With The Sam Chase & The Untraditional leading the way, The Chapel celebrates Halloween in style

The Candy Butchers Bash - The Sham Chase & The Untraditional

The Sam Chase & The Untraditional

By Tom Dellinger //

The Candy Butchers Bash featuring The Sam Chase & The Untraditional, Royal Jelly Jive, The Crux and special guests Mission Delirium //
The Chapel – San Francisco
October 31st, 2015 //

Halloween just came and went this past Saturday night. The weather was perfect as the streets of SF filled early with trick-or-treating kids as well as those out to celebrate the night with some big-kid entertainment. All across the Bay Area, there were many parties and shows to get that itch scratched. One of the best was The Candy Butchers Bash, a sold-out show at The Chapel that featured The Sam Chase & The Untraditional, Royal Jelly Jive and The Crux, along with special guests Mission Delirium and a number of talented aerialists to give it that something extra that made it one of the more unique shows in Northern California.

Decked out for that All Hallows’ Eve vibe, the venue’s stage was decorated with pumpkins and strands of light bulbs over it gave the room a carnival-like feel. Royal Jelly Jive vocalist Lauren Bjelde and The Crux vocalist Josh Windmiller pulled that off together and did a fine job of decorating The Chapel properly. By the time The Crux hit the stage first, most of the crowd was on hand, dressed in costumes and ready to have a good time.

The Candy Butchers Bash - The Crux

The Crux

Opening the show was the Santa Rosa-based band consisting of Josh Windmiller (vocals, guitar), Joshua Jackson (bass), Kalei Yamanoha (trumpet, accordion) and Taylor Cuffie (drums). With a style they refer to as “folk punk”, The Crux have a stripped-down, rough sound that felt like a mix of Tom Waits and Kurt Weill with a vaudevillian vibe. Windmiller is no doubt an engaging performer, as his persona and rough vocals easily connected with the Halloween audience. After a few tunes into the band’s set, he was joined by aerialist Sierra Faulkner, who performed using silk fabric as she effortlessly twisted and turned her way up the strands above the crowd to perform numerous maneuvers. Graceful, stylistic and with a bit of danger, she added fuel to the fire as the evening continued to warm up.

During the ensuing set break, brass band Mission Delirium came out into the crowd, lined up at the front of the stage and proceeded to keep the energy high as they playfully ripped through some funky tunes with blasting trombones, tuba and drums. The crowd loved it as many audience members laughed and danced with the band, signaling that the festive party and carnival vibe was in full swing at this point.

The Candy Butchers Bash - Royal Jelly Jive

Royal Jelly Jive

Keeping the momentum going, Royal Jelly Jive hit with another one of their explosive sets. Foot stomping and swinging, they lit up the place as Bjelde tore into the band’s catalog with a fervor. With irresistibly rich grooves from the rhythm section of Felix Macnee (drums) and Tyden Binsted (bass), Bjelde and the band touched upon many of their best tunes, including “Indian George” and “Pterygophora”, both of which continued to elevate the crowd’s energy. Rich songs and compositions are the norm for this dynamic up-and-coming band, which also offers enchanting vocals from Bjelde, wide-ranging keyboard styles and sounds from Jesse Lemme Adams and an enviable, articulate horn section comprised of Robbie Elfman, Luke Zavala and Danny Cao. Also joining the band was aerialist Caroline Dignes, who performed on a hoop high above the crowd. Elegant and visually riveting, she continued to add to the carnival theme of the night.

After more shenanigans from Mission Delirium, headliner The Sam Chase & The Untraditional hit the stage with style. Introducing the band beforehand was a pair of twins with a creep factor reminiscent of those in “The Shining”, as they invited the house to enjoy The Sam Chase forever and ever … and ever. With drummer Ted Desmarais dressed as Igor from the 1974 comedy film “Young Frankenstein”, he entered the stage bent over with a massive hump (“what hump?”), and one by one, he physically moved, pushed and cajoled each member of the band to their place on the stage. The band members appeared to be in a zombie-like state as Desmarais positioned them and patiently placed instruments in their hands. It was a fine little piece of theater before the band would explode with the final entrée of the night.

The Candy Butchers Bash - The Sham Chase & The Untraditional

The Sam Chase & The Untraditional

Though The Sam Chase & The Untraditional describe their music as “kick-ass folk” on their Facebook page, they are that and more. Many of Chase’s songs are rowdy and delivered with a weather-beaten, whiskey-colored vocal style as he and the band rolled through their catalog. It’s not surprising they’ve become a favorite among SF bands. Their songs are well-crafted — much like an artisan cocktail — and delivered with a precision that stands in contrast to Chase’s seemingly reckless, almost drunken delivery style.

For The Sam Chase & The Untraditional’s set on Saturday night, we were treated to a ride that was at times bombastic and exhilarating but also included the occasional easygoing folk tune. Chase has a tight band behind him between the aforementioned Desmarais, Dave Rapa (bass), Joshua James Jackson (trumpet), Debbie Neigher (keyboards), Devon McClive (cello) and Nikko Rios (guitar), and they all lit into the music with an infectious energy that they sustained to the very end. During the performance, we saw the return of Dignes and Faulkner to perform on the hoop together. In costume as zombies, these two aerialists were dramatic as they went through their routine, adding both elegance and a sense of danger by pushing the envelope of possibilities, all while the crowd roared with delight.

Reminiscent of the Great American Spirit Ball headlined by Royal Jelly Jive back in July (read our review of the show here), The Candy Butchers Bash has the potential to become another highly sought-after, recurring show in SF. Unique in presentation, both events delivered some of the most memorable performances I have experienced in some time. And for those who found themselves at The Chapel on Saturday night, we all know we experienced some of the very best that the Bay Area music scene has to offer right now.

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