogie (Arcade Fire, Iron and Wine, TV on the Radio, Antibalas), the group is celebrating its 10th anniversary as a band and its just-released third album, “Beacon.”
Wednesday, Oct. 31, Nectar’s, 9 p.m. $10 (age 18 and older); call 802-658-4771 or go online to https://liveatnectars.com.
Thursday: Marco Benevento
A fairly frequent and ever-popular presence in the Burlington area, genre-blurring keyboard wiz Marco Benevento is known for his rousing live shows, where dancing is in abundance and his compelling compositions are taken to new heights.
At ArtsRiot, the singular keyboardist joins forces with New York City ace Scott Metzger (Joe Russo’s Almost Dead) and his new instrumental guitar trio Wolf! which Brooklyn Vegan called “a no-frills outfit that could serve as the house band for a Quentin Tarantino movie.”
Thursday, Nov. 1, ArtsRiot, Burlington, 8:30 p.m. $15 advance, $20 day of show (all ages); call 802-540-0406 or go online to www.artsriot.com.
Friday: Madaila – The Last One
Widely regarded as one of Vermont’s best and most promising bands, Burlington psych-pop group Madaila has enjoyed a rapid rise in popularity since the 2015 release of its stellar debut album “The Dance.”
Earlier this month, however, the quintet announced that it would be taking an indefinite hiatus, and that Friday’s show at Higher Ground — and “a follow-up a few weeks later in New York City” — would be its final shows for the foreseeable future.
“In a nutshell, we have grown apart in terms of where we see Madaila fitting into the lives we are building as musicians and people, and need to take space with the hope that we will be able to come back together,” said the band on its website and Facebook page.
“We appreciate the benefit of the doubt from you that we are all doing our best to keep this group we love alive. Right now, we believe our best chance of doing that is to take some time away.
“We are not exactly sure how long this will last,” added the band. “We are starting with a six-month break and planning to re-assess at that point. We are hopeful that things will feel right again, but we honestly have no idea.”
“We hope to see you all at one or both of these shows. We plan on doing them up real big.”
Friday, Nov. 2, Higher Ground Ballroom, 8:30 p.m. $17 advance, $20 day of show (all ages); call 877-987-6487 or go online to www.highergroundmusic.com.