Haunted houses. Trick-or-treating. Pterodactyls. Halloween means many things to many people, but to
fans of the alternative rock band Ludo (those fans sometimes affectionately referred to as “skellies”),
Halloween weekend also means coming together at the Pageant and rocking out for a few days.

HalLUDOween has been haunting the Delmar Loop in St. Louis since 2018. Each year, it gets a bit bigger
with pre-show activities to the point where it’s not just a concert; it’s an event. This year, activities
included yoga, trivia and even a tarot card reader. (Yes, I got a reading. No, I don’t want to talk about it.)

HalLUDOween 2022 ran Friday, October 28-Sunday, October 30. I only made it to the Saturday show. My
fellow skelly and I got to the Pageant early to get a decent spot on the floor and to be in a prime spot to
snag a set list after the show. Over the years, I’ve come to the realization that you should never miss out
on opening acts. This time was no exception.

At about 7:45 (15 minutes before the posted start time), comedian Rebecca Jaffe took to the stage
armed only with a ukulele. In her 15-minute set, she sang songs about those inflatable tube men you see
outside of car dealerships, having the same powers as the dragons from the “Dragon Tales” cartoon and
being wary of pigeons. Jaffe absolutely killed her set and set the tone for the rest of the evening. If you
like the comedy duo Garfunkel and Oates, Jaffe is definitely a comedian to watch.

Next up was The Dog and Everything. This band from Chicago put out two albums in the early 2000s
(Bandshell and Sound Off) and have a sound similar to a lot of rockers from that time (think early
All-American Rejects or Something Corporate). They opened their set with a cover of “Time After Time”
before going into their catalogue. Their set ended with “Hey Luv,” a song about lost love that was
featured on MTV at the time it was released. The Dog and Everything was a lot fun and it’s a shame that
they didn’t get bigger back then. It’d be interesting to see if their time at HalLUDOween sparks any kind
of revival.

Finally, it was time. The members of Ludo took to the stage, dressed in the skeleton onesies that have
seemingly become their HalLUDOween uniforms. They opened their nearly two-hour long set with
2020’s “Scare Me,” getting the crowd dancing and singing along right off the bat. The rest of the first
hour was a blur, with fan-favorite songs (which, in all honesty, they’re all fan-favorites) such as “Hum
Along,” “Skeletons On Parade,” “Anything For You” and “Whipped Cream.” (If this review convinces you
to see Ludo in the future, then look up the video for this song from 2010’s Prepare the Preparations,
learn the dance and be ready to go when they play it live. You’ll be glad you did.)

If you break up Ludo’s set into three acts, the first act ended with singer Andrew Volpe alone singing
“Horror Of Our Love.” This isn’t my first time seeing this song performed live but it never fails to give me
goosebumps in the eeriest and best way possible. Then a piano was brought out and it was time to start
act two: 2005’s Broken Bride played in its entirety. Broken Bride is a rock opera that tells the story of
a man who travels through time in an effort to save his soulmate. Things don’t end well for this couple,
leaving the audience at the Pageant to feel feelings. While some of the songs from Broken Bride (such
as “Pt. 1: Broken Bride” and “Save Our City”) are played frequently at Ludo shows, the band played the
entire EP at all three HalLUDOween 2022 shows, which hasn’t been done in more than a decade.

And now we come to the final act, starting with the balled “Topeka” and “Air Conditioned Love,” a song
I’m not certain I’ve heard them play live. Then they finished strong with “Lake Ponchartrain” and “Good
Will Hunting By Myself” before immediately going into their encore, “Love Me Dead,” the song that first
introduced me to the band.

Overall, this show was a blast from beginning to end. I will never not sing along to “Hum Along,” a song
about love at first sight that involves pirates kidnapping the love interest. I will never not get a small
lump in my throat at the line, “but the best story that I could ever tell is the one where I am growing old
with you” during “Anything For You.” I will never not try (and fail miserably) to do the spoken word part
of “Good Will Hunting By Myself.” Ludo and HalLUDOween as a whole is an experience. If you like your
rock mixed with vampires, skeletons and pirates, then Ludo is definitely the band for you.

As the show ended, my voice was a little hoarse and it was a little harder to hear thanks to the volume
of the concert. Afterwards, the band held a meet and greet with any fans who wanted to stick around. It
was late and it was starting to rain but the band hung around and made sure everyone who wanted an
autograph or picture got it. Assuming we have HalLUDOween again in 2023, I highly suggest making a
point to be there, I know I will. Until next time, skellies.

By Mitch Ladd