“An Elray’s Halloween Experience” will feature five Iowa City musicians

Elray’s plans to kick off Halloweekend with a musical showcase, “An Elray’s Halloween Weekend.” The show will feature five local Iowa City musicians.


Larry Phan

Karaoke Night is shown at El Ray’s in Iowa City, IA on Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2021. (Larry Phan/The Daily Iowan)

Olivia Augustine, Arts Reporter

Halloween is near, which means costumed college students will be flooding downtown Iowa City this weekend, looking for something to do. Luckily for them, Elray’s will be hosting “An Elray’s Halloween Experience,” featuring five local Iowa City musicians.

Artists Ahzia, Keegan Konsor, Alyx Rush, Ade, and Wacky Willy’s Wiener Warehouse & Uncle Earl’s Earwax Emporium will take the stage on Oct. 29 in the backroom of Elray’s, each performing a 30-minute set. The event is 21+ and will run from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., free before 8:00 p.m.

Artist Ahzia Hester was the main force in organizing the event. After doing a show at Elray’s in July, he followed up about booking another set, maybe even with an ensemble of artists. When the Elray’s team proposed the Oct. 29 date, a lightbulb went off for Hester – it was the perfect night to make it a Halloween-themed performance.

Having wanted to work with several of the artists involved beforehand, Hester pulled together the group of Iowa City talent. He said he looks forward to seeing their respective fan bases collide.

“I wanted to create something where people that normally wouldn’t be in a room together, get a chance to be in a room together,” Hester said. “I know for a fact that there’s people coming for certain acts, but it’s a really cool variety show, so hopefully there’s a little something for everyone.”

Konsor, another artist that will be performing, also speaks highly of the other performers, having previously performed a successful show with Hester and referring to the members of Wacky Willy’s as his best friends. Though never having been introduced to Ade or Alyx Rush, he said he’s a genuine fan of both.

Konsor plans on making his set a theatrical experience for the crowd, including a song he wrote specifically for Halloween and wearing the “most insane costume he’s ever come up with.”

“I like to make my shows or my sets like an experience rather than just watching some dude perform a bunch of songs,” Konsor said. “I like to play with the crowd, talk to the crowd, just make it like a fun little party for 30 minutes, while like also kind of playing some music at the same time.”

Having never played the venue before, Konsor is looking forward to his Elray’s debut. He also said while he’s most excited to perform, he can’t wait to see the other acts.

Elray’s Owner Bob Franklin said something great about having local artists perform is that people don’t always realize the amazing talent that exists in a town the size of Iowa City. Giving locals a space to perform gives them the recognition they deserve.

Franklin expects the event to go well, because of the talented artists playing, but also because of Halloweekend making its return to Iowa City after the pandemic.

“I think by the end of the show, when it’s all said and done, there’s gonna be a lot of people that are going to walk away with a new favorite artists that they had no idea about, that’s a local,” Hester said.