Words and Photos by Adrian Gandara
“You guys are allowed to shake your ass, even though it’s Halloween and you’re supposed to act all Gothic and shit.”
The crowd was just starting to let loose when frontman Jesse Vain of the Happy Hour Holiness Movement told them to loosen up. That night some waited seven hours out at Wolfshield Ranch in South Austin to see the legendary Roky Erickson play. His third annual Celebration of a Family Curse was put on as a family event: candy, pumpkins, a haunted forest and four bands leading up to Erickson performing The Evil One, his 1981 rock ‘n’ roll album about zombies, vampires and two-headed dogs.
Newcomers Dark Palaces opened at sunset. Undead roots rock and folk band Tennessee Stiffs brought the theatrics in their songs and in their ghostly white makeup. The Happy Hour Holiness Movement was a Grand Ole Opry-sized set, with a trio of backing singers, organ and in the end a reverbed harmonica blasting into the night.
The Hounds of Baskerville gave a driving terrifying set before going on to back Roky Erickson. The audience crowded the stage, danced, cheered, called out, sang along. There may have been a hundred bands playing in Austin on Saturday, but that night there couldn’t have been a more adoring fanbase than the locals that came out to hear the 69-year-old icon.
When Erikson finally left the stage, the Dead Music Capital Band marching band paraded up and off, strolling and leading the crowd down into the woods of Wolfshield Ranch.