'Epic' Halloween party finds new home at Northside Tavern

Posted at 12:26 PM, Oct 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-26 12:29:46-04

CINCINNATI -- Adam Stone knows how to throw a party.

The South Fairmont resident has hosted annual Halloween parties over the last five years, bringing together local musicians to cover bands of their choice for crowds that have grown each year.

This year’s event, Fifth Requiem, takes place at Northside Tavern on Friday, and while the party may have gotten bigger, the spirit of fun, community and connection has stayed the same.

“This is a hoot-and-holler get together, but at the base of all that is the same thing: the connection,” said Stone. “It brings all these different people together you may never have talked to or felt like you had anything in common with before. That’s kind of what I’ve always loved about throwing parties -- being the glue to bring those folks together.”

It’s something he’s familiar with, as a local musician, creative and producer. (He also hosts Pollination Fest, a live music, arts and sustainable lifestyle festival held in Kentucky.) His Halloween party, now in its fifth year, debuted in a warehouse on West McMicken Avenue as part of Tinderbox, another local "do-it-yourself" party group. 

The space was dilapidated and too expensive the following year, so Stone migrated the event to Martini United Church of Christ on the Westside for a few years. The church doubles as his home, and he lives with a handful of other Cincinnati musicians and creatives.

“It was a party that was so epic I’ll tell my grandchildren about it, but it was way too big there,” said Stone of the 2014 event; more than 300 people attended. In 2015, the party moved to Northside Yacht Club, which featured the infrastructure Stone was looking for but, again, wasn’t quite large enough to accommodate the crowd.

He struck gold with Northside Tavern, where Stone hosts trivia weekly. 

“I’m excited about not just the space but the flow,” said Stone. “I think the whole thing will be more manageable, and I am more confident and feel better about this one than I ever have a week out.”

The bands are prepared, too. Last year’s party included members of local bands covering Pavement, Andrew WK, Nirvana, Madonna and the headliner of the evening, Stone’s Talking Heads cover band. This year's event has a late '90s/early 2000s alternative rock vibe: Beck, Weezer, Built to Spill, the Strokes, Wire and Dinosaur Jr. are all on the cover set list. Paying homage to these artists are local musicians from bands including Why?, Dawg Yawp, the Never Bird, Toon Town, Black Plastic, Pop Empire, the Ridges, the Tillers, DAAP Girls and more. Many of these musicians have never shared a stage.

“The best part about it is getting to play with musicians you like that you’ve never had an opportunity to play music with before,” said David Corns, a drummer and guitarist in two local outfits, the Never Bird and Carriers. Corns, who performed in the Talking Heads cover band last year, will perform in the Strokes cover band this year.

The cover band concept came together on its own for the most part, said Stone. He and Corns both learned of each other’s Talking Heads ambitions and brought on a few others to round out the sound, including Doug McDiarmid of Why?, a nationally known local band. McDiarmid will perform in the Beck cover band this year.

“It’s celebratory, it’s a party and that’s why he’s doing it -- to have fun,” said McDiarmid. “It relieves a little bit of the anxiety about limited rehearsal time. It’s just super party fun time, and that’s the vibe Adam goes for and has gotten wildly successful at.”

As fun as it is for the musicians, it’s just as fun for audiences. Stone said he has seen connections form from these parties that lead to strong friendships, relationships and even marriage.

“That is at the heart of why I love to do this,” he said.

While the party originated in the physical trappings of DIY culture, Stone said it’s an attitude and a mindset that makes DIY just that and not necessarily an underground, sometimes dangerous location. Spawning connections in a different setting re-embodies the heart of the DIY spirit, said Stone, because everyone involved is still uplifting and supporting one another, even if it's just for one night.

“That’s not something I’m giving up by moving it to a bar; that’s not something that is worse,” said Stone. “That’s one thing I really hope people understand: It still has the same heart.”

Fifth Requiem

8 p.m.-2:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 28.
Northside Tavern, 4163 Hamilton Ave., Northside.
For more information visit the event page on Facebook.