It's Halloween weekend, and anyone and everyone who knows squat about the CS music scene knows that means Mike Stephens, our very own "Great Pumpkin" of rock 'n roll, will probably pull something sweet out of his bag o' tricks. This year, after scaring us with threats of an early retirement, he has truly outdone himself, organizing, for the first time ever, a three-show tour de force starring Tramps Like Us, his eight-member tribute to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.

So, here are the facts, Jack. Mike ("Born in the U.S.A.") Stephens will lead an all-star cast of rock imposters that includes Ed Johnson (of the Music Exchange, this writer's pick for Best Guit Store in town), Aaron Retka (of Great Redneck Hope fame and Newspeak notoriety) on piano, Brian Eastin (Tango Red Tapestry) on organ, Mike Mendenall on bass, Ed Liptak (the Channel Cats) on sax-a-mo-phone, Kevin Johnson (COPPeR) on the skins, and Kris Scheaffer providing backup vocals.

And if that weren't enough to get your motor revved, on "tour" with Bruce and Co. will be just what you needed: El Toro de la Muerte (i.e. Jeff Fuller, Julian Dumont, Ryan Spradlin, Mike Nipp and Jay Schwan) performing the hits of the Cars. Now, if you were lucky enough to catch last year's mock-o-rama, with Stephens as Tom Petty and Toro as the Cure, you know this will be one of the better parties of the year. But this year, you have options: Friday, Oct. 30, at the Triple Nickel; the traditional Halloween night at Jack Quinn's; and a special encore at McCabe's on Nov. 13, once all the hype has died down. Sorry kids, consenting adults only.

Of course, that isn't the only party in town as, I am pleased to report, the following Halloween events are equally worthy of your attention.

Union Station will haunt its house with three-time Indy Best Local Original Band winners Sanguine Addiction, along with special guests Body Cast, the Shift Below, KHRINJ, Feral Blue and Krash Karma.

The Black Sheep, meanwhile, hosts ZombieFest '09 with Alabaster Morgue, Inelements, Malakai, Kastigation and Signatures. And there's metal in the blood over at the newly christened Music Street Tavern (204 N. Union Blvd.), with a bash featuring Tribes of Asher, Audioflux and Vital Malice.

It's a ghouls' night out at the Rocket Room as well. You'll get the newly formed powerhouse of thrash, Decay, complete with local metal veterans Hellstrum and Severs. The club is also hosting a classic '50s style Zombie Hop the previous evening, Friday, Oct. 30, with the Tomcat Miller Show and a special set from Zombie Elvis (aka Chris Winters)!

Of course, if all the death, and metal, and death metal, isn't your thing, there are still plenty of other ways for you to get your spook on. The Haunted Windchimes and the Jack Trades will be creeping up the Triple Nickel Tavern. Cool for Cats will be at Rico's at Poor Richard's, with singer and guitarist Nick Davey reporting, "No need to dress up or down, though you may find us looking a bit weird and wailing a couple of graveyard classics."

Beware, take care, pull the string!

Send news, pix and the big green dragon that sits on your doorstep to adam@csindy.com.


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