By Monique Winkler
Walking down Vesta Street, you follow the sound of music pounding against the walls to find the small building that reads “Holland.” It looks run-down and out of business but, after turning the corner, you see orange string lights draped around the small parking lot and ghoulish specimens going in and out of the entrance.
Those dressed in costume paid $3 to get in while those who didn’t get the memo paid $5. Walking into the basement-sized room, you sift through witches, fairies, rockers, zombies and ghouls, Santas and even those disguised as humans.
Plastic bats hang from the ceiling with orange and black streamers decorating the thin, wooden roof supports. Fake spider webs and orange lights decorate the stage. The vibrations of the music bounce off of one wall to the other. The drums, guitar and deeper vocals hum through your body, while higher-pitched vocals clang off a high-hat and screeching guitar notes pierce your ears.
This is the Holland Project’s annual “Halloween Show!”
A variety of local bands impersonated popular bands, including No Doubt, The Runaways and Michael Jackson as they performed some of their iconic hits.
There was a wide variety of music played; all of rock’s subgenres were touched on. Anyone who walked in on Saturday would have discovered a new band to add to their current playlist.
A standout on Saturday was the spontaneous collaboration between the bands Ghost Friends and City Wolves. Ghost Friends creates original music and has played five shows since forming in May. Since they have been playing together, they have been able to define their sound and discover muses that work well within their desired subject matter.
“[We just love] feeling it, living it and doing it,” said Chris Monzon, guitarist and vocalist of Ghost Friends. “When it comes to music, or any art, just do it and try to be yourself.”
Some bands were muted, while others went for shock value. Crush played shirtless, Ghost Friends played in wigs and others dressed up as the artists they were covering. Some bands played on stage with traditional rock band instruments, while others played acoustic, using a suitcase for a drum, and rapping Odd World lyrics with the song playing in the background.
Local gigs are different from stadium concerts, but the Holland Project’s “Halloween Show!” was an entertaining compilation of local bands masquerading as some of the most iconic bands in memory.
The “Halloween Show!” sets an example for all other local music shows; all bands are welcome to perform and the audience is supportive. The small venue creates a very close and personal atmosphere.
Many will recognize at least two faces in the crowd and the costumes add personality to the event. This friendly, community-based environment is what makes the Holland Project unique from other venues and what makes their annual “Halloween Show!” the best in Reno.
Monique Winkler can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.