Sounds Local: The Pioneer Valley’s Halloween haunts

  • The Nite Caps, a five-piece band of veteran musicians, will headline a show at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center on Saturday. Contributed photo

  • Zydeco Connection is bringing its music to Berkshire Pizzeria in Charlemont on Saturday at 7 p.m. Contributed photo

  • Children’s musician Mister G will hold his seventh annual Halloween Fiesta at the Academy of Music in Northampton on Sunday. Contributed photo


For the Recorder
Published: 10/24/2018 12:45:42 PM

Franklin County’s venues go all out for Halloween, and that means including music in all of the festivities.

The fun started last weekend with the Great Falls Festival (formerly known as Pumpkinfest) in Turners Falls and Scarecrow in the Park in Bernardston. The spooky celebrations continue this weekend with shows that feature everything from country music, to zydeco, to a Michael Jackson tribute.

You can start your weekend off with the Hallowed Sounds show at the Shea Theater Arts Center, 71 Avenue A in Turners Falls, on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. This isn’t exactly a Halloween show, but it is a festive show that will celebrate world music and provide concert-goers with the opportunity for plenty of dancing.

The show will highlight musicians from three continents who will honor their ancestors by modernizing ancient traditions. Scheduled performers include Innov Gnawa from New York City, who will play Moroccan trance music, and Kombilesa Mi from Columbia, whose music combines Afro-Latin folk rhythms with hip-hop. Rounding out the evening is Incus led by Jason Cohen of Leverett.

Disc jockey Journey Weaver will open and close the night. Festive attire is strongly encouraged for this show, and if you are looking for one that is fun and different, the Shea is the place to be.

Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased at Doors open at 7 p.m.

If you are a Michael Jackson fan, you’ll want to head to Northampton on Friday night to check out “Who’s Bad — The Ultimate Michael Jackson Experience” at the Calvin Theatre, 19 King St., at 8 p.m. Who’s Bad is one of the leading Michael Jackson tribute acts working today, using a full band and extensive choreography to recreate his music as accurately as possible.

The show is a special Halloween-themed show (can anyone say “Thriller?”) so grab your silver glove and fedora, and head on down to the Calvin. Tickets are $25 to $35 and can be purchased at

Saturday night is when the parties kick into high gear; there are many to choose from.

Zydeco Connection will bring its spicy zydeco music to the Berkshire Pizzeria, 72 Main St. in Charlemont, for a spooky good time at 7 p.m. The Greenfield-based band has been bringing zydeco to Pioneer Valley audiences since 2004, playing a mix of zydeco, blues, two-steps, waltzes, boogie-woogie and a touch of swing.

“We have played Halloween parties in the past,” said the band’s leader Cynthia “Lil Cyn” Rose. “We did it for years for Boston Zydeco. They no longer have dances so we are gonna do it in western Mass.”

In the spirit of the holiday, Zydeco Connection will perform some special Halloween songs.

“We will do the Monster Mash, and the second line, which is a New Orleans party song where folks form a line and dance around through the crowd,” Rose said.

The show will be held on the deck, but don’t worry — it will be warm as it’s fully enclosed and has heaters. Costumes are encouraged. The show is free, but tips are appreciated.

Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, 289 Main St. in Greenfield, is hosting two very different Halloween parties on Saturday night. Upstairs in The Perch (fourth floor) it will be a honky-tonk Halloween with music provided by the local band, The Nite Caps. This five-piece combo consists of a group of veteran musicians who have played in various popular local bands over the years.

“Hawks & Reed is a great place to dance and The Perch on the fourth floor offers a lot of room,” the band’s leader, Michael Pattavina, said of the Saturday show. “We’ll be doing our songs and tunes for two-stepping, swing and waltzes. This is the perfect kind of dancing if you are in costume.”

There will be a country dance lesson at 7:30 p.m. and the music will begin at 8 p.m. There will be round of drinks awarded for best costumes, though costumes are optional.

Downstairs will provide a different show when RJD2 heads up Hawks & Reed’s big Halloween throw-down in the main room at 9 p.m. RJD2 is a multi-instrumentalist whose music includes psychedelic, electronica, hip-hop and rock genres. His latest release, “Dame Fortune,” includes some old school soul as well as the hip-hop music he is best known for. The Problemaddicts and Jarv open the show. And in keeping with the Halloween theme, prizes will be given to the best costumes.

Tickets for the Nite Caps show are $10 and doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets for the RJD2 show are $28 in advance and $33 the day of the show. Doors open at 8 p.m. For more information and to purchase tickets visit

Disc jockey Bobby “Bobby C” Campbell will host his annual Halloween Bash on Saturday at 8 p.m. at the Montague Elks Club, 1 Elk Ave. Music will be provided by Jimmy Just Quit who rocked the crowd at last weekend’s Great Falls Festival. The band plays some of your favorite covers and more.

Tickets are $10 and will be sold at the door. The doors open at 7:30 p.m. and there will only be 150 tickets sold. The show is for ages 21 and over.

Also on Saturday, Afterglo, another local band with a wide repertoire that includes rock, blues, country and more, will be at Smitty’s Pub, 26 Chapman St. in Greenfield, for a 9 p.m. show. Cash prizes will awarded for the top three best costumes.

Free Range, the duo of Betsy Scofield and Mark Feller, will provide the soundtrack for Deja Brew’s free Halloween party at 57A Lockes Village Road in Wendell. It all begins at 9 p.m. on Saturday, and there will be prizes, snacks and a bonfire.

Children’s music superstar and local musician Mister G (otherwise known as Ben Gundersheimer of Whately) will hold his seventh annual Halloween Fiesta at the Academy of Music, 274 Main St. in Northampton, on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Fresh off a major international tour, this show will double as a CD release party for “Fireflies.” In additio,n the show will mark the debut of Mister G’s Musical Postcard Project that connects Pioneer Valley children to other children around the world. Youth from the Community Music School of Springfield, along with audience members, will take part in a recording that will be shared with children in Haiti, who will then add their voices to the project. Be sure to wear your best Halloween attire and have your picture taken with family or friends on the red carpet as you enter the theater.

Tickets are $5 to $30 and are available at

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who lives in Easthampton. Her work has appeared in various regional and national magazines. You can contact her at

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