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MUSIC: Ventura County | ROCKTALK

Bands That Go 'Boo'

Classic rock will reign for Halloween night gatherings around the county.


Everyone may want to look different, but few can expect to hear different music when Halloween rolls around this year on a rare Saturday night. Around the county's bar scene, deejays will have plenty of work. As for live music, most of it will be cover bands doing classic rock.

Thus, the musically mundane will rule this weekend with few exceptions. The greatest Halloween band of all time, Oingo Boingo, is long gone.

From eastern Ventura County and heading west, here's an opinionated guide to where the groovy ghoulies will congregate. Also, many of the venues will have costume contests, some with cash prizes.

Kids in the Conejo Valley can dance to the classic rock sounds of Up All Night at the Hyatt Westlake Plaza. Down the road in Thousand Oaks at the Lounge Bar & Grill, the "Rockin' Rick" Hunter Band will do the big beat metal thing at the small watering hole in a strip mall near the considerably quieter Civic Arts Plaza.

In the bar basement of the Hungry Hunter, it's rockin' blues from the Preachers. Paul Carol Binkley will play an early acoustic set at Borders Books.

Nowadays, even Moorpark rocks, and that's news. The Platters, despite the fact that there seems to be one version of them in every state, will sing oldies Saturday night at Moorpark Playhouse.

In Simi Valley, Imagine will do their most convincing Beatles tribute show at the Tree House, with classic rock from Plush playing in the smaller front bar. Generation Gap will be at Pineapple Hill Saloon, Ultrasound at Judge Roy Bean's, Hot Wire at Season Ticket and Crazy Cat at Schooner Time.

In Oxnard at A&M's Roadhouse, owner Art Trujillo has solved the booking hassles by booking his own band, the Roadhouse Rockers, several times a week including Halloween. The group does classic rock. Sho Nuff will do more of the same at Jolly's in the shopping center on Ventura Road. Blind Dog will play at Champs. Bobby & Lee will entertain the tourists staying at Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Resort. Down the road at the Shores, Teresa Russell, will rock the neighborhood hangout with a repertoire that must number upward of 500 songs.

Cynthia Manley will play her brand of steamy blues and familiar tunes at Keynote Lounge in Ventura. Down the road at O'Leary's Side Bar, there will be classic rock from Night Train and classic and original rock from Sequoia at Victoria Pub. Even McGinty's Sports Bar will have a rare live band when Johnny Knows No One performs. Comedy collides with folk rock as the American Cheese Band plays the Garden Village Cafe.

At Ventura Harbor, Studebaker Hawk will provide classic rock for the tourists at Alexander's. At Hi Cees, there will be rockin' blues from Blue Stew, a veteran quartet with a new CD, "Destination: The Blues." It's one of the longest-running gigs in Ventura,

In the Pierpont area, the house band at Arvind's Bar & Grill, Rich Geddes & the Mystery Band, will do plenty of classic rock. In midtown Ventura at the Red Cove where pool is still a quarter, it's the Stan'Dup Guys doing classic rock down by the front door.

At Wine Lovers on Thompson Boulevard, it's rockin' blues by Randy Rich & the Ravens. In one of the more bizarre Halloween gigs, consider former Southern Cross guitar player Stuart Orlinsky at the Cafe Coffee Company. It's Saturday morning at 8. Ouch.

One of the better Halloween gigs will be at Bombay Bar & Grill in Ventura. Sound Effect will play dance music for the older, more desperate crowd in the front bar while it'll be raucous original rock from No Regrets in the back Oasis Room. Across the tracks at the Holiday Inn, Jimmy Legs will play lots of songs everyone has heard. At a crowded Nicholby's, where every Saturday is Halloween due to those wildly costumed Atomic Dogs, it's disco and funk music. Dress up for this costume contest: $1,000 goes to the winner.

Blues rules at Cafe Voltaire where Stevie & the Stealers, featuring Texas Guitar Hall of Fame shredder Stevie Davis, will share the bill with the Guy Martin Group. Down the street, it's soulful blues with Ashford Gordon at the Santa Clara House.

Heading toward the Ojai Valley, classic rock rules at Mojo's in Oak View with the Drivematics. Studebaker will play blues at the world-famous Deer Lodge, and Crosscut will churn out some classic rock jams at Calypso's Bar & Grill in Ojai.


Before and After Department: One of the more noteworthy pre-Halloween shows is Friday night at the Santa Barbara County Bowl with Ventura favorites Big Bad Voodoo Daddy doing the swing thing. They've been touring relentlessly with famous rock stars all year supporting their gold debut album, and this is the closest they've been to home in awhile. There are rumors they'll play Nicholby's in Ventura this winter. They should. Owner Nick Taylor booked Voodoo Daddy plenty of times before they hit the big time. Friday's opening gig will be Save Ferris.

If anyone is functional the day after Halloween, Acadiana's first Sunday of the month dance fest at Cafe Voltaire is always worth checking out. Learn Cajun dance, drink beer in the sun, all that stuff. Also on Sunday, Men at Work will resurface for a gig at the Ventura Theatre. At one time in the '80s, this Australian band was selling out the county bowl after such hits as "Down Under" and "Who Can It Be Now?" Opening is the truly trippy Bizarre Gardening Accident.

And finally, Danny Blitz & the Jet Age Hoods didn't play at Cafe Voltaire last weekend, due to equipment problems. They will, however, be at Nicholby's on Nov. 12. Don't miss this one.

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