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  • State Street 100 State Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)


Freakfest was originally conceived in 2006 to serve as an extinguisher for the hedonistic firecracker that used to be, and still in many ways is, Halloween in downtown Madison. In this it has served its purpose functionally, but for many years failed to justify its existence as a music festival. 2016 was a potential turning point in this, with Anderson .Paak headlining a much more solid lineup. On paper, 2017 not quite reach the high bar set last year, but it also should not be too much of a drop-off either. DRAM, this year's headliner, doesn't quite match the talent or quality of Anderson .Paak And The Free Nationals, but he is a talented pop songwriter capable of creating infections hits like "Cash Machine" and "Broccoli." He is also quite the showman in his live performances, and should feed well off the drunken collegiate energy on State Street. Another artist worth checking out is Illinois emcee Kweku Collins. Performing on the same stage as DRAM and George Clinton, Collins provides a nice contrast to the more bombastic artists that will follow him. Collins broke out in 2016 with his Nat Love LP and followed it up with his latest project, grey. Both releases demonstrate Collins' ability to combine pensive and reflective lyrics with half-sung, emotion-inflected vocals. He also has an ear for great production, like on "Aya," featuring Allan Kingdom. Freakfest will also serve as an extension of local band Greenhaus' current hot streak. Though Greenhaus' offerings online are relatively sparse, they more than make up for this in a live setting. Their chemistry is evolved beyond their years, and front-person Halle Luksich excels at drawing concertgoers into the strange worlds their songs create. Hopefully we'll hear some new material here. —Henry Solo

Earlier Event: October 28
The Student Nurses (free)
Later Event: October 28