It's been common knowledge in music circles since last July that Runaways drummer Sandy West had been valiantly fighting an incredibly difficult battle with both lung cancer and a brain tumor. Sadly, West passed away Saturday, October 21, at the heartbreakingly young age of 46. Former band mate and longtime friend Joan Jett issued the following statement via the Runaways' official website: "I started the Runaways with Sandy West. We shared the dream of girls playing rock and roll. Sandy was an exuberant and powerful drummer. So underrated, she was the caliber of John Bonham. I am overcome from the loss of my friend. I always told her, we changed the world." This is indeed terribly sad news for the friends and family of West, as well as the countless young musicians who were inspired by that band's legacy. It makes me even more grateful that the opportunity to see Jett still exists, so I strongly suggest making time to catch her with the Eagles of Death Metal at the Showbox Wednesday, November 1.

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Halloween and rock 'n' roll are natural bedfellows, so it comes as no surprise that this week brings a wide array of entertainment options for people who prefer to mix the macabre with the musical. My pick for the most perfect pairing is the Bad Things, a band of lovable, local loonies who have garnered themselves a slavish cult following, thanks to their wickedly weird, devious carnival soundtrack. Working with the intriguing, antiquated ingredients of traditional klezmer music, Appalachian balladry, and a strong streak of Gypsy-folk and Mexican influences, the Bad Things are both charming and creepy. If your idea of a good time includes ghostly accordion playin', German clowns, diminutive deviants offering disquieting spoken-word interludes, aerialists, a darkly beautiful siren leading you astray, or just a general sense of old-world rapture colliding with modern punk sensibilities, then the Bad Things will leave you delighted. You have two opportunities to catch them: Thursday, October 26, they'll be at the Funhouse with the Wages of Sin, and on Tuesday (Halloween proper) at Jules Maes Saloon in Georgetown.

Budget-conscious horror fans should stop in at the Sunset on Monday, October 30, for screenings of Italian zombie classics like Nightmare City (6 pm) Burial Ground (7:30 pm), and Zombie (9 pm). The evening is sponsored by the good folks at Kung Fu Grindhouse and is absolutely free. Should you prefer to celebrate in the company of reliably rambunctious old-school punks, you'll want to head to the High Dive on Tuesday, October 31, for the Hollowpoints and Old Man Smithers. Given the blur of bodies that generally make up the crowd at their shows, fake blood may not be necessary.

In local label news, as previously reported in this paper and on Line Out, Light in the Attic Records recently signed resident hiphop heroes the Saturday Knights, a shrewd move, given the Knights' broad appeal and invariably entertaining live presence. Label co-owner Matt Sullivan tells me that the group is actually recording at Soundhouse Studios in Ballard now, with producers DJ Suspence, Brian Weber, and Shel Talmy. An EP is scheduled for release in early 2007, with a full-length debut slated for later that year.

I'd be very happy if just one week could go by when I didn't feel obliged to report more bad news about how gentrification is negatively impacting our local club scene, but it's important to note that the building housing both blue-collar punk stomping ground the Lobo Inn and catch-all dance-night venue Lo_Fi is on the market. Lo_Fi proprietor/booking agent Michael Leone told me that three previous offers on the building have not gone through, but that another one is currently in the works. "If the building sells, then I will be in touch with the new owners to see what their plan is for the building," says Leone. "Either they [will] keep the building as is and rent it for who knows how long, or they'll demolish [it] for a lovely condo. Even if they decide to demolish, that takes some time, and they still probably will want some income coming in... I am in the dark and waiting to see what unfolds." Both of those venues provide essential space for artists working outside the margins; let's all keep our fingers crossed that they are spared.

hlevin@thestranger.com