Bromley (Bromel Club) : 8 février 1967
‘So This Is... Freak Out!’
by Terry Greenwood
“FREAK OUT! The magic words in pop music today. But what do they mean? First, a bit of background... Since the heyday of the Beatles, the pundits have predicted quick deaths for all phases of pop music. But it is still with us, and is definitely here to stay. But the fans are no longer content to follow their favourite group from club to club just to dance and listen to the music. The fans demand more. They must have something to look at, something to make them laugh and something to scare them stiff. And that is where the freak-out comes in. It is simply idiotic, adolescent, destructive, stupid and meaningless visual entertainment. It is the biggest con going. But, however much pop papers knock it, freak-out is well and truly in. For instance, at a place called the Roundhouse in Chalk Farm, recently, some wellknown groups who will remain nameless, but were The Who, The Pink Floyd and The Move, wielded lumps of iron and axes, and proceeded to smash up a car. Throughout what they called a Giant Freak-Out All-Night Rave, television sets were obliterated, guitars rendered useless, and amplifiers ground into the stage, creating a diabolical din. Naturally, the place was packed. A couple of girls, so I am told, enjoyed themselves so much that they decided to strip to the waist. And, oh this was great fun! Bits of glass flying about all over the place and deafening electrical whistle piercing your ear-drums. I can't think of a better way to spend and evening. What's the matter with you people? Don't you realise you are being taken for a ride? You are paying good money to support this load of rubbish. If anything, you are the freaks. I think I'll ask the local breaker if I can sell tickets for admittance to his yard for the next time he demolishes a car. Should make a bomb. But the sad thing about it is this freak-out fever has spread to South East London. And, like the other suckers, local fans are supporting it. [...] But what made my blood boil was when the King Freak himself, the one and only Jimi Hendrix, appeared at the Bromel Club, Downham, recently. The place was packed. It must have been one of the biggest crowds the Bromel Club has had. Jimi, whom I rate highly as a guitarist, started his half-hour spot off well with some good numbers, including Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone". But it was far too loud.
Lean, tousle-haired Jimi must have had his amplifiers turned right up to exploding point as he plucked one guitar with his teeth and jumped up and down on a second, creating a deafening electrical whine. Some call this "free expression". But pop music is no longer music—it is merely sounds, and definitely the sound of '67. Jimi Hendrix has said: "Musically, freak-out is almost like playing wrong notes. It's playing wrong opposite notes to what you think the notes should be. If you hit it right with the right amount of feedback [electrical whine] it can come up very nice." And he should know. For, with these "sounds", Jimi climbed high in the charts with "Hey Joe", a record, I must admit, I think is great.