Two benefits of note, both being held tonight, All Hallow's Eve. Screamfest '96, hosted by Bitter Crop Productions at Rose's Bar & Music Lounge, features a three-act bill including local funk whiz Raw B Jae (in his last Rose's gig before he takes off for possibly greener pastures in New York City) and Afro-Cuban rock innovators Khadir and Pepe Alva y Alma Raymi. The 10:00 p.m. show sports a five-dollar cover; proceeds from the affair will benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of South Florida, Inc. You'll find Rose's at 754 Washington Ave. on South Beach; call Bitter Crop at 270-8500 if you need to know more.
The second fundraiser -- spearheaded by the post-punk noisemakers in Kreamy 'Lectric Santa -- is at Churchill's Hideaway. Seven bands will be performing a memorial to Forrest Hay, the late leader of the Spades, a rockabilly-cum-punk group with whom KLS had played several times, both near (in Miami, at last year's Calle Punko festival) and afar (well, afar as in Chattanooga). In addition to KLS, groups participating include the Gargirls, Machete, the Feebles, the Funyons, Monostat 7, and the Laundry Room Squelchers.
Money raised will go toward the release of an EP the Spades were working on before Hay's drug-related death. A similar benefit was held recently in Chattanooga that generated about $250; organizers here are hoping to match that figure to cover the pressing and mastering costs of the record (roughly $500). Admission is by donation, so pay whatever you can. Three or four dollars, though, would be nice. Churchill's is located at 5501 NE Second Ave. in beautiful Little Haiti.
Speaking of Churchill's, the club will be the site of the South Florida debut of the Irving Klaw Trio, a wonderfully whacked-out arty kind of weirdo rock quartet (yes, a quartet) from Olympia, Washington, with a fine self-titled CD and some cassettes on Shrimper and Union Pole. They're performing with opening act Harry Pussy on Tuesday, November 5 (three dollars, 10:00 p.m.). A rare opportunity to sample some bent noise from the opposite end of the country.
Since I heard an advance tape of it sometime in September, I've been obsessing pretty hard over the twelve-song debut by Fay Wray, a mostly local pop-coated punk band consisting of ex-members of bands such as Cell 63, Quit, and Jobbernowl. (The band's singer, Jeff London, lives in Gainesville.) After something of a minor delay, it looks like the CD is finally coming out -- sometime in early November, to be as precise as possible, on the Blindspot label, based in Gainesville. It's a hell of an album, a roaring assemblage of tight-fisted ravers that run the punk-rock gamut from the sublimely silly ("Baywatch") to the simply sublime ("Father to Son," an instant classic I babbled about in this very space many months ago upon first hearing the band's ace demo tape).
You can sample this band's brilliance tonight -- yet another Halloween show, although not a benefit -- at Tobacco Road, where Fay Wray and assorted other bands will be opening for the Gotohells. The club is located at 626 S. Miami Ave.; call 'em if you want at 374-1198. Cover charge is five bucks.
Two other local shows of note, both on Saturday, November 2 -- one in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the other in downtown Miami, so you'll most likely have to take your pick between them.
The Miami event is a six-hour Haitian blowout dubbed, appropriately enough, Rasin '96. The annual event, from 4:00 to 10:00 p.m. at the Bayfront Park Amphitheatre, features the three kingpins of the country's rhythmically and politically charged roots scene: Kanpech, Boukan Ginen, and Boukman Eksperyans. The Miami dance troupe Sosyete Koukouye is also on the bill. Tickets range from $5 to $15. Call 751-3740 for more information.
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If that doesn't thump your pumpkin, maybe Corey Harris will do the job. He's among the zillions of fine acts slated for the three-day Riverwalk Blues Festival in Fort Lauderdale, running Friday through Sunday, November 1-3. Harris, who's playing on Saturday, ranks alongside Alvin Youngblood-Hart and Keb' Mo' as a great purveyor of Delta-based acoustic blues. Between Midnight and Day, his debut album for the Chicago-based Alligator label, is one of the finest blues albums of the year -- a stark, gripping collection of reworked old verities ("It Hurts Me Too") and hard-scrabble originals ("Bound to Miss Me"), all built around his amazing slide work and robust, impassioned vocals.
Tickets for the festival range from five to ten dollars. Shows on Saturday begin at 11:30 a.m. If you want to know more, call 954-761-5934.
If you opt for Harris but still have a Haitian jones, you could always swing by Tap Tap restaurant, 819 Fifth St. in Miami Beach, for their third annual Gede celebration. Dancers and various local and Haitian musicians will be gathering here for the holiday, which you could describe in a roundabout way as Haiti's answer to Halloween. There's no cover charge, and the madness should commence sometime after 9:00 p.m. Call Tap Tap at 672-2898.
-- By John Floyd