It came and went so quickly, but we’ve returned from Austin with tons of great psych fest memories, as well as a lot of photos. Here’s part one of our Austin Psych Fest run down.
The Thursday night kick-off shows were a welcomed change from the 19-hour drive from Chicago. Austin’s popular Mohawk and Red 7 venues housed more than a dozen bands across four stages (and this was just the pre-party). Starting things off at Mohawk were Froth and their jangly psych pop. Austin’s very own Holy Wave took the stage shortly after playing songs from their recent release Relax, available on RVRB records, Austin Psych Fest’s resident record label.
Always a psych Fest favorite, Elephant Stone took the Mohawk stage later in the evening and treated the crowd to songs from their upcoming album the three poisons. Complete with funky basslines, guest vocalists, and a few sitar jams, the new ES songs were a great surprise. Meanwhile, down the street at Red 7, bands like Sisters Of Your Sunshine Vapor, The Asteroid #4, Flamin’ Groovies, and The Warlocks took the stage and offered another amazing pre-Fest experience.
Adequately warmed up for the weekend, we delved right into the Friday festivities. It felt great to walk back into Carson Creek Ranch knowing the staggering amount of incredible bands that were about to converge onto this moderate riverside plot.
The afternoon treated us to the likes of Bone Fur & Feathers and Shannon & The Clams on the Reverberation Stage. As the sun started to set we headed to the river to catch Quilt on the gorgeous Elevation Stage.
Escaping the heat into the Levitation Tent, we caught a glimpse of the French acid psych freak out that is Aqua Nebula Oscillator. Complete with electric sitars, long droning jams, and a hypnotic round object, the band was definitely the most psychedelic experience at the fest so far.
As it got darker the lineup just got better. The evening program for the Reverberation Stage included Black Lips, The Zombies, The Dandy Warhols, & The Black Angels (in that order.)
Black Lips brought their usual stage energy and the crowd matched it, rushing the barricade in front of the stage and moshing to almost every song. The band was complete with a small horn section (well, one saxophonist) and played a good selection of their hits including “O Katrina!”, “Raw Meat” as well as their new single ” Boys In The Wood”.
The beauty of psych fest is that unbelievable things tend to happen. One of which being The Zombies. It was truly a dream come true for any fan of the ’60s. The UK band seemed humbled by the overwhelmingly supportive crowd. The vocal harmonies of Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent have never sounded so good. I got chills when they played the opening notes of “Care Of Cell 44” and the Odessey and Oracle medley that followed. The set also included classics like “She’s Not There”, “I Love You” and of course “Time of the Season”. Their energy was incredible, you couldn’t help but smile watching them play. This song sounds just as good as it did decades ago, and the visuals provided by Liquid Light Lab made the experience even more incredible.
I’ve been wanting to see The Dandy Warhols live since my teen years, Friday night finally gave me that chance. The band rocks just as hard as they did in the ’90s. Their set touched on many of their career highlights including some oldies such as “Ride” and “Bohemian Like You”. As a special bonus (and a total freak out moment for myself) the Dandies were joined on stage by their old friends The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Back in the days when the two bands often shared a bill together, this was not such a rare occurrence, but quite a bit of time has passed since then and memories tend to fade a bit. Nostalgia aside, they busted into the BJM classic “Oh Lord”, one of Matt Hollywood’s best cuts from the Take It From The Man album. It was a bit rough around the edges, and they had to stop and start it over once, but just seeing the two bands on stage together again warmed my heart. Devotees of both bands should realize by now that the apparent “rivalry” between the two bands is a bit blown out of proportion. These folks never really stopped being friends with each other despite the story told in the movie DIG!. I may be biased, but this was a huge highlight of this years psych fest.
It seemed fitting for The Black Angels to help close out the Friday lineup since they are the reason Austin Psych Fest exists. They ripped through a lengthy set that spanned their entire discography. On the other side of the ranch, Liars wrapped up the night under the Levitation Tent. At this point, the urge to sleep was greater than the urge to stick around for Liars, but they sounded great from the parking lot.
So there it is, we survived Day 1 of Austin Psych Fest. Stay tuned for our recaps of Day 2 & 3. There will be plenty more photos, more musings, and plenty of interviews from Carson Creek Ranch coming soon.