Halloween Show-lo-ween

Eugene’s Bluphoria tops a broad menu of live music in town for the spooky weekend

One long year after 2020’s quiet pandemic Halloween, a long list of live music and music-related events is returning to mark the Halloweekend in Eugene.

Perhaps most notably, WOW Hall hosts WOW-loween at 8 pm Saturday, Oct. 30, featuring Bluphoria, an indie rock quartet made up primarily of University of Oregon students that recently signed to EDGEOUT Records, a developmental subsidiary to Universal Music. Otherwise, it’s a costume party with a stacked bill of Eugene-based musicians, many of whom came up through the UO house show scene, including Laundry, [glazier] and Fashion Dirt.

Fronted by the remarkably charismatic lead singer Reign La Freniere, Bluphoria’s 2021 single, “Something More,” is available now on most streaming services. It’s a hook-laden, guitar-based indie-rock bop, recalling bands from the last great indie rock revival in the mid-2000s, like The Strokes and Kings of Leon.

In its live performance, prioritizing rock ‘n’ roll showmanship and classic four-piece rock arrangements, the band revives a not-so-long-ago rock era before laptops and DJs. That’s completely by design, according to La Freniere — an attempt to re-energize rock ‘n’ roll for an entirely new generation, he says.

“As a Black man fronting the band, it allows us to put our own spin on it and bring it back from the whitewashed genre that it’s become,” Le Freniere continues, “and fully embrace the art form as we intend it, with our experience.”

He also calls the active UO house show scene unique to Eugene. “I’ve played all over the West Coast, and I haven’t noticed this happening in many other places, which I think makes Eugene a special place.” 

But with the backing of a label and national interest, Bluphoria are shifting their focus away from house shows to Eugene’s larger downtown venues like WOW Hall. 

“Since we are signed, it’s expected we travel, get a van and start touring. We’re dipping our toes in the water,” La Freniere says.

No matter where the band plays, however, it’s about high-energy performance centered around La Freniere’s vintage front-person persona, along the lines of Mick Jagger, Prince or even Jimi Hendrix.

“Something about those people, there’s so much energy, so much soul,” Le Freniere explains. “I come out being honest: ‘I can only make this as great as you guys. ‘I’m going to need you guys to show me some energy so I can show it back to you.’”

But that’s not  all that’s going on around town this Halloween weekend.

Also on Saturday are glam and hard rock-influenced Fireball Sunset and 20th Century Boys performing at 8 pm Sam Bond’s, costumes encouraged. 

Or earlier in the weekend, put together your best Jimi, Janis or Kurt Cobain outfit for The Dead Rockstars Costume Party at Old Nick’s, 9 pm Friday, Oct. 29. Halloween itself sees Denver’s The Motet play funky jam rock at the McDonald Theater, part of the venue’s annual Tokes ‘n’ Treats celebration, 8 pm Sunday, Oct 31. 

Back to Saturday, The Maskerade Ball at Sessions Music Hall is 9 pm Oct. 30, with electronic dance music, dub and indie dance-pop from Solovox, The Graduating Class and DJ Rah.