Michael Bergeron
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Day for Night Preview: John Carpenter

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When Day for Night announced its 2024 lineup, one performer in particular stood out, in lieu of the fact that his show consists of performing soundtracks to his own films.

John Carpenter is the rare film auteur that composes the scores to most of his films. Sure, many helmers will also pen their scripts and edit their films, and some even act as their own cinematographers, but the list of directors who also write the music heard on screen can be counted on your fingers and a couple of toes. Charlie Chaplin, Clint Eastwood, Robert Rodriguez, Satyajit Ray, Alejandro Amenábar and Carpenter instantly come to mind. Other directors who have periodically composed music includes David Lynch (Eraserhead), Alejandro Jodorowsky (El Topo, The Holy Mountain), Dario Argento (Suspira) and Trey Parker (Cannibal! The Musical). Perhaps not oddly the list also includes the great actor Anthony Hopkins who has directed and scored three films.

Carpenter went on the road this year with a show comprised of original music from his films. Carpenter’s father was a university music professor. While Carpenter had played in a rock band as a youth it was his first official music tour – at the age of 68. In addition to Carpenter on keyboards, his band consists of his son Cody Carpenter on lead synth, his godson Daniel Davies on lead guitar, along with the backing trio of Scott Seiver, John Spiker, and John Konesky (the latter three also play with Tenacious D).

While I see more films than humanly possible, I also catch over a dozen live music performances a month. This June, I saw Carpenter perform in Austin. While Carpenter’s set list was mostly from his films, he also played selections from his studio albums Lost Themes I & II. The only cover was the main theme “Desolation” from The Thing, composed by Ennio Morricone.

Can you think of an October 31 when you didn’t hear the theme song to Halloween being played?

Each movie segment was accompanied by a carefully edited projection of images from the different movie scores being played on a screen behind the band. The biggest response of the evening was when Carpenter and company were playing music from They Live and the scene of the fight between Roddy Piper and Keith David popped up.

Carpenter is just one of many great acts booked for the upcoming Day for Night multi media extravaganza on December 17 and 18. You don’t want to miss Carpenter’s set, and you don’t want to miss Day for Night.

  • Kerry Melonson

    pretty rad.