Big Freedia and Solid Freex are among the highlights at this year's big Halloween blowout on State Street. Info/tix
Over the past few years Freakfest has finally matured into something more than "Well, it beats Halloween riots on State Street," or at least its music lineup has taken on some respectable heft. At this point, you can count on at least a couple of the touring artists to deliver some solid music while providing the over-the-top fun the occasion demands, and on a few worthwhile Madison-based acts further down the bill. The standouts this year are the explosively funky R&B and hip-hop ensemble Tank And The Bangas and Big Freedia, a standout in the brash, intoxicating hip-hop subgenre of New Orleans Bounce. Folks turning out for top-billed acts Quinn XCII and Misterwives might not be quite prepared for this New Orleans one-two, but both Freedia and the Bangas should be able to win over anyone who's on the fence.
The Madison artists spread between Freakfest's two stages would make for a decent little Halloween festival by themselves. The family trio Solid Freex's furious post-punk and noisy smart-assery make them probably the most exciting rock outfit to start up in town over the past couple years. Singer/rapper/producers Son! and Kenny Hoopla each walk their own ever-twisting line between hip-hop and stylistically mixed-up pop. Over on the Capitol Stage, Punk duo Gender Confetti, DJ Boyfrrriend, and and Milwaukee R&B artist Lex Allen make for a pretty killer lead-up to Big Freedia, suggesting Freakfest's bookers at FPC Live have taken notice of Madison's fertile queer music scene. —Scott Gordon