A real “freaky” show!

Posted by drew On October - 28 - 20104,916 views

The threat of rain and thunder loomed largely as I entered the Freak Show Festival last Saturday.  I got there just in time to see local act, The Blue Flames fill in for the conspicuously absent Devils Rose.  I must admit, for a moment, I was a bit nervous that Austin’s first stab at a big psychobilly show was going to be derailed before it really started.

My nerves however, were not shared by the Koffin Kats, who rolled onto stage an hour or so later like they owned the place.  And thanks to their energetic stage antics, they almost did.  With black clouds still above us, it would have almost seemed fitting for a down pour to start.  In the end, it only sprinkled.

After the Koffin Kats played, I wandered around the vendors’ area and took in some of the sideshow acts.  I quickly noticed many of the band members from the various acts were out wondering around and mingling with fans.  The crowd was starting to fill in with a mixture of psychos, punks, and greasers followed by families and college kids looking for some Halloween fun.   While munching on a pulled pork sandwich, I noted a certain “down home” feel really coming into place.  There was a different kind of vibe here than other fests of this type.   Brandon Schaffner of Vandoll’s Clothing agreed.  “There’s a good crowd out here today.  The line-up is great which is good for us vendors.”

I didn’t have whole lot of time to muse over this because The Creepshow was hitting the stage.  And hit they did, like an atom bomb.  Between standing atop of their own instruments, to engaging the crowd in sing-a-longs, the Canadian punkabilly band lived up to their rep as one of the best live bands around.  Lead singer and guitarist, Sarah “Sin” Blackwood was as impressed with the crowd as they were with her band.  Noting that the first time they played Austin, only two people were in attendance.

An hour and a half later, Horrorpops waltzed out under a relatively clear sky and a moon that looked like it belonged in an old werewolf movie.  While The Creepshow proved themselves to be a hard act to follow, Patricia Day and Kim Nekroman kept it lively bouncing around the stage to a ska tinged beat.  Those of us, who’d been there all day were noticeably tired.  But they got us to dance anyway.  The standout moment of their set came when they broke out into a groovy medley of several of their songs.

I took a little breather once Horrorpops had finished.  Finally allowing myself to purchase a few items from the vendors’ area.  Walking away with a glow in the dark Creepshow record, a Horrorpops t-shirt, and most impressively a vintage Elvis record bought from 3rd Squirrel Records.  I found myself wishing they had a few more vendors, but the ones present were very good and all had interesting items on sale.

By now the sky was clear and the air was cool; perfect timing for the Reverend Horton Heat.  The Rev himself is looking like a buffed up version of the Jack Nicholson incarnation of the Joker these days, his grin equally infectious.  The boys rumbled and rocked through a good portion of their popular songs, wearing out most of the crowd before they were finished.   But not before Kim Nekroman sat in on bass for an amped up version of “Psychobilly Freakout.”  Seeing two of the giants of psychobilly on stage together was enough to make this old punk choke up a bit.  It was truly the shining moment of the show.

I walked out of the festival grinning from ear to ear.  This is a show with legs and one that I hope continues to grow.  When I caught up with the show’s mastermind, Rachel Simmons, she had this to say:

“The Freak Show Festival was absolutely cherry!  We are so pleased at how badass everything turned out.  MAJOR thanks to everyone that came out to support us in our first year.  We made lots of new freaky friends, the bands were amazing, the circus phenomenal, the vibe perfect – just everything, even the crowd was all dressed up!  We need just a couple of days of rest and will be ready to start working on the 2nd Annual!  We know where we need to improve and are ready to make it bigger and better, we’ve already got some tricks up our sleeve for 2011…so everybody, go ahead and put it on your calendars and tell your momma’s, October 22nd 2011 belongs to THE Freak Show Festival!”

What more could you possibly want?  I’ll be there next year for sure.

For more info on the show check out their site.

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