Bobgoblin, The Deathray Davies, Budapest One, Sparkle Pussy Barbie

Saturday, October 30, at Club Clearview

Halloween officially began when Sparkle Pussy Barbie took the Club Clearview stage. Their bizarre, carnival-style take on Big Black's industrial rock scared passers-by en route to the dance room next door, and those who stuck around quickly learned that Deathray Davies members Mike Middleton and Kevin Ingle brought nothing DRD-like to the crazy music. Still, SPB's irreverence was plenty amusing, while Budapest One followed with a much more serious tone. Blame that on former Sons of Sound member T.J. Pendergrass, whose debut on drums added classic-rock edge to new songs, maintained the lounge feel of older material and revitalized the band's musicianship. Vocally, things were different: Keyboardist Chad Stockslager sang lead for only one song, and guitarist Keith Killoren mumbled through the set's first tracks, including an unenthusiastic take on "Signal for the Assassins," until guest vocalists Monique Roberts and Samantha Pratt joined later and helped him get his step back.

DRD, whose clothes and speakers were soaked in blood, tore through a poppy Halloween set shining with new songs "Chainsaw" and "Release the Squid." That is, the set shone until Ingle turned a smoke machine around and filled Clearview's crowd with irritating fog. Aside from that, the set was predictable, but considering how consistently tight DRD has been in concert these days, that's a compliment. Afterward, people cleared out as quickly as the fog, which meant Bobgoblin's white-hot comeback show went embarrassingly under-noticed. The Dallas pop-rock legends, who changed both name and format to synth-heavy Adventures of Jet years ago, returned to their guitar-heavy ways in fine form. Lead singer Hop Lipzwire, despite losing his voice, managed to sing his heart out for an hour, and his marching and dancing proved that he was happy as hell without a synthesizer in his way. The quartet seemed to have the time of their lives playing 1991 hits "Sellout" and "Pinata" with surprising freshness, and that made their Halloween promise of a forthcoming album seem much more like treat than trick.

 
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