Halloween shows are weird – for a number of reasons – not only for the distinctly escapist nature of the “holiday” itself, but for the undue onus placed upon the artists performing. Show-going Halloweeners seem to have a proclivity to approach shows with a strange sense of social hesitancy at the onset – almost as if they’ve forgotten they’re wearing masks, wigs, and facades that sufficiently obfuscate their identity from the person next to them. Its as if they’re simply waiting for someone to go ahead and give them the proverbial “green light” to cut loose and ultimately experience the evening of escapism they spent hours pouring high fructose corn syrup dyed red and powdering their faces with ghoulish grays for.
Lucky enough for the festively dressed folks present at Marathon Music Works on Halloween (or “All Hallows Eve” or “All Souls Day” or “Hallow E’en”), James Hinton aka “The Range,” was more than happy to serve as the master of hesitance shattering ceremonies as the opener for Phantogram’s Nashville tour stop. Understanding the initial reticence of the Halloweening crowd, Hinton came out adorned in a skeleton costume about as active and energized as anyone could hope for while costumed show-goers continued to filter in. Following some extremely brief pleasantries, Hinton dove right into his set, running through tracks off of a variety of projects, but the songs most well received were undoubtedly off his most recent effort, Potential.
Hinton took a moment in the set to lay out exactly what Potential’s initiative was – “clips from a bunch of YouTube videos with under one hundred views” – and almost instantly, everyone seemed to buy in – vampires, butterflies, Elevens, and Jokers alike – with an ovation that was long overdue for what was already a fantastic set. Sometimes its astounding just how little an artist has to do to entice an audience to become more interactive, or at the least, more enthusiastic.
Nevertheless, there were those in the crowd who had been into the set from its onset, namely the green Morphsuit man in a monk’s cowl (who had been cavorting about the entirety of the set), now being joined by the ever expanding Marathon crowd in their Halloween revelry scored by tracks like “Florida” off of Potential and “Metal Swing” off of Nonfiction. Hinton served as a premier hype man to warm up the once withdrawn Halloween crowd, whipping them up into a sufficiently enlivened group. Credit to Hinton for being on it from the inception of his 2groovy4me (sorry for the meme) Halloween set, and helping usher in the Halloween spirit (if there is such a thing) to the Marathon crowd. As mentioned before, Halloween shows are weird things to experience, but for Hinton, its nothing more than a small hurdle that leads into yet another fantastic live set.