Last Friday, November 2, marked the final hurrah for Halloween in Madison, when the Barrymore Theatre played host to Night of the Dead. A celebration of both the Mexican holiday El Dia De Los Muertos and the long shadow of the Grateful Dead, it showcased Run Side Down and Baghdad Scuba Review, two of the city's leading jam bands.
"Thanks to everyone that came out to the Barrymore," declared the latter following the concert. Night of the Dead featured a two-hour performance by each group, in costume of course, followed by a combined set in which both performed covers of their favorite Grateful Dead classics. It's a rare night when a local band plays at the historic theater just of Schenk's Corners, much less two co-headlining a weekend show.
Run Side Down had similar sentiments about the concert:
There are times in your life that define you. This night was that night for many people involved, myself included. It's a big deal to be a local band headlining this theatre. After a month of meetings, tuff choices, and egos, it was finally here. We sound checked around 4, and then went home to chill. Our friends, Baghdad Scuba Review hit the stage just after 8 as the room began to fill with people. I watched from backstage as the crowd came up to the stage and rocked with them. They played a hell of a set. Tight. Good stuff! I headed out into the audience to check out a couple of tunes. It was all I could do to keep from jumping out of my own body in anticipation.
Suddenly and without warning it was time for us to jump up there. As we walked out on stage, a roar occurred from the crowd in response to our costumes. We had themed it Lebowski. I was Walter of course, Dan was Jesus, Jon was Donny, and Joe was The Dude. An audio montage of movie quotes played over the sound system as we got to our instruments. As the cowboy says, "Ah hell, I done introduced him enough..." we launched into Bob Dylan's "The Man in Me" straight from the opening credits. It was really a cool moment! I feel like people got it, but with Lebowski you almost have to be in the club so I'm not sure. The rest of the set was a blur. I'm sure that we melted some faces, but I can't really pinpoint in my mind anything else.
Then it was over. What a night. If anyone is reading this stupid blog, thanks so much, from the bottom of this chubby musician's soul. Truly on of the best experiences of my life. I will never forget November 2nd, 2007.
Then there's the conclusion offered by Baghdad Scuba Review: "It was a huge success and a great time! Some very creative costumes and great energy just added to the atmosphere."
Several videos from Night of the Dead follow below, starting with a clip of Run Side Down performing "The Man in Me."
Run Side Down can be seen in two other videos from "Night of the Dead." The first features the group playing "Patches" (here) and the other finds them jamming (here). Four more feature the opening set by Baghdad Scuba Review, including their performances of "Set Yourself" (here) and "Difference a Day" (here), as well as two clips that similarly feature jams (here and here) by the band.
More music by Baghdad Scuba Review is available at its MySpace page; they have two more shows scheduled this year in Madison, one on Wednesday, December 19 at the High Noon Saloon and another on New Year's Eve at Pooley's. Similarly, more tunes by Run Side Down can be found at its MySpace page; this group is currently on a national tour in support of its new album In the Sawdust, returning to town for a New Year's party at Mr. Roberts.