October this year has been a wildcard. Normally its thought to be a cooler and colorful time of year which many enjoy. Instead, it’s been a frozen and moist alternative universe which is bringing winter sickness, “the blues.”
The symptoms include ungroomed, groaning, brain-dead, and hunched individuals going through the motions of life and disregarding everything except food and pleasure. In turn, it was the greatest build-up to the largest gathering of undead in the world, the Zombie Pub Crawl (ZPC).
The ZPC has returned from the dead for its 14th stumble around. However, this time, it made its return to its bloody roots in Northeast (NE) Minneapolis. It originally started back in 2005 with just 150 zombies, but the hoard has grown ever since, totaling 18,324 this year.
Located on Halls Island (Hell’s Island) this year, they had 2 huge outdoor stages. Some notable artists included Twist, Snow Tha Product, and IDK. They also brought in two great DJ headliners, Alison Wonderland and ASAP Ferg, and one wildcard opener.
The opener drew curiosity and wonder and it was none other than Big Aristotle…Hobo Master…Wilt Chamberneezy…DJ Diesel…Shaquille O’ Neal (Shaq). Yes, Shaq is also a DJ.
Contrary to popular belief, he is not a celebrity DJ. He’s been doing it since 1988. Shaq got inspired after he saw Terminator X at a Public Enemy concert. It took a backseat to the whole NBA (National Basketball Association) thing until 2014. What surprised me was he knew how to add life to the dead.
His performance was non-stop energy and myth surrounding him. When you looked up at this stage, you saw this huge dude mixing, his arms larger than the circumference of my body, his head obstructed by a computer but sometimes poking out to connect with the crowd.
Every once in a while we’d hear this low, snarled voice yell “zombies!” He would continue to spin and bring guests on stage to help move the show along. It was a sight to see and hear.
Then it was time for Alison Wonderland, a complete 180 from Shaq. A petite DJ from Sydney, Australia who despises wearing pants. She came on stage and formally apologized because it was freezing outside.
Starting her set, she picked up the energy where Shaq left off. Mixing and dancing on the set, she carried the crowd throughout the night until closing. Her final choice was Bobby Pickett’s “Monster Mash.” She shared with the crowd that she wanted that to be her wedding song when she was a little girl. With a humorous ending, she turned down the energy and the undead wandered into the streets.
ZPC has always been one of my favorite things to attend and this year was no different. Their setup changes every year, and this is their sixth location over their lifetime. Here are the few notable changes:
The crawl had zero physical bars inside the grounds and had very few places to warm up.
The stages were a good distance apart, but none of the acts were staggered. They started acts early, and missing a quarter of a performance was a norm. I did like the venue, having space, and the additional entrainment of wrestling and carnival rides.
The ability to dress like the undead for a night has become a staple in Minnesota culture. It continues to bring in some of the biggest names in music and some entertaining new ones.
It will continue to draw hoards for years to come. For those who are recovering from the “blues” due to a depressing start of October, don’t let the sickness turn you into the actual walking dead for more than a night.