Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Seattle University's student newspaper since 1933

The Spectator

Home for the ‘Psychedelic’ Holidays

    This holiday season, take a break from the holiday grind characterized by family visits, gift-giving and bitter cold weather, and prepare to get weird on Capitol Hill.

    The Psychedelic Holiday Freak Out (PHFO), a two-day, 39-band music festival featuring top West Coast talent alongside rising local artists, will be coming to the Hill on Dec. 6 and 7. The event has drawn together a wide-ranging group of performers for a single charismatic holiday festival. The even seems to be an attempt to break an early holiday lull and celebrate Seattle’s music scene, as well as other popular groups
    of today.

    When asked how the event was first imagined, organizer Nate Leonard-Berliner talked about a hungover drive from Portland to Seattle.

    The Spectator
    The Spectator

    “We saw the dreariness out the window and decided that Seattle needed a late-fall festival to shake things up before winter really set in,” he said.

    The event’s humble roots have since grown strong and the Freak Out is now highly anticipated by many music fans across Seattle.

    While originally intended to focus more on psychedelic rock (hence the event title), the PHFO has grown to include an eclectic mix of musical genres from electronic pop, to metal, to hip-hop. Organized by Funk Farm, a Seattle based collaborative, the PHFO has indeed evolved as a concept.

    “We originally wanted to cater to fans of psychedelic music, but our scope quickly expanded when we saw the sheer variety of great acts interested in working with us,” said Leonard-Berliner.

    Indeed, the lineup should attract music fans across the board, with an assorted potpourri of artists and genres; according to Funk Farm, the lineup features top performers from all across the musical spectrum.

    Notable acts include “Sonic futurist Vox Mod, hip-hop fire spitters Kung Foo Grip and hard-driving garage rockers Fox and the Law. Individual stages will be hosted by legendary radio DJ Marco Collins, consummate sci-fi cowboy Brent Amaker and local hip-hop veteran Bishop I of Oldominion.”

    Some of the artists who have a prominent position on the PHFO lineup represent an amalgamation of genres.

    One such band is Atomic Bride. Having been described as “grimy psychedelic pop shoved kicking and squealing through a garage rock blender,” the five-piece band features male and female leads on guitars and vocals, in addition to bass, keys and drums.

    Vocalist and guitarist Astra Elane talked about how “excited [the band is] to be participating in PHFO in its maiden voyage.” She also talked about the unique sound Atomic Bride has become known for.

    “It’s sort of hard to explain,” she said. “I guess we’re combining garage rock, surf and psychedelia to create this great twangy sound that’s
    very explosive.”

    According to the band’s Facebook page, “art punk enthusiasts rave about the band’s driving, post-apocalyptic twang and have labeled them as… epic.”

    Also performing at the PHFO will be The Fox and The Law, a raw Seattle based band of four that recalls some of the harder-hitting, pure rock of the Seattle music scene hey-day. In a review highlighted on the band’s website, the group was described as “Seattle’s next best export.”

    Their sets of “raw, wall-of-sound, romp ‘n stomp rock” should prove thrilling when they perform at the PHFO and their addition to the already-stocked lineup has increased the hype surrounding the event itself.

    The PHFO already has a significant social media presence with Facebook and Twitter feeds constantly updating links to and clips of featured artists, radio announcements and updates on reduced ticket prices. Armed with the power of the Internet and ability to hashtag (#letsgetfunky is a favorite on their Twitter feed), it would seem as if nothing could stop the growing popularity of this underground event.

    The Hill is going to be exploding with spirit just in time for the holidays. Even Santa is likely to turn a blind eye to any naughty behavior during the festival, if only for the sake of good holiday fun.

    The Friday performances take place at the Highline and Therapy, while Saturday’s performances will be at Waid’s, Velocity and again Therapy.

    While the majority of the acts are reserved for ages 21 and up, the Saturday performances at Velocity are open to all. So, get your “of age” buddies together for a bat-s*** crazy weekend, or round up the whole family for an evening of good family fun on Saturday.

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    Ian Firstenberg, Author

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