Lockett Pundt

The first disappointing thing was that no one was wearing a costume. Not in the audience—plenty of good getups there—but onstage. Sure, Broadcast and Atlas Sound were here on tour, and maybe it's hard to get a costume together on the road, but c'mon. You'd think Atlas Sound frontman Bradford Cox would at least put on one of his old dresses or something. But no.

He wasn't entirely without the holiday spirit, though. "Who's got the best costume?" he asked between songs. "Tiger? You're just wearing a striped shirt!"

He spotted a girl dressed up as an apple with a worm poking out of it, asked her onstage, and awarded her free merch after the show for winning the first round of this impromptu costume contest. "That's the best costume I've ever seen."

Beyond the lack of costumes, it turns out that Atlas Sound and Broadcast—while certainly spooky—were kind of a bad match for Halloween. Both bands put on a fine show, but both were pretty subdued, making alternately formless or just mellow music. Even "Walkabout," the poppiest, friendliest thing on Atlas Sound's recent Logos, was played at a somnolent half-speed, despite the band's occasionally energetic dual drummers, in what felt like an obvious missed opportunity to kick things up a bit. The whole set was kind of limp and noodly, and it all sounded like watching a band play in a fish tank (though not always in a bad way). The mood just didn't seem to click with the relatively ramped-up, ready-to-party crowd.

Cox admitted as much with his winking, between-song banter.

After the twangy, junkie-cowboy number "Criminals," Cox joked about switching things up "before we get too Austin City Limits... don't think I don't know."

"Did you think this was gonna be spooky?" he asked. "Me, too, but I can only be myself. I was born spooky, but I've recently become less spooky..."

Cox asked the audience, "Trick or treat?" and provided one of each: a rousing run through the morbid but upbeat "Shelia" and a rendition of Broadcast's "Tears in the Typing Pool," aided by that band's Trish Keenan.

Cox told a story about teaching Kim Deal how to replay one of her own songs, concluding, "We're gonna do 'Cannonball' by the Breeders now—I wish. Just more melancholy bullshit." After which they actually played a winningly ascending jam before ending with the downer "Attic Lights."

Broadcast burned through my goodwill for them with like 30 minutes of ambient noise and spooky sound effects, made slightly interesting by the strobing eyeball mandala projected on a video screen behind them and by the detachment of Keenan's voice from her physical form by way of looping and delay (voices detached from forms = hauntology!). Still, when they finally kicked into the catchy, songlike "Corporeal," with its drum-machine snare crack, bass guitar, and buzzing synths, the screen switching to saturated color for what looked like an endless zoom through a brain's synaptic connections, I was spent. Hearing Truckasauras echoing out of the Havana parking lot as I left made me think I may have missed the better Halloween party, hauntology be damned. recommended