Center hosts psychedelic dance party for Halloween |

Center hosts psychedelic dance party for Halloween

Join the Center for the Arts Oct. 31 for a Psychedelic Halloween Costume and Dance Party with local bands Mount Whateverest, The Soft Bombs and an electronic dance music set from Aaron Ross.

Grass Valley-based band Mount Whateverest knows how to have fun. With a propensity for wearing loud, tacky costumes, the former indie band with metal aspirations witnessed a shift in their sound last Halloween. Singer/guitarist Chris Streng describes Mount Whateverest now as a “classic rock band with no aspirations.”

Last Halloween, Streng, morphed into Kiss’ Ace Frehley, while his wife, Sasha Soukup, got into the spirit as the David Bowie alter ego Ziggy Stardust.

“We adopted these personalities, and it just carried over,” Streng said. “We really got into dressing up. No one wants to see a band in the clothes they wore to work. It’s good to get a break from reality.”

With relentless pop hooks and clever wordplay, Mt. Whateverest plays music made for dancing and knows how to turn even the most indifferent crowd into screaming fools. While they avoid most of the classic rock clichés, they still adhere to the ethos that music is made for dancing and socializing.

Five kids from nowhere with a rock and roll dream, they were weaned on the glittery hits of David Bowie, T. Rex and the Rolling Stones with doses of Spacemen 3, Blondie and the Troggs thrown in.

Singer/guitarist Chris Streng (Stratford 4) provides the witty stage banter, while Jonah Wells (Jeepster) and Steven Melendez share the drum and bass duties. Singers Sasha Soukup and Cynthia Harrell invoke the great girl groups like the Ikettes and the Shangri-Las. In addition to singing background vocals and generally getting the party started, Soukup and Harrell take the lead on various songs and play instruments.

The band released a self-titled album in 2012 and rented a house “deep in the woods” to record its follow-up. With the release of its second album, “Electric City,” Mount Whateverest departed for a European tour to Spain, France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany in late September.

“We are having the best time,” Soukup said.

The Soft Bombs

The Soft Bombs have graced the music scene with a fresh, authentic sound that draws from rock-and-roll roots yet sizzles with originality.

The diversely talented four-piece band brings together sounds of classic and contemporary rock and roll, psychedelic dance trips, worldly earth-toned beats and a touch of strung-out British pop rock while maintaining an original style truly its own.

As a live show, The Soft Bombs provide an “other-worldly” experience with their colorful mood lighting and Warhol-like ambiance.

The Soft Bombs were conceived in early 2010 in the studio of guitarist and lead singer Michael Padilla. Padilla recorded The Soft Bombs’ self-titled debut album with John Lee Simpson on bass. The duo developed a strong steady sound driven by Padilla’s guitar soundscapes, wholesome voice and lyrical talent.

By March of 2011, drummer Ben Bodine joined the group as the official percussionist and another back-up vocalist. In August 2011, keyboardist Ryan Brodie joined the band, adding a uniquely psychedelic sound to the mix.

The Soft Bombs released their sophomore album, “Embrace The Light,” in April 2012. In June 2012, Ryan Sheridan a longtime fan and friend of the band, would replace Simpson on bass.

Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Halloween at the Center for the Arts, 314 W. Main St. in Grass Valley.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the Center’s Box Office in person, by phone at 530-274-8384, ext. 14, or online at

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