KROQ’s annual Halloween costume ball took a big step up this year with the addition of System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian as headliner.

Opener Fair to Midland hit the stage and instantly got the crowd moving. Their colorful set drew the crowd in deeper with every song.

It should be no surprise to Tankian fans to see Fair to Midland open for him since he signed them to his record label in 2006. Once Fair to Midland ended their set, people started chanting “Serj! Serj! Serj!,” anxiously awaiting his arrival.

Tankian opened with two of his famous radio singles, “The Unthinking Majority” and “Empty Walls.” His current set is much different than his output with System of a Down. His new backing band, “the F.C.C.” (a pun on the Federal Communication Commission), is as eclectic as his sound.

Featuring legendary guitarist Larry LaLonde of Primus on rhythm guitar, the rest of the new band includes other talented musicians who’ve played with Buckethead and Slow Motion Reign.

Tankian almost resembled a circus ringleader as the set progressed, not only because he made a spectacle of himself as he debuted new songs, but because he was dressed in an all-white suit with an all-white top hat like in the “Empty Walls” video. One of the most memorable parts of his set was the Dead Kennedys cover “Holiday in Cambodia.” He played it in a way that would have made Jello Biafra (former Dead Kennedys frontman) proud.

Tankian closed his set with a cover of the The Beatles’ “Girl” solely on piano.