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“Halloween is just like any other day for us,” said one member of the Sun Ra Arkestra during their All Saints’ Eve performance on Friday night. The band, led by Marshall Allen (pictured above and interviewed on Arts Desk here), varies in size but last Friday featured 18 full-time members plus a few guests, all of whom indeed seemed more than comfortable sitting on stage in full glittery regalia. They looked “ready for space travel at any moment,” as MC Thomas Stanley put it, playing the music of Sun Ra on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The “cosmic costume spectacle and concert” featured reliably wonderful, out-there music, though at this point the Arkestra sounds weird more because of the mysticism and bleep-bloop electronics than because they’re particularly skronky in a modern free-jazz kind of way. But it was a feast for the eyes as well as the ears, with vintage footage of Sun Ra playing on a screen in the background, a costume contest to kick off the evening, and seemingly random fashion-show parades interspersed into the performances. As far as Halloween concerts go, this one felt most appropriate to the occasion.
Check out 32 photos in the full slideshow.