The Bear’s 25th Halloween Howler did not disappoint. The crowd’s energy was high from the moment the doors opened. Those who decided to show up without a costume were the ones who truly stuck out as 5,000 “costumed freaks,” as The Bear calls them, descended into the Shaw Conference Centre.
My favourite costumes of the night, which also happened to win third place in the costume contest, were worn by a couple dressed as vikings who carted around a huge hand-made dragon. Other costumes ranged from devils to a pope and everything in between. The abundance of fake blood and glitter made for a very interesting sight.
The show openers, One Bad Son and comedy daredevils Ryan Stock and Amberlynn, started the event off strong.
One Bad Son gave an energetic performance and represented everything that makes Canadian rock bands great. While I had never listened to their music before, their songs sounded awesome, and it’s always reassuring when a band sounds good during a live performance. I was definitely encouraged to look One Bad Son up the next day to download some of their music.
The “comedy” routine was an interesting one, although the act of shoving things up facial cavities is not something I would typically call humourous. The comedian Ryan Stock apparently holds a world record for sticking the longest running drill bit straight up his nose. Personally, I did not enjoy watching said action, and wasn’t alone in cringing and covering my eyes while Stock was on stage.
Stock also hung weights from clips attached to his eyelids and nose. The one part of the routine that was entertaining was the crowd yelling “more cowbell” as Amberlynn added cowbells to the clips, but even that joke can be credited to Christopher Walken.
However, it was The Offspring’s performance that the crowd of “Howlers” truly chose to gather for. The area in front of the stage filled with people eager to watch the group as The Offspring took the stage. Performing a number of hits, the band had the crowd amped up right from the start.
The songs “Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)” and “You’re Gonna Go Far, Kid” were just two that had the crowd singing along and dancing with elation. Despite the fact that there were security guards standing along the entire stage, many fans still tried to jump over the barricade to get closer to the band.
The Offspring did not disappoint with their energy and sound, and they sounded the same as (if not better than) their recorded music. The best part of seeing a band live is the slight changes they make to their music depending on how they feel and what the crowd is responding to. It goes to show just how skilled these musicians are.
The Offspring described the event as one of the most fun crowds they’ve experienced, and there is truth to that. At no point during the night did I feel unsafe, and although the majority of the crowd was in a drunken stupor the entire time, everyone seemed just happy to be there. I did, however, have to throw away the shoes I wore due to the amount of alcohol that had been spilled on the floor.
Overall, the 25th annual Halloween Howler was a blast, and definitely something that should be experienced — especially if you’re a fan of loud rock music and rather ridiculous behaviour.