Something special happened in Oakland last April: the Starline Social Club officially opened its doors to the public. This century old community space is again a vibrant venue ready to nurture the community that many long time Oakland residents are working hard to preserve.
Long story short, Halloween New Years was a tradition started years ago at Lobot Gallery.
It’s basically just Halloween except you count down to midnight and then drop a big pumpkin filled with candy from the ceiling. The more fun aspect of the tradition is the music curation. Local bands pick their “costume’ and learn a short set of covers.
The night started with Saything blazing through classic Nirvana tunes. Winston Goertz-Giffen’s edgy rasp and biting guitar were the perfect way to kick things off. They sounded impressively like Nirvana.
Up next, members of Extra Classic and Outer Embassy started the dance party with energetic versions of South Bronx proto disco dance-punks, ESG. Extra Classic singer, Dri Delanda, fronted the group exceptionally, stirring up the growing crowd with her infectious stage presence and deft conga playing.
The Lovemakers turned up the heat with their favorite hits by The Cure and then as the night was about to peak, the Prince cover band, Purple Heart, delivered the dance to the midnight hour.
One of my all time favorite Oakland groups, Go Dark, finished out the night. This hi-energy electro duo (Adam Drucker (Doseone), Ashley Gallegos) played their hearts out to a full house as we reached the witching hour. It was their EP release show and they were clearly prepared. Their frenetic beats and amazing onstage energy were elevated even further by the spectacular light show put on by Starline’s own Luke Judd. Finally, Djinti kept things moving until it was time to wind down and imagine how awesome the next Halloween New Year will be.
In addition to having one of the best bars anywhere, the upstairs ballroom where this event took place is quickly becoming the place to play for bands from around the world. They’ve already hosted Vetiver, the Allah-Las, Little Wings, Mudhoney, The Mattson 2, a Hannibal Buress stand up show and much more.
Full disclosure: Graham LeBron is a DJ, writer, and musician. He plays drums and sings in Outer Embassy, curates the Drops of Gold music site, and spends a lot of time at Starline Social Club.