Two of South Shore’s most beloved party bands had the American Legion thumping on Saturday night, when Strange Weather joined Groovebox Jam Unit for the latter’s annual Halloween bash.
Sold out for the fourth year in a row, the party was packed, featuring a variety of wild costumes and fun-loving music fans in what appeared to be the biggest turnout the event has seen yet.
“That was like the biggest show they’ve done,” fan Dylan Warren said, who has attended the last several years. “The whole upstairs was packed, it was a good time.
“The costumes were awesome, lot of onesies, creative, random; people looking lost, but that’s Halloween.”
Strange Weather brought out the kilts for this one, rocking a Braveheart themed group costume that jived nicely with the lengthy manes of most of its members.
“Sweaty long-haired kilt men, bringing the energy,” Warren said.
“We kind of did the group costume thing,” Strange Weather and Groovebox drummer Jon Gardner said. “George, the bartender from California Burger Company, and a million other places, has a collection of kilts, he had four extra.”
The only Strange Weather member to wear his hair short, Gardner had to improvise.
“I had to rock a wig, all they had was a heavy metal wig,” he said with a laugh. “From the face down I looked like Braveheart, and then from the hair up I looked like Motley Crue. I pretty much just waited until it got too hot and then took it off.”
The drummer has a newfound respect for his band mates’ commitment to playing hard with long hair, he said.
Strange Weather front man Vinny Berry further captured the spirit of the classic Mel Gibson film with repeated cries of ‘They can take our lives but they can never take our freedom,’ a cry which was taken up by audience members with great gusto.
Guitarist Johnny “Chili” Munroe had considered smashing a guitar onstage again, but he and Gardner ruled that out, out of respect for the American Legion’s vintage architecture.
“We were looking at like, where would you smash a guitar around here?” Gardner said. “No matter where you do it, you’re gonna go through the floor, you’re gonna go through the stage, so we decided not to.”
Groovebox closed out the evening with an upbeat, rocking set to follow Strange Weather’s high energy start to the night.
“It was really good, I feel like since Strange Weather opened up, they set the tone as this is a little more of a rock and roll show than a jam show,” Gardner said. “They’re two very different bands but it was cool that they could share a kind of similar audience.”
Gardner also enjoyed the opportunity for the members of his two bands to hang out during the evening, although a number of commitments the next morning had numerous members calling it a night early.
“It’s an awesome dynamic, everybody gets along together really well,” Gardner said. “I’d be out looking for my bandmates from Strange Weather, and finally find then talking to somebody from Groovebox.”