Psychedelic Holiday Freakout Fest: The best way to enjoy the Holidays

Psychedelic Holiday Freakout Fest: The best way to enjoy the Holidays

The Best way to enjoy the holidays is music, music and more music!!! Holiday Freakout is an event in its second year of existence that takes place in Ballard. The event was spread out over three venues on the first day and two on the second day. I could review every band but honestly, this was one of the better festivals where it seemed every band was good so I will go by who I thought were the best bands  at each venue.

Conor Brynes

foxy1 (100 of 1)

Photo By Ruben Lira

Foxy lemon is a band that seemed to be from another era of music as far as their sound. They played with an attitude on stage that seems to be missing in other rock bands. Their sound was that classic rock and roll, think Black Crows meets Led Zeppelin. The lead singer Keishi Ihara moved all over the stage, especially for such a small stage, owned every part of it. I loved how Keishi Ihara, the singer, did not care what anyone thought. He just performed with that classic front man style. This band is from Portland, so if you get the chance to see them, check them out.

foxy (100 of 1)

Photo By Ruben Lira

 Salmon Bay

It is a little hard to find this venue but once you do, you will not be disappointed. Town forest is a two piece band who has a great grunge sound. The singer Mark Johnson sings with heavy reverb but with a very raw sound. This is absolutely one of the better two piece bands I have heard, who do not sound like a two piece. The guitar work is great, especially how Mark Johnson seems to play with heavy delay on the guitar which made it sound like a bass and guitar are playing together. The song, ‘He Speak bird’, is a great example of the layering of the sound Mark Johnson makes with his guitar. For fans of gundge this is must see band.

Graig Merkel and The 88th Street Band really embraced their old school soul sound infused with a little bit of punk in their performance. The singer Graig Merkel has a very smooth voice combined with a little bit of punk in his vocals. What was so impressive was how every song really stood out from the others especially when the piano would open the song such as the song,Tightrope’s Edge. The chorus of most of the songs were so catchy that even if you were not a fan, you would be humming them in your head after the show. The drums were layered perfectly in every song which allowed the bass lines to really be the focus of the songs. Graig Merkel was never shy about expressing his emotions for the songs on stage. He always made sure the whole crowd felt they were apart of the performance.

The Sunset

And And And are a band that if you love the heavy blues, guitar driven rock this is the band for you. The singer, Ryan, sings with a very low tone that really added a distinction to their sounds, think Jim Morrison from the doors but a little more gloomy. The songs all gave turns for guitar, bass and drum solos. Their performance remained me of those old blues band that would play 8 minute songs, where every band member gets to have their moment in every song.

tango (100 of 1)

Photo By Ruben Lira

Tango Alpha Tango is a heavy blues band with a very distinct delta blues element in their songs that had everyone dancing, even if you didn’t want too. The singer and lead guitarist, Nathan Trueb, played a mean blues inspired slide guitar solo in the second song, Kill and height. Nathan Trueb sang with a raw blues infused voice and a primal scream in most of the songs. It seemed like every song had something catchy in it. Weather it was the keys, bass, or guitar, something had a strong hook that will make you remember every song.

One of the best bands of the event goes to the Duke Evers band. They have built a good fan base in the Seattle scene, but really seem like a band that is ready to become the next big thing from the scene. The songs scream with memorable drums beats that will haunt you. The singer, Josh Starkel, always seems to do whatever it takes to get the crowd involved, and is not afraid to show the crowd how to get into the music. Josh Starkel sings with heavy reverbs on the vocals but just enough that it doesn’t distort his words. Dancer, was the song that had everybody singing. I love the energy that the drummer, Kyle Veazey, and the singer, Josh Starkel, displayed. They really seem to play off each others emotion perfectly weather it is just the right time to solo on the guitar, or to bring in the bass drum with no obvious warning. Their songs are strong, plus their live shows are so much fun.


If you haven’t gone to this festival, you should put it on your must see next year. The bands are great, plus you can’t beat the variety of venues. If that does not convince you, the price will, which is less than 20 dollars to see over 20 bands for a two day pass!!! This should be the new holiday tradition for music fans, Holiday Freakout!!!

FunkFarm, Audioasis on KEXP and The Stranger Presented the 2nd Annual Psychedelic Holiday Freak Out which was December 12th & 13th in Ballard, WA… See you next year!




Christian Hamilton

Christian Hamilton

Christian is the founder and Editor of Rock Paper Rock as well as a freelance concert and event photographer serving the Pacific Northwest and Beyond. He is a certified member of the PPA and Gold Level member of the CPS. He has recently began working with Mental Itch Records and has launched his own Photography website.

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