Freaky Deaky, originally a Chicago Halloween EDM festival put together by React Presents, has now expanded and joined Disco Donnie (formerly hosting Something Wicked Festival in Houston) to bring the rave to Houston. Creating a collaborative festival, Freaky Deaky is now happening in Chicago and Houston, as well as Detroit, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn. By taking the party to different cities, the event is in its early stages of expanding and becoming a yearly tradition for ravers across the country. Coog Radio reporters Christopher Kalwick and Parnia Razi covered the two day event in Houston. Continue reading to see how the first day of the inaugural Freaky Deaky went.
As the ghosts of ghouls entered the festival with high energy, impressed by the spectacle of the large stages and decorations, Boombox Cartel began their set at the main stage. Gathering people with their dynamic sound, the LA-based DJ duo played a mix of their own songs, remixes of other EDM songs, and heavy drops that got the crowd pumped for the night. Giving us a perfect flow of mellow, dramatic builds and intense drops, exactly during the sunset, the set was beautiful and set the tone for the rest of the day. Impressive for a set this early on in the day, and attracting a good-sized crowd, they were definitely a great addition to the lineup and added vibrant energy to kick off Day 1. Their set reflected their own sound and style well, bringing a balance and flow that not all DJs are able to master. Boombox Cartel sent us dancing into the night as the sun set, the LED lights and lasers came out, and everyone got ready to rave all night.
One of the most successful and growing artists of this year, Alison Wonderland took on her main stage set as fans gathered as close to the stage as possible, ready for the first drop she would hit us with. Of course, she started the set with her popular intro, that doubles as the intro to her album Awake, “Good Enough.” Remixing it with “I Want U”, a song from her album Run, this intense opening to her set got hearts pumping and everyone dancing. Building off this energy, she continued playing some of her own more recent music, with tracks like “Church,” “High,” and “No.” In addition to playing an incredible mix of her own music, she also played some popular trap/rap songs, like Kanye and Lil Pump’s most recent track. Known for the diversity of music in her sets, this mix gathered people from all different types of musical inclinations. She got everyone dancing and hyped as she would stand on the deck and talk to the crowd, looking fabulous in a skeleton costume, it was clear her fans adore her. Alison also played the intro to her remix of Virtual Self’s “Ghost Voices,” but cut it off, saying she forgot Porter was playing after her. The set was overall a little messier and unrefined compared to other sets I’ve seen her play, but she gave us so much good energy and made everyone dance. The crowd’s energy was building, as her set lead up to the headlining artists.
As a massive crowd gathered, the excitement built for the set many of the festival-goers had solely come for, Porter Robinson’s. Capturing thousands of hearts with his album Worlds, and his energetic sets since its release, he has soared to become one of the best DJs in the world. This was the set I was also the most excited for too. I got as close as I could to see Porter take the stage, and as soon as he did everyone went wild. Mixing songs from Worlds and already classic dance album adored by fans, into something even more brilliant, enticing, and heart-pounding with the progressive-House style he’s known for. The melodic, flowing energy, and House-style beats sets him apart from other DJs who simply mix popular songs with intense drops. Instead, Porter creates a whole different dimension,complete with stunning visual production to go along with it. There was nothing I could imagine that could make the set any better (other than confetti and fireworks, of course). There is no up and down, build and drop with Porter, but every second of his set is incredibly high energy as you can feel the bass vibrate through your body. His set is also more emotional than any other, perhaps because of the attachment and emotions fans already feel for his music, but also because of the unique beats and melodic flow he brings. When he played his well-known songs like “Sad Machine” and “Shelter,” everyone sang along and enjoyed the slower moments together, I looked around and took it all in, feeling almost overwhelmed by the positive energy and beauty around me. Porter took us on a roller-coaster with this incredibly beautiful and emotional set, making the crowd dance hard, hug their friends, and even cry. It was a perfect headlining set for the first day of the festival, and made me even more excited to come back for more the next day. Despite venturing through the mud and dealing with port-o-potty lines, the music and energy at Day 1 of Freaky Deaky made it well worth it. I left the festival exhausted, but ready to come back even harder for Day 2.
Following up from the fantastic set by Alison Wonderland, Porter Robinson got off to a great start with the already rambunctious crowd. He played a string of the crowd favorites, including “Shelter,” “Language,” “Sea of Voices,” and a load others. However, the set really was the perfect equilibrium when he played “Sad Machines” as the set’s climax. Here we got it all, the stage was dressed in a lovely warm blue/green light, with the constant exposure of the many lasers they had there, and the best of all, the accommodating sound system. His set had a wide range of drops, playing around with plenty of trance, psychedelic, drum & bass, as well as some hard techno. Despite the unfortunate “muddy” conditions, people were still all over the place enjoying his music. Overall, we saw a great song selection from Porter, a lot of old and a lot of new. He certainly exceeded all expectations, definitely adding more to his fan base. For a mainstream artist, he does a great job by relating his unique sound to the more mainstream EDM crowd. Ultimately though, he played a hell of a set, whoever didn’t see him missed out.
As the closer for The Rising stage, Audien wasn’t afraid of getting dirty. Not only was it a mud pit, but damn, he played a filthy set. We really got a go at the sample platter from him, hearing some of his oldest, to plenty of the new – everything just hit the right spot. We got to rave to plenty of our favorites of him, including “Something Better,” “Leaving You,” and his remix of Bastille’s “Pompeii.” When these songs hit, the crowd would erupt in a bodacious mix of love, euphoria, and joy. And just like the lights would blanket the crowd in color, his music brought the warmth with a phenomenal performance of a wide variety of genres including trance, hardcore, some classic rock, progressive house, and a touch of techno. Though you can really see exactly where his climax was when he played his brand new single titled “Higher” featuring Cecilia Gault. Coming out two months ago, it really exploded here, making the cleanest of people get a little dirty. Audien set the bar really high for Day 2, he showed us that any rowdy crowd can be controlled with the right songs, by creating the perfect exposition through his soothing yet chilling sound.