Seattle based Freakout Records brought down the house with an eclectic lineup to help kick off the holiday festivities with the carefully curated Halloween Freakout that featured LA noise duo No Age and the legendary Melvins. Night 1 brought an eccentric mix of artists that ranged from old fashioned punk and rock and roll, an interstellar lounge act and an all out pysch-inspired meltdown to end the night. This felt like a can’t miss lineup from it’s inception, personally just seeing No Age on the bill made this a must-go event for me. With the crowd roaring in dressed in their best costumes and the bands matching the energy, all the keys were there to make this a great night.
Leading off the night were The Pistols who I feel are the living embodiment of old school rock n roll that aren’t afraid to show this off in spirit. With guitarist Mickey paying homage to Mick Jagger’s 1969 performance at Madison Square Garden and the rest of the band looking like they were plucked straight out of a venue from the same era, the look really set the stage for the energy they gave off from their performance. With a rotating bit of singers and roles within the band, it was fun to see each member showcase their ability to perform and captivate the audience. From rolling on the floor to singing in the face of the crowd and even climbing on the shoulders of audience mid-performance, The Pistols really set the bar high with a set that was pure fun for audience and band alike. They felt like such a fresh call back to tropes and nuances of the past with their own unique spin, making them a band I’d love to see again.
As their set drew to a close, Pearl & The Oysters were able to follow up the energy of their predecessors and really slow things down. The French-American group is comprised of Joachim Polack and Juliette Davis and joined on bass by their psych contemporary Vinyl Williams. This combo set for a loungey type of feel with grooves that had the crowd dancing along and following vocalist Juliette Davis’ every move. The way the group was able to make a loungey vibe simultaneously sound like a walk in the beach while also feeling like a cruise through space was the perfect energy needed to keep the crowd entranced throughout the whole set. With each song you were able to appreciate the instrumentation of everyone in the band and understand the cohesiveness of the group that made this such a strong set.
With the crowd soothed by Pearl & The Oysters, the Seattle-based Acid Tongue came out swinging with a psych-inspired set that melted through the crowd. The energy that frontman Guy Keltner was able to radiate seemed to be harnessed by the rest of the band. Dressed as the devil himself, Keltner followed each line with a sly look and was able to act and perform in such a way that made you think it was Satan himself on stage shredding it up. Backed by a great supporting cast of band members, Acid Tongue threw it down and brought the PNW psych sound and left it all out on the stage. One of the best memories of the night was when the band ripped into “The World’s Going to Fuck You” and chanting it and point out individuals of who the world was going to fuck to really cap off an explosive set by the band.
With the crowd worked into a frenzy, the hometown noise duo came on to blow everyone away with a wall of sound. Working off a set heavily focused on their recent release People Helping People, the sound emanating from No Age was electric and was enough to start sparks within the audience. With guitarist Randy Randall dressed as a shark and drenching us in the sea of sound and experimentation that No Age has consistently delivered with. Although the set took a heavy approach in emphasizing the new, songs like “Cruise Control” and “War Dance” captured the feelings of their early DIY post-punk dance sound that had everyone in the crowd in a sea of hypnosis. With the band feeding off the energy of the crowd and the weekend, they eventually had spots where many in the crowd were invited to groove on stage before eventually ending on the familiar “Fever Dreaming”.
Night 1 of Halloween Freakout was an amazing experience and the ensemble that combined the different genres of music on display into one cohesive night made it that much special. Personally, it felt like a dream come true, as a huge No Age fan growing up and hailing them as my transition to more experimental music as a teenager. With this in mind, it all felt like a full-circle moment because the same way the band ushered me into different realms of the musical world, the bands on the bill this night might be ones that I continue to follow. This was also just a little sample of Freakout’s 10th annual Freakout Festival in Seattle, with 3 of the 4 bands playing on the bill November 10th-13th. With bands like these on their lineup making up just a fraction of their insane bill makes that fest one for the ages that I’ll have to live vicariously through.
Words and Photos by: Alfredo Luna