The Top 15 Acts to Check Out at Seattle's Freakout Festival This Weekend: Nov 17-18, 2017

When and Where to See the Best Local Music Acts
November 17, 2017
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Witness the power of declarative yet mercurial MC/vocalist Stas THEE Boss this Saturday at Freakout Festival.

During Freakout Festival this weekend, more than 50 local and touring music acts will fill the Ballard zone for two whole days of rock, soul, hiphop, dance beats, and more. On our Freakout Festival calendar, you can see the complete schedule that's sortable by venue and date, and read descriptions about and listen to music from every artist. If that's overwhelming, look no further—below, you'll find just our critics' picks for each day. Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips.


Jump to: Friday | Saturday

FRIDAY

Bread and Butter
Seattle foursome Bread and Butter’s bio describes them as “Specializing in blasted stoner pop jams—true to their name, plain and simple. These wastoids will make you feel like drinking plentiful Tecate and just forgetting about time.” In six months, I will agree with that statement—their track called “Cool in the Water” is a total day-drinking jam for sunburns, bridge jumping, light denim, forgetting to go to work, and no problem-o classic rock ’n’ roll. EMILY NOKES
Sunset Tavern, 11 pm

Charms
CHARMS are among a burgeoning wave of Seattle post-punk groups writing tumultuous, infernal songs to mirror the dangerous times in which we live. Like some perturbed combo of Siouxsie & the Banshees and Killing Joke, the trio churn out end-time jams that bless these future ruins with surprisingly melodic panache. DAVE SEGAL
Sunset Tavern, 12:05 am

FKL
Having started in London, and now run across the Atlantic, the duo behind FKL is made up of Joe Gillick and Sage Redman, who together blend elements of coldwave, post-punk, and new school electronica for a sound that touches on both house pop and grime. KIM SELLING
Hattie's Hat, 12 am

My Goodness
My Goodness are the Seattle torque-and-stomp blues-fired duo of Joel Schneider and Ethan Jacobsen. Schneider's Verellen-amped guitar sound caves into Jacobsen's drums like a landslide. Jacobsen's totemic, ore-cracked cymbals, snare, and kick receive and reciprocate the landslide, hammering back the vibrations with sturdy balance and malt-liquored lilting. Schneider's muscle-toned vocals (See also: Absolute Monarchs) are a furnace of screams, but can switch to a bullet-in-the-heart croon in seconds. TRENT MOORMAN
Tractor Tavern, 11:25 pm

Smokey Brights
Go to this set. Do it. Do it for Smokey Brights, who are the kind of crackly and warm guitar-driven rock that you already know and love, even if you’ve never heard it. It’s that warm blanket that you throw over your head to avoid dealing with your uncle’s off-color rants about refugees. Do it for yourself. KATHLEEN TARRANT
Conor Byrne, 11:30 pm
Also on Saturday: Filson, 5:50 pm

Taylar Elizza Beth
Somehow maintaining a balance of lush cosmic haze and centering gravitas, experimental hiphop artist Taylar Elizza Beth incorporates values of theater, poetry, and electronica into her work, resulting in a heady mix that elevates as it grounds. Her much-anticipated next EP Fresh Cut Flowers (the follow-up to 2014's The BLK EP) is set to come out sometime this spring. KIM SELLING
Hattie's Hat, 10:35 pm

SATURDAY

Cosmos
You'll be hard-pressed to find a more original band than Cosmos. On their latest album, Moonshine, they combine a flurry of each band member's personal tastes: hiphop, jazz, soul, funk, and electronic, joined with lead vocalist Campana's charismatic lyrical style. The resulting sound not only holds together but makes for catchy, fantastic fun. AMBER CORTES
Conor Byrne, 11:30 pm

Cumulus
Cumulus, led by songwriter Alexandra Niedzialkowski, is likely to break onto the national scene for these reasons: well-honed songwriting chops, professional musicianship, and an ear for the occasional unstoppable, arena-ready hook. "Do You Remember," the anthemic first cut off their debut album, I Never Meant It to Be Like This, is one indie-movie make-out montage away from going platinum. Might as well hop on the bandwagon while the getting's good. KYLE FLECK
Caffe Umbria, 6 pm, free

Guantanamo Baywatch
No matter how much you just want to stand at this show with your arms crossed, dear rain-drenched Seattleite, Guantanamo Baywatch will pull you into their surf-o-rama swamp party. The Portland jungle-rock/gnarly-garage trio will make you dance to their shaggy, reverb-heavy hits, and you will wish you were wearing a zebra-print swimsuit, in LA, in the '60s. Pro dance tip: Brush up on the shimmy, the boogaloo, and the twist. EMILY NOKES
Sunset Tavern, 12:05 am

JusMoni
JusMoni’s artfully coquettish delivery creamily curls around WD4D’s disjointed funk beats and luxuriantly distorted textures. You could call it D'Angelo-fi, but then you might get laughed out of the room. However, I think there's a definite Voodoo quality to this music. DAVE SEGAL
Hattie's Hat, 11:45 pm

Maiah Manser
Formerly of Mary Lambert’s touring band, previously involved in vocal ensemble the Esoterics and loveable art rockers Pollens, and currently working on solo material “fusing the digital and the organic,” Maiah Manser is clearly a woman of many talents and inspirations. The material on her Bandcamp surveys flinty electronic tundras, pizzicato string flourishes, and chamber-pop elegance. She showcases the same adaptable and improvisatory approach to her voice as she has in past projects, looping, layering, slicing and otherwise orchestrating herself into a one-woman choir. KYLE FLECK
Sunset Tavern, 11:05 pm

Porter Ray
Once dubbed “the golden child” by Shabazz Palaces’ Ishmael Butler, the kid Porter Ray Sullivan is grown, and, as a matter of fact, has been older in spirit than his youthful face and shimmering soprano have let on all along. The late-20s Seattle MC compounds nocturnal ruminations on past traumas and altered toasts to the high life’s seductive mirage. “MLK, Rainier, shit just ain’t the same here/I fantasize of foreign flights, foreign women snortin’ white,” he raps on “Bless Me”—“may all my pain be champagne.” Ray has a lot to say, and a million ways to say it, and each verse he writes only lifts him toward the heights he dreams of. TODD HAMM
Tractor Tavern, 10 pm

The Shivas
The Shivas are K Records’ great psych-rock hope. The Portland group have cut three albums with the Olympia label since 2012—Whiteout, You Know What to Do, and Better Off Dead—and they’re mostly full of the sort of rollicking, reverb-heavy songs that flood your senses with feel-good juice. As is often the case with psychedelia, the tension between structure—even throwback girl-group-songwriting tropes—and chaos lends the Shivas’ songs their enduring allure. However, on 2016’s Better Off Dead, the Shivas strip things down, tidy things up, and write more conventional tunes, which is somewhat disappointing if you’re expecting to get your trip on. DAVE SEGAL
Conor Byrne, 10:10 pm

Stas THEE Boss
Stas THEE Boss is one half of the now-defunct but forever important duo THEESatisfaction who’s been performing solo sets rife with whip-smart, razor-sharp summer bummers. KIM SELLING
Hattie's Hat, 9:15 pm

Tomo Nakayama
Tomo Nakayama is one of Seattle’s best-kept secrets, although it might help if he made more albums under his own name! I discovered him right after 9/11 and felt such a relief that folks were writing such perfect pop songs—some guitar-driven, others on keyboard—about snow, rain, snowmen, darkness, regret, and fragility. ANDREW HAMLIN
Caffe Umbria, 7:05 pm, free

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