Live, or Dead: The 10th annual TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb Halloween Murdershow

As an adolescent in Philadelphia, Mischief Night and Halloween didn’t really signify costumes and candy. That didn’t cut it. For me, those twin terror towers of fright always meant live concerts: between here and NYC for Frank Zappa as a kid, later on, events with The Cramps and their local spook house rockabilly affiliates, The Sic Kidz. I wanted to be out among the witches and ghouls, but I also wanted to be raving.

TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb’s Halloween Costume Ball and Murdershow has been providing those very scary thrills for the last decade in Philly at various venues around town.

Lead by howler-poet Dan Bruskewicz, Philly’s raucous TJ Kong makes messy music that’s aptly named when one considers their band moniker’s second half. A primal screaming sonic boom with thudding drums and screeching guitars, the quintet (and guests) has made a handful of this city’s most audacious recordings, including their last effort, Dancing Out the Door.

For the 10th anniversary of their version of the Halloween ball, the TJ crew – with rocking Ali Awan and Port Richmond’s Aerosmith cover giants, AEROMINGOSMITH featuring the wild vocal stylings of Ali Wadsworth as their guests – its 2019 iteration, at Johnny Brenda’s is part dress-up ball-turned-séance- turned gooey, messy bloodbath. (Think the bucket scene from Carrie with guys with beards) with a big hint of Rosemary’s Baby in the mix.

Now, do the Monster Mash.

PS, for the Zappa freak on you (or really, me), for the first time ever, Zappa’s complete Halloween shows recorded on October 31, 1973, in Chicago, are available now, via Zappa Records/UMe, just in time for Halloween. “These completely unreleased live recordings total more than four and a half hours and feature songs from across his prolific catalog, including his then just-released 1973 album Over-Nite Sensation and forthcoming 1974 record Apostrophe(‘), as well as early arrangements of compositions like “Penguin In Bondage,” “Dickie’s Such An Asshole” and “Village Of The Sun” that would appear on later studio and live albums. Continuing the Halloween series that the Zappa Family Trust began in 2017 with the acclaimed Halloween 77 releases, Halloween 73 is available as a specially designed, limited run four-disc costume box complete with a FRANKenZAPPA mask and gloves, housed in a display-worthy box.”

Check www.zappa.com for more info.

Images: Elizabeth Thorpe

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