Spooky concert in East Village brings together wild sounds of Kembra Pfahler’s band

Kembra Pfahler in a reflective mood.
Kembra Pfahler in a reflective mood.
Photos by Bob Krasner


If Halloween didn’t exist, Kembra Pfahler would have to invent it.

Looking from the stage to the packed (but masked) audience on Oct. 31 in Tompkins Square Park, there’s a connection that Pfahler, performing with her long running band ‘The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black,” (TVHOKB) sees as an integral part of the holiday.

“Halloween is a day of inclusiveness and freedom,” she tells us later. “It is a time when we are allowed culturally to transform.”

TVHOKB headlined a show produced by The Shadow that featured Pinc Louds, the Head Peddlers, The Carvels and Soul Cake, among others.

L-R: Michael Wildwood, Kembra Pfahler, Samoa, Alice May
I read the set list today, oh boy……. Kembra and Alice May just before they ripped up the set list and threw the pieces to the crowd.
Samoa, co-founder of the band, strikes a pose in an outfit he created.

A casual glance at Kembra Pfahler onstage might lead one to think that this is a group that, with its musical mix of glam/goth/metal/punk and a look that brings to mind demonic Smurfs, is dealing with a message of nihilism and despair.

But for an artist who has takes inspiration from horror films and made a name for herself with some fairly transgressive performance art, Pfahler is surprisingly positive in her outlook, especially when it comes to Halloween.

After a performance that included many fan favorites and the distribution of props into the audience – including a torn up set list, miscellaneous items of underwear, her wig, Karen Black tote bags and a large red phallus – the multi disciplinary artist reflected on the significance of Halloween.

“Halloween is a kind of Earth Day celebration,” she explained. “We love the changing of the season and the beauty in the city. It is a holiday with a friendly face – all cultures and religions can take part in it.”

The audience certainly loved being part of it, especially the guy who went home with some souvenir lingerie. Pfahler was happy and relieved with how it all went. “I was afraid to do a show there,” she admitted. ” There’s been violence and murders in the neighborhood. But the audience was fantastic ! I’m glad they came and I’m glad that everyone made it home.”

You can follow Kembra Pfahler on instagram @kembrapfahler_.

The band performs ” I Believe in Halloween” L-R: Gyda Gash, Alice May, Caroline Mills, Kembra Pfahler, Samoa, Jackie Rivera, with Michael Wildwood behind Kembra .
The ” happiest fan ” award goes to the guy who caught one of the pieces of lingerie flung into the crowd by Kembra.

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