Hollywood Gothique
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Halloween 2014: Murder Ballads and Dark Songs Night

Location: Echoplex, 1822 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles

Link out: Click here

Date: October 28 at 7pm

Description: The New L.A. Folkfest returns with its annual Halloween tradition: the 5th Annual Murder Ballads and Dark Songs Night. A gamut of performers will sing tales both new and old of bloodshed, death, and murder.

The show is for ages 18-and-over.. Tickets are $9-11.

Get more info from the press release:

To celebrate our Halloween tradition, we turn the Echoplex into a theater. It’s a seated event. We decorate the stage and performers share their favorite songs about killers, death, murderous betrayal, and doom.

This year’s lineup will be announced soon.

Songs will cover the gamut from centuries-old ballads to more contemporary tunes. (Don’t be surprised to hear some Neil Young or Led Zeppelin alongside Mississippi John Hurt, Dick Justice, and Lead Belly)

In the meantime, please enjoy….


Murder and music have gone together for a long time. The murder ballad originated as a way to carry stories of true crime from one place to another hundreds of years ago. The songs served to spread the news, entertain licentious listeners and provide a moral lesson. Perhaps something like, never go to the river with someone you’ve betrayed or don’t cheat on your lover, they might kill you dead. Over time, the songs spread across Europe and eventually made their way to America. They became a staple of backwoods drinkeries, front porches, and among field workers and social gatherings across the country. Songwriters began penning new tunes about contemporary cold-blooded murders and notorious crimes of passion, elevating wanted criminals to mythic heros.

Fast forward to the 20th century, the murder ballad “Tom Dooley” is considered one of the songs that helped launch the folk revival of the 1950s & 60s when The Kingston Trio recorded it in 1957. “Tom Dooley” reacquainted Americans with the song tradition that arrived here with early settlers hundreds of years before.

Notably, the original murder ballads spawned a range of different versions and elaborations as they spread from one place to another. Though the essential story remains, a little imagination took the place of pure fact.

Let’s face it, we find murder and bloodshed fascinating. Always have, always will. Even today, we continue writing and singing songs that indulge the darker side of human impulses. Although most of us feel guilty about killing flies let alone harming another human being….the themes of love, hate, betrayal, and jealousy—and the irrational deeds fueled by these emotions—will always resonate with us.


suggested attire: dark/nice like you’re attending a funeral/dance