Members of Minneapolis\’ jam band Roster McCabe.[/media-credit]

Macadelic Mac Miller: Pittsburgh rapper to headline Capitol Stage

Not all of us can relate to growing up in Pittsburgh, rapping with Pharrell or releasing a mixtape at age 15. But we can all relate to being 20, smashing bottles of Hennessy and secretly loving Bright Eyes. It is this unexpected combination we find in Mac Miller, the headliner of Freakfest’s Capitol Stage. Perhaps best known for making “frat rap,” Mac Miller has nonetheless been invited to bring hip-hop to a festival that has previously been lacking in the genre. While bros and Halloween hos alike will delight in hearing such hits as “Loud,” “Knock Knock” and “Donald Trump,” his more sober and somber tracks like “Thoughts From A Balcony” and “The Question” may sneak their way in as well. With the Freakfest set one of the few performances the rapper has slated for the rest of the year, it’s definitely worth checking out, even if just to watch your costumed brethren attempt to drop lines in time.

Hometown heroes Grand Theft Portal win Battle of the Bands slot

This year, Freakfest opened up a slot on its Frances Street stage to an online Battle of the Bands contest, encouraging Madison area musicians of all stripes to submit their best tracks. When the votes were in, Madison’s Grand Theft Portal was declared the winner. We caught up with the band’s drummer, University of Wisconsin student Tyler Quinn, to get to know Grand Theft Portal a little bit better.

According to Quinn, it all started with prom.

“Back in high school me and the [lead singer Jake Ramos] got together to play for a prom,” he said. “Then the next year we added our guitarist Justin Clay, and then this year we picked up our other guitarist [Ramon Morales] and a new bassist [Damien Smith] and we’ve kind of been sticking with that lineup since.”

Grand Theft Portal, or GTP as they’re known to fans, have officially been together since 2010, but according to Quinn, “We’re a different band now than we were back then.” Today, their sound is post-grunge. “A lot of people say it’s like a combination of Breaking Benjamin and Incubus,” Quinn said.

Though the Battle of the Bands process involved “a lot of self promotion,” the band garnered more than 5,400 votes and beat the runner-up by more than 400. “We hoped for the best and we ended up getting it,” Quinn said.

The Freakfest show won’t be GTP’s first in Madison, as this summer they played The Regent Street Retreat, The Rigby and The Frequency, but it will give them a chance to play their recent album, Torn, to a new audience and an opportunity to film a music video for their single “Tear.”

While Quinn was confident many GTP supporters would be at the show, he welcomed new listeners as well. “We just want everyone to come out and see us on Saturday,” he said. To find out just what pushed GTP ahead of the competition, check them out at the Frances Street Stage at 8:30 p.m.

Roster McCabe to get Frances Stage jamming into the wee hours

To be a jam band, you need a guitar or two, wandering bass lines and the ability to improvise. Having unconventional hair helps too. Luckily, Freakfest’s Frances Street headliners, Roster McCabe, have all of this and more. The five-piece jazz/funk/rock/reggae band from Minneapolis will be continuing their non-stop tour with a set that promises to get your head swaying, and not just from alcohol consumption. If you dig Phish, EOTO or Umphrey’s McGee, chances are you’ll find a Roster McCabe jam you can lose yourself in for 10 or so minutes. And after last week’s defeat of the Gophers, there’s no reason not to extend your musical goodwill to your noodling northern neighbors.