Freaky Deaky Took Over And Dominated Halloween 2017

Freaky Deaky has been a Halloween event for a handful of years. From a one day concert to a three-day festival, the event continues to grow. This year, organizers went up another notch. Rather than having one festival, they decided to take over the Midwest. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Chicago, Illinois to Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, Michigan, the festivities lasted nearly a whole week. The Freaky Deaky takeover ensured that everyone was able to dress up and catch their favorite artists.

The Freaky Deaky Takeover broke down as follows:

10/26 – Kayzo – Doghouse Takeover – Concord Music Hall, Chicago, IL

10/27 – Kidnap Kid, Lee Foss, Gorgon City – Concord Music Hall

10/27 – Drezo, Klingande, Oliver Heldens – Aragon Ballroom, Chicago, IL

10/27 – Zomboy – The Intersection, Grand Rapids, MI

10/27 – Plaid Hawaii, Opiuo, Boogie T, Flatbush Zombies, GRiZ – Wisconsin Center, Milwaukee, WI

10/28 – Parker, What So Not, Dillon Francis – Aragon Ballroom

10/28 – Artifaks, Bleep Bloop, Mija, Ganja White Night, Bassnectar – Wisconsin Center

10/31 – Cash Cash – Necto, Ann Arbor, MI

That’s 8 events showcasing 22 artists spanned over 4 nights across 3 states and 5 venues. Talk about taking over!

Photo by: Ashley C

The organizers of this event truly made an amazing decision in spreading the event to multiple venues in multiple cities. They completely eliminated any weather issues with every venue being an indoor spot. The past two years at Toyota Park, patrons would have to deal with rain as well as the first few frosty days of the year, which is jarring for even the most thick-skinned Midwesterners after a hot summer. The Freaky Deaky of last year caused traffic jams as people were forced to drive or take a ride service to the event (Uber/Lyft). Surge prices for these ride services shot through the roof. People ended up waiting at nearby gas stations and restaurants. With the events being in more central locations across their respective cities, the traffic was bearable and the lines much shorter. Freaky Deaky could then capitalize on the overall spread of the “festival” while having fewer acts and less of a time constraint for booking. Overall it was a genius decision that turned out extremely well.

Photo by: Ashley C

Unfortunately, due to several of the events overlapping each other, it was impossible to catch the entire takeover. So we thought we’d at least catch something in a couple different cities to see what the scene had to offer. We caught Oliver Heldens and support at Aragon Ballroom in Chicago as well as Bassnectar and support at the Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee.

Friday night with Oliver Heldens was a great kickoff to the weekend. Once doors were open, the deep and bouncy house didn’t quit. Drezo opened with a dark set that begged to be seen in a dank basement complete with techno beats and heavy driving bass. His remixes were varied and he even dropped Lincoln Park’s “In The End” at one point. Following his set was French producer Klingande who completely changed the tune of the entire evening. His set stood out as the only one with live musicians on stage with him. His violinist and sax player (who have been touring with him for some time) are now known to his fans and both received a screaming ovation the moment they stepped on the stage. The two would tag team melodies as Klingande spun his usual brand of tropical house with a bit of a more sinister feel to keep in tune with the evening. The entire set was a bit of a spectacle with the two musicians on stage bouncing from stage right to stage left impressively playing a flawless set. The two both hit the stage for songs like “Punga” and “Jubel” and the audience was getting more of a live show than anticipated. It was impossible not to dance to the unique set, the energy in the room unmistakably upbeat.

Photo by: Fritz Blandon

Once Oliver Heldens hit the stage, the crowd was plenty warmed up and ready for more. Heldens took to the stage in costume and came bursting from the gates with 90’s remixes complete with heavy 4-on-the-floor bass. Three songs into his set he, unfortunately, had to take his wig off due to the heat, but one can appreciate his festive attitude. By the time he took to the stage, all of Aragon was packed to the brim. His set was much like that of Drezo with relentless driving beats and heavy deep house. He played a set that would have made the perfect basement set at a 90’s rave of the golden years of club kids. It seemed Heldens played more throwbacks than new tracks, but the crowd loved all of it.

Photo by: Ashley C

The next day at the Wisconsin Center was the highlight of the weekend which brought more artists, bigger acts, and inevitably a larger crowd. The show was sold out, as with pretty much any and all Bassnectar events these days. The show opened with Artifakts then Bleep Bloop who thrived on the offbeat. The show began slow but loud as the “riddim” genre has taken over much of the EDM scene. Super slow moving yet glitchy, metallic, and very bass heavy, Bleep Bloop set the pace for the rest of the evening. When Mija started, she quickly grabbed the crowd’s attention and had the whole hall mesmerized as she brought any and all genres to the table. One of the most versatile DJ/Producers on the circuit today, she brought everything from hardstyle to house to techno and happy hardcore. Mija vibed with the crowd but wasn’t afraid to take them out of their comfort zone to bring something they’d never heard, and we loved her for that. Speaking of a comfort zone, Ganja White Night followed Mija and continued to build the evening, bringing everyone to the rage zone whether they were ready or not. Their in-your-face riddim set melted the faces off of everyone in the room. The LED walls on stage at the Wisconsin center looked like the stained windows of a church. The visuals came through the “windows” making the whole center appear to be the darkest Church of Bass ever attended.

Photo by: Ashley C

Following Ganja White Night was the man himself, Bassnectar. Halloween seemed to be a fitting holiday for him to play, as he often makes his audience feel otherworldly during his sets. Saturday was no different and this was the last stop on his tour so he went extra hard before “diving deep off radar.” He’s dropping Part 2 of his latest Reflective EP in a few months, so he played a ton of new music, and even a track never before played live. His fans at the front row rail were relentlessly rocking it back and forth and headbanging, it almost looked as though it would topple over. It was one of the most high-energy Bassnectar sets we’ve heard so far. He was the perfect ending to the Wisconsin sector of Freaky Deaky.

Photo by: Ashley C

As with most parties that don’t fall exactly on their holiday dates, some people seemed hesitant to dress up, so the crowds were mostly 50/50 when it came to costumes on Friday. Blame it on the cold, blame it on the date, blame it on the weather, some people just weren’t into it. By Saturday, that percentage shot through the roof. The only people not in costume were employees at the Wisconsin Center or those simply decked out in Bassnectar gear. Costumes of all shapes and sizes came to Freaky Deaky and no single costume dominated the weekend (unlike all those damn Harley Quinns last year). Spirits were high and the only thing that brought people down was the end of the evening.

We hope that, while it is a huge change from previous years, Freaky Deaky continues these Midwest takeovers next year. Attendees had the ability to pay less to have more options and narrow down where they wanted to be and who they wanted to catch. The indoor event let girls (and guys) be as slutty as they wanted, and no one had to hide from the weather. Overall, we wish we could have caught more of the Freaky Deaky takeover. It was a huge success and few knew what to expect to find. We had a blast and can’t wait for next year.

Ashley Cizek

Went to school at UW-Madison, graduating with a BA in psychology. I hula-hoop, I write, I enjoy sunlight.

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