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Spooktacular


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POSTED: Friday, October 30, 2009

Honolulu has been fortunate to get some of the best indie rock bands from the Pacific Northwest to play here this year.

Band of Horses and Modest Mouse did great shows at Pipeline Cafe a couple of months ago, and tomorrow night at the Hallowbaloo Music + Arts Festival downtown, it'll be the debut of Portland, Ore.-based Blitzen Trapper. (And the efforts of any local promoter to bring Fleet Foxes here would be greatly appreciated.)

Front man Eric Earley of the fanciful-named Blitzen Trapper got his songwriting chops from his family. He said by phone last week that his late father “;was into old-time music and played bluegrass banjo, and my two sisters are both writers.”;

Starting as a child, Earley always read a lot.

“;My taste in books is always changing,”; he said. “;I went through a long phase of reading the writings of the beatniks like Jack Kerouac. I also read Kurt Vonnegut and pulp sci-fi fantasy.

“;Right now I'm trying to keep up with what's going on in modern literature, and I'm also reading the poetry of Robert Penn Warren.”;

                       
SECOND ANNUAL HALLOWBALOO MUSIC + ARTS FESTIVAL
        » Where: Downtown Honolulu Arts District
        » When: 5 to 10:30 p.m. tomorrow
        » Cost: Free ($3 festival wristband or $10 nightclub cover necessary to consume alcohol)
        » Info: hallowbaloo.com

Blitzen Trapper gained national recognition last year with the critically acclaimed “;Furr”; album, a well-crafted and tuneful effort that harks back to the earlier work of Bob Dylan and Neil Young. One of its highlights — the dark, fugitive story-song “;Black River Killer”; — is also featured on the band's latest EP, a stopgap collection that also includes other songs that were available only as a CD-R that the band sold during previous tour stops.

“;Black River Killer”; was inspired by Earley meeting his wayward criminal uncle Tommy, the brother of his dad, along with a healthy dollop of Cormac McCarthy's Southern Gothic writing sensibility.

The band is working on their next album, due for release sometime in 2010, and it's no surprise that the singer-songwriter is drawing from another literary reference, this time the Bible.

“;I grew up with it when the family was going to church Sundays. There are parts of it I'm drawn into, like the books of Job and Ecclesiastes, certain works of Paul, and Revelations itself is pretty magnificent.”;

Earley said he has no intention of “;making 'Furr 2.'”;

“;We're moving into sort of a different direction,”; he said. “;In fact, we used a string section on a couple of songs we've already done. I envision each record we make as a separate vision, an empty signifier that we fill out.”;

After tomorrow's street set, some downtime in the islands and finishing up with some Australian gigs, Blitzen Trapper plans to take about a half-year off from the road, and to finish up the album.

“;We spent that last two years constantly touring,”; Earley said. “;In fact, 'Furr' was made between tours. ... Touring can be pretty tough, regardless of how good the conditions are. If you do it enough, you go crazy. It's not a natural life.

“;Luckily, we've taken to it as well as we could. We're still friends. There's no heroin and dying involved here.”;

On the Net:
» www.blitzentrapper.net

HALLOWBALOO STREET FESTIVAL SCHEDULE:
Loloweeny Stage at Nuuanu and Pauahi:
» 5 p.m.: Ferris Bueller Band
» 6 p.m.: Painted Highways
» 7 p.m.: Blitzen Trapper
» 8:45 p.m.: All the Apparatus (formerly Haberdashery)

Grandest Spectacle Stage at Hotel and Bethel:
» 6:30 p.m.: Doolin Rakes
» 8 p.m.: Cherry Blossom Cabaret
» 8:30 p.m.: From New Orleans, singer-guitarist Anders Osborne and Kirk Joseph, founding member of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band

Nuboo Stage at Nuuanu and King:
>> 6 p.m.: Ernie Cruz Jr.
» 7:15 p.m.: Johnny Helm
» 8:30 p.m.: Costume contest
» 9 p.m.: Dub Phylum

Mercury Stage at Chaplain Lane and Fort Street Mall
» 6 p.m.: Tiki Taboo
» 7:30 p.m.: Kings of Spade
>> 9 p.m.: Black Square

Dance Cauldron on Hotel, between Nuuanu and Smith (with mechanical bull rides)
» 6 p.m.: DJ Logoe
» 7 p.m.: DJ Sovern-T
» 8:30 p.m.: DJ Compose
» 9 p.m.: DJ ESKAE

Hallowbaloo Club Crawl Lineup:
» SoHo Mixed Media Bar, 80 S. Pauahi St. (from 10 p.m.): Kitty Lee, the Deadbeats, 45 Revolver, Ross Jackson and Girlfriends
» Loft Gallery Lounge, 115 N. Hotel St. (from 10:30 p.m.): Clones of the Queen, DJ Mr. Nick, Cherry Blossom Cabaret and Ursula 1000
» NextDoor, 43 N. Hotel St. (from 9 p.m.): Hot Muffins and DJ Benzi
» Bar 35, 35 N. Hotel St. (from 10 p.m.): DJs Cookiehead Jenkins and Kitty Lee, plus a costume contest
» The Manifest, 32 N. Hotel St. (from 6 p.m.): KTUH-FM DJs Capt'n D and Marbles, DJ Mr. Nick, The Professa and DJ Toki
» Indigo, 1121 Nuuanu Ave. (from 10:30 p.m.): Ursala 1000, DJ Logoe, @ESKAE and Family Dinner
» Mercury Bar, 1154 Fort Street Mall (from 11 p.m.): All the Apparatus (formerly Haberdashery) and DJ Sovern-T