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riot fest 2017, gwar
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

The best Halloween concerts in NYC

Plan an exciting night out in New York City with one of our favorite ghoulish Halloween shows and concerts

By Ro S and Andrew Frisicano
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No matter how macabre your taste, you’re sure to find something spooktacular this season with our list of phantabulous Halloween entertainment. Put on our playlist of the best Halloween songs while you plan your weekend with our guide to the best shows and concerts in NYC. And if you're looking for some more late-night fun, be sure to check out our list of the best Halloween parties in NYC!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Halloween in NYC

Best Halloween concerts in NYC

GWAR
Photograph: Larry Marano/REX/Shutterstock

GWAR

Music Punk and metal

The legendary shock-rock outfit returns for its annual Halloween throwdown. With a quarter-century and fourteen studio albums under its belt, the grotesquely costumed band and its giddy Grand Guignol theatrics remain one of the most hilariously over-the-top rock experiences on the planet. Bring a raincoat.

Gorilla Toss
Photograph: Courtesy the artist

DFA Halloween

Music Rock and indie

The local dance-music label throws this rager with a lineup sweeter than a bag full of candy: Bop to post-punk outfit Guerilla Toss, synthy enigma George Clanton, outré street-band What Cheer? Brigade and skilled DJs Juan MacLean and stud1nt.

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Soul Clap & Dance-Off
Photograph: Filip Wolak

13th Annual New York Night Train Haunted Hop

Nightlife Nightlife

Mr. Jonathan Toubin celebrates thirteen lucky years of the annual haunted hop edition of his rock & roll party machine, New York Night Train. Here Toubin is fittingly joined by 13th Floor Elevators frontman Roky Erickson alongside the typical circus of live music, horror cinema, art, food and drinks.

Phil Lesh & the Terrapin Family Band
Photograph: Courtesy Neal Casal

Phil Lesh

Music Rock and indie

The Grateful Dead bassist hits the Capitol Theatre for a "Phil-O-Ween" run. Over the course of three nights, Lesh takes the stage for sets with Vermont jam band Twiddle and the Terrapin Family Band. GEM (Grahame Lesh, Elliott Peck and Mihali Savoulidis) and Widespread Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring round out the evenings' lineups.

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Cypress Hill
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Focka

Cypress Hill

Music Rap, hip-hop and R&B

B-Real & Co. might be over the hill at this point, but they still know how to get a crowd going live. In honor of Halloween, the crew brings its annual "Haunted Hill" concert to Gramercy Theatre (followed by a gig in Brooklyn two nights later). Insane in the membrane indeed.

Deafheaven
Photograph: Courtesy Randi Sumner

Deafheaven + DIIV

Music Punk and metal

San Francisco's Deafheaven dips into black metal’s battle-tested playbook—rage-against-the-void screams and vein-popping blast beats—while boasting a distinctly blissed-out, dream-pop guitar palette. They stop off in Jersey City on Halloween as part of their co-headlining tour with fellow shoegaze dabblers DIIV.

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Beach Fossils
Photograph: Courtesy Terri Nguyen

Beach Fossils + Wavves + Kevin Krauter + Wooing + Native Sun

Music Rock and indie

Ugh, spooky Halloween events are so predictable. Switch it up with this co-headling show at Elsewhere featuring blissed-out indie faves Beach Fossils and Los Angeles surf-punk trio Wavves. Expect both bands to trot out tunes from their latest albums (Somersault and You're Welcome, respectively) and create a thoroughly jovial vibe in celebration of the venue's first birthday.

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Nirvana
Photograph: Stephen Sweet/REX/Shutterstock

Halloween Cover Show

Music Rock and indie

At this show, ten bucks gets you four straight hours of jamming to local indie-rock crews impersonating their fave vintage acts. Don a costume and go party to ersatz versions of the Cramps, No Doubt, Nirvana, Deftones and a mystery band.

World/Inferno Friendship Society
Photograph: Courtesy Solid PR

World/Inferno Friendship Society: Hallowmas

Music Punk and metal

The World/Inferno Friendship Society deals in theatrical party rock, sort of like AM Gold as interpreted by a drunken klezmer band: both charmingly glitzy and powerfully surreal. The band takes the stage here for its 21st annual "Hallowmas" show.

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