The Devil’s Music Course: Curriculum—Zombie Ball; YpsiFest

. May 18, 2012.

Halloween is a time for the freaks to come out; a time for one’s inner devils or inner witches, or any kinds of monsters (from mummies, to mongoloids) to be let out for fired-up nights of dashed dances and amplified howls.

It makes for what’s likely the best time of year for live rock n roll – a tradition that stems its way back through time, from Elvis’ corrupting pelvis, back to loud and lewd R&B, back, still, all the way to Robert Johnson shaking hands with the Devil himself to bolster blues music.

Some say it’s only rock n roll – but it’s quaint, even mischievously emboldening, to remember the way this music used to be infamous for its ostensible evilness.

It’s best to let that sordid spirit out in proper fashion – like getting into costume before rocking out. Check out the 3rd Annual Zombie Ball on Oct. 21 at Woodruff’s in Ypsilanti, where attendees are encouraged to tear up their clothes, apply healthy shades of rot and globs of dried blood. Zombify yourself, and enjoy the raucous ferocity of punk-splattered, metal-slammed rock n roll from Devil Elvis and Christpuncher, along with the ghoulish skeleton DJ duo Los Minstrels Del Diablo spinning psychedelic electronica.

 Another recommended Halloween-angled freak-rock indulgence is offered Oct. 29 at Woodruff’s with local music collective Ghost Family interpreting/embodying iconic noise-rock firebrands The Jesus Lizard. “I've seen the Jesus Lizard many times,” said Anthony Anonymous (of JWPP) who’ll be singing (as original member David Yow). “They are one of the most exciting and heavy bands I’ve seen… we will do our best to bring the energy!” Other participants include Joshua Tafelski – guitar, James North – guitar, Jheremie Jaque – bass, and Jehan Dough / Larry Johnson switching drums.

YpsiFest goes down Oct. 12 – Oct. 15 (again, Woodruff's), which, coincidentally, was started by Anonymous (our would be David Yow, quoted above) back in 2003, initially as a two-day music blowout bent on bringing Ypsi bands together (as well as the best bands from Detroit and other surrounding counties).

Anonymous said that each year he’s reminded of the vast number of “talented, hard-working bands in our little village and I need to remind myself how fortunate I am to be able to witness it.” 

Wednesday, (the 12th) features Ypsi’s psyche-rock power-trio Sisters of Your Sunshine Vapor (who just released their 2nd LP back in September) as well as instrumental rock quintet Lawless Carver. This year’s line-up, though, looks a bit Detroit-heavy, but you can still catch Ypsi/Arbor rooted/connected groups like Easy Action, Patrick Elkins & the Rainbow Family Vomit Band, Blue Snaggletooth, Chapstick, and of course, the Ghost Family (JWPP, Sharky & the Habit, Err…).

In other news, Ann Arbor electro-pop/rock crew Ella Riot (formerly My Dear Disco) are releasing an album (Love Child), Oct. 14 at the Blind Pig.

Meanwhile, I’m getting my mellifluous, slightly-melancholic/yet-slightly-serene autumnal folk kick with Little Island Lake’s new album Jawbones (and see them, Oct 6 at Woodruff's). Extending from that bluesy realm would be the Great Tribulation (who play that venue the following night, Oct. 7). Happy Autumn. 

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