FREAKSHOW 2014 – Zapping Live Report from David Basso on Vimeo.
When I get booked to perform at an event I’ve never played before I obviously don’t know what to expect. After accepting a booking in Gigors, France called the Freakshow Festival I was initially confused. You see the event which takes place basically in the woods about two hours away from Lyon is essentially a “rock concert”. What I mean is all the bands that performed this year used well drums and/or guitars. I was wondering if they meant to book the “Horrors” instead. But after a trip to their website I noticed they posted some of my videos so they clearly knew what they were doing.
The journey from NY to the venue is a long one. There are no direct flights and no airport that lands that deep in the woods. So to remind you that playing a show while an honor is not all fun listen to this. One hour traffic to JFK Airport from Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This is a 15 mile drive by the way but traffic is insane. At JFK even with Sky Priority Gold status the wait through check-in and security is another hour. Wait another hour before the flight to Paris takes off. Seven hours in the air. I have missed so many connections and have had luggage not make it on time at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport that you have to take a minimum two hour layover. In fact it costs more to take a long layover so that proves everyone knows that airport has issues. So two hour layover there. The flight from Paris to Lyon is an hour and a half. Add thirty more minutes to get my luggage and then a two hour drive to the venue at Gigors. That’s fourteen and a half hours traveling and I have to do the same thing back. Keep in mind I left Friday and returned Sunday. I’m not complaining but it does amaze me. In fact, it is always worth the trip!
The area around the festival is beautiful. Mountains, valleys, farms and a few stone homes are all in view. There are no hotels so I was staying at of the promoters house. While the house looked like it had been there for a century it was perfectly kept. Inside the old walls held modern appliances, and stone and wood flooring. There was a gorgeous deck you could sit out and look down at the valley. I could have spent a month just there. At the venue there was a team setting up two large tents, making food and having a good time already. I got some rest and returned at darkness and the place was alive. The way it worked was a band would play in one tent then when done another band would start in the other. There was also a large middle area with a strange tall light sculpture. DJs and one man bands played there when neither of the large tents were making noise. There was a backstage area on a hill with a private bar. The parking lot was filled with campers. There were tents around the hills too.
While I like all music including stuff using guitars, bass and drums when I do listen to that stuff is usually Leonard Cohen, Willie Nelson and it’s usually slow sad songs. So to see a ton of bands really “rocking out” I guess you could say when interesting for me. Let me say I enjoyed every band a lot. In fact I was really surprised how great every act was. I think the people who chose the bands are real music lovers and chose carefully because I definitely got the idea I was among some of the best modern day bands. There was one band who stood out to me called Black Bug. They really blew me away. It was a drummer and synth. They reminded me of the first time I saw Nitzer Ebb at the Ritz in Manhattan. Pure loud loud synth arpeggiating to a military drummer and very strong lead vocals. I was not expecting to see something so great so yes I was blown away. While I was watching I was very pleased to know that after the show I would have a chance to meet them and I did exactly that. They are based in Bordeaux and the lead singer is from Sweden. In talking with them they didn’t seem to think they fit in the EBM/Industrial world at all and listening to their recorded music I do agree somewhat. However, live… oh boy they are so “it”. I encouraged them to try and get that sound as their recorded sound. Nevertheless I was thrilled to find myself a fan of something new to me.
I performed last on the first night. I played a few new songs and the show went about an hour. After my show I had a nice evening and full day to just relax and meet people. All the organizers were stellar. The Freakshow crew are a friendly and very fun group who put on an amazing event. I don’t have a lot of photos from my show but the video above has a short clip and it’s worth watching the entire thing to get a feel of the weekend. There are multiple photos sets you can take a look it. My own personal set: click here. The official Freakshow blog set: click here and photographer RA²’s set: click here.
“Please leave your dogs and hippies at home.” – freakshow-festival.com
For more info: freakshow-festival.com
photo credit: François Guyon