Your Calendar For Halloween: Free, Affordable, And Informal Live Music Events Around The East Bay

Vince Martellacci
Go costume-less or fully decked out to these eventsDaniel Lincoln

Halloween is a time of year that different age groups associate with only themselves. Kids trick or treat, college students go out all night, young parents carve pumpkins with their children. Look at all those activities together and you’ll see that Halloween is for everyone. But what do you do if you don’t fit neatly into those age groups? What if you want to go somewhere not too Halloween-ish with no costume requirement? You can always go see live music, especially in the bay area. Read on for a tour through bay area live music leading up to Halloween.

To start, there is no shortage of live events at small venues, restaurants, and bars all around the east bay, from Richmond to Fremont. Smaller bands and larger independent groups will take over, playing your indie soundtrack for Spooky Season. Four Year Strong, a mainstay around the bay area pop-punk scene for about two decades now, will play at Cornerstone Craft Beer And Live Music on Shattuck in Berkeley on October 26. Doors are at 6pm. The show is all ages in case you want to kick trick-or-treating up a notch.

Do you want to stick to small spaces and small bands and performers? Check out the grand finale of Richmond’s Spring-Fall concert series at Point San Pablo Harbor. The “Live on The Waterfront” outdoor concert series will feature a very different kind of band. The jazz-y tribute band Grateful Brass “reimagines the iconic music of the Grateful Dead as brass, drums & vocal instrumentation, with the ebullient spirit of New Orleans second line, as well as Balkan, Afrobeat, & Afro-Cuban traditions.”

Want something even less formal? Belt some tunes in Walnut Creek, maybe with your own band backing you at Retro Junkie. The weekly karaoke event allows you to karaoke your voice, but also other instruments each Thursday. The event is free. They are also offering a Halloween movie series and you can still catch Hocus Pocus on the same night in their heated outdoor beer garden. Check out their long list of events going on all year.

The Roundup Saloon in Lafayette also features weekly live music and will keep it up for Halloween. There is no cover charge. The ubiquitous Smith’s Landing in Antioch will feature the funk-soul-jazz infused Project 4 Band on Octobre 28. For something Halloween-centric and unique to the holiday, Gaucho Brazilian Steakhouse ‘n Nightclub (Gaucho Nightclub) is hosting their “Halloween Bash” with live music.

Finally, if you’re a live music diehard looking for a large event, the bay never disappoints. The big live music news is the Second Sky Music Festival at the Oakland Arena on October 29. Porter Robinson will headline with support from RL Grime and Hudson Mohawke, among many others. It’s fun for anyone under 21, with the age limit set at a manageable eighteen. It’s a great place for any college-aged person looking to explore the live and electronic music scenes in the bay area. There will even be a special appearance by Skrillex. You can still buy tickets, starting at $159.

All ticket prices range from free - $30+, with an exception for Second Sky, which ranges from $160-$600.

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I've covered stories of unknown immigrants from places like Cambodia, been an opinion editor and opinion blog writer, managed blogs for my own businesses & for other brands. I'm looking forward to getting back to more classical journalism.

Walnut Creek, CA

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