Hitting the right notes on a second year festival is tough. With “Freakshow” the first year was an extremely tough act to follow. With both huge names on the bill and a large set-up that seemed to engulf down town Austin. The somewhat more subdued “Freakshow” of year two, seemed to be setting itsself up for a fall. And when,I rolled into the make-shift fair grounds it seemed my fears were going to be confirmed.
I was part of a small crowd gathered on a surprisiginly hot fall day to take in the shows opening act. A pin-up contest hosted by local “billy” honcho and horror comics guru Drew Edwards, a name that should be familar to readers of this site. Edwards himself, was in fine form, yucking it up with crowd while wearing a neon purple zoot suit. But the energy level just wasn’t there. Not from the crowd and certainly not from the pin-ups themselves, all of whom had a glassy expression on their faces. Not even some adlibing from the infamous Lizardman(a celeb judge) could shake things up a bit. Maybe it was the heat or maybe it was just too early, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I felt fearful for the two local bands that had to follow this. But those fears were unfounded. The second annual Freakshow Festival started with a whimper but ended roaring.
The fast rising local girl group Danger*Cakes was this year’s opening act. Many of my friends didn’t feel they had quite earned the spot yet. But the ladies waltzed onto stage with the swagger of a decades old touring group. Quickly blasting the drowsy crowd with their soul infused punkabilly! Suddenly our small group of half awake hipsters were in more of a partying mood! By the time fellow Austinites, the Pickled Punks hit the stage, there was a crowd that was rived up and ready to wreck! Texas sun be damned, this was a party! Our home town bands set a standard for the other bands to follow!
Horror punkers, Calabrese followed. Jamming in front of a crowd that had grown from a few hundred to what seemed like a few thousand. I felt like I was melting in the sun, but I didn’t care. The energy was there! The music was there! And finally, the Koffin Kats were there! Hitting the stage wit probably the strongest set of the entire show. Co-headliner Devil Doll, thundered on aftwards, with plenty of sex appeal. As well as some rived up, really cool, cover songs! Finally giving way to iconic psychos Mad Sin, who nearly knocked me over with an amazing set. Followed by a local fan proposing to his girlfriend on stage.
Which brings me to the best part of this festival.I really love the fact that the line between the bands and the fans is some what blurred. With many large shows like this, you never see the performers interacting with the fans. Both years, I’ve been able to meet and talk with many members of my favorite bands. It’s very refreshing and something I feel like sets this show apart from similar shows.
I have no idea what they freaks will dream up for next years festival! It’s been several days, I’m sun burned and still worn out. But I had an amazing time. It was easily the best concert I’ve been too all year. I really can’t wait till next year and will be counting the days! Bring it on!
To learn more about Freakshow Festival, visit them on facebook!