Austin Psych Festival (Levitation) was founded in 2008. Over the festival’s first few years it has grown from a small get together to an internationally acclaimed three-day event. The festival attracts people from all over the world who love the psychedelic culture. Our lineup for Saturday was more extensive than that of Day 1 including Creepoid, The Blank Tapes, Fever the Ghost, Spindrift, The Oh Sees, This Will Destroy You, Primal Scream, Earth, Health, and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Creepoid is mostly noise music. It falls under the realm of grunge heavy psych rock. It’s very drone sounding. In songs like “Golden String,” the band had good energy and the sound was almost infectious. However, regardless the energy on stage, the set just wasn’t something that really stood out to remember.
In contrast, The Blank Tapes were super memorable. With the lead singer wearing an elaborate outfit topped off with a sailor hat, their catchy beats and energy consumed the small crowd at the Reverbnation Stage. They were awesome. During songs like “I Think I Took Too Much” and their new single “Paradise,” the crowd had fun with the music and let loose. It was one of the more energetic sets of the day and it was wonderful.
Under the Levitation Tent, Fever the Ghost was gearing up to play their weirdly insane set. Their first song sounded like something you would hear at the end of the world. Their band members were all dressed in elaborate silver outfits and their stage performance looked like something conducted from an acid trip. Their fast paced music had so much going on it felt like an anxiety attack. There was almost too much going on. The songs would start slow, then hit you like a train wreck. It was hard to say whether they were awesome or terrible just due to the fact it all felt confusing.
Spindrift was a nice pick-me-up after seeing Fever the Ghost. They’re mostly an instrumental band and one of their first songs sounded like something you would see people doing the Irish two step to. It was incredibly fun. They had heavy use of the kick drum and many groups of fans were dancing. As their set progressed they played the “Jeepers Creepers” tune and all their songs started to sound like they could be played during an action scene of a movie. It got a little redundant but everyone seemed to be having a good time.
The Oh Sees had a pretty decent crowd and wooed them with their melodic guitar and heavy use of keys. They opened with “Web” and followed with songs including “Lupine Ossuary,” “Turned Out Light,” and “Holy Smoke.” This band carries a lot of diversity in their music going from typical psych rock influence to a more laid back soft trance/acoustic vibe. They’re creative and give off good energy, which is what makes this band something special.
Back under the Levitation Tent where the strangely appealing bands play was This Will Destroy You. This band was also puzzling. They started with a heavy intro and the anticipation for someone to come out and start screaming into the microphone built. However that never happened. Instead, the song ended and there was a painfully awkward long pause before they started playing their next song. All of a sudden, the sound switches to soft trance-evoking music with slow drone-like sounds. It was hard to tell when their songs ended and started due to the awkwardly long transitions between songs. Their back and forth from heavy to trance was new but it’d be an overstatement if it were called exciting.
Primal Scream was one of the better performances of the day. Their beats were infectious and the energy coming from the stage and fans was flawless. “Can’t Go Back” was one of the most power packed songs of their set. They’re exhilarating and exciting to watch. Their music sounds like something you would put on while on a road trip. It’s feel good music! In their song “Kill All Hippies” the sound effects were space-like and used a fade effect on the microphone to make it sound even more out of this world. They were hands down one of the better sets of the festival so far.
In contrast, Earth was far from exciting. They were actually one of the most boring sets of the entire weekend. If you felt like taking a nap or being existential this was probably the set you should be at. The long drawn out sounds on the guitar and the slow beat of the drums made it sound like heavy, almost depressing music. It was very dark. Most of the crowd was sitting down talking over them, or watching the lights dance on the trees. There was not much ‘wow’ to this set at all.
Health is a band that basically sit on their own planet. They’re different, they’re weird, and they’re intriguing. Their energy on stage is like watching pure mayhem. The vocals sound depressed but the electronic/pop sounds they integrate into their music contrast perfectly. They use the synth in a lot of their songs which give it a new wave sound. The drummer is literally insane in the best possible way and has some serious skill, which isn’t hard to notice. This band is interesting and it was worth every minute watching their set.
Lastly, The Jesus and Mary Chain were absolutely mind-blowing. Almost everyone at the festival showed up to the stage for their set. They sound more like an alternative psych rock band that incorporate dance rhythms. They’re sort of exuberant when it comes to performing. Seeing as though the band has broken up and gotten back together, it’s hard to say if they’re the same as they used to be. Regardless, they owned the stage. They would go right into the next song and just start killing it, and do that a few times before stopping the music to take a break. True rockers? For sure. It was a pretty great performance.
In case you missed it, also check out our day 1 coverage of the festival!