The second day of Austin Psych Fest was even better than the first. Beautiful weather, a full day of bands, and plenty of good beer and food to be had. We got there early and took some time to take in the sights and enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the ranch. Starting the day off slow would pay off come midnight when we could all barely stand on our own two feet. Without further ado, here is our recap of Day 2 of Austin Psych fest.
*Click any photo to view the entire collection as a slideshow*
Early in the afternoon we caught sets by Barn Owl, Pure X, and few others. Relaxing by the river to the ambient electronic sounds of Barn Owl was great but Pure X brought some much needed energy to the Reverberation Stage.
As the day went on, we were treated to an amazing set under the Levitation Tent from the French electro-pop duo ZOMBIE ZOMBIE. The band is most well known for their reinterpretations of John Carpenter’s classic horror themes. That being said, their original tunes are just as fun and danceable.
Back on the river stage was Dutch baroque-psych-pop artist Jacco Gardener. Everyone flocked to catch this set including Christian Bland of The Black Angels and Joel Gion of The BJM. Shortly after was seminal Austin psych-rock act The Golden Dawn. Hailing from the late ’60s, The Golden Dawn put out an incredible psychedelic album called Power Plant in 1968. Unfortuntely, the album was overshadowed by the success of the 13th Floor Elevators at the time, since then it’s become a bit of cult classic in the psych community. Singer/guitarist George Kinney took to the stage as if no time had passed and played through a set of songs new and old. His voice and stage presence is still incredible after all of these years.
A handful of bands reprised their appearances from last years festival but possibly one of the most popular returning guests was the white bull. At least it started off write, by the end of the fest this blank canvas will have been filled with dozens of drawings and messages from festival goers.
Saturday evening is when the lineup really got great. It was pretty hard to choose between Dead Meadow, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and MONO, each of whom were playing right around the same time.
However, there was no way I was missing MONO. The Japanese instrumental band has been a favorite of mine for years and it was an incredible experience to finally see them live. Their music runs the gambit of slow, contemplative and ambient but quickly escalates into an all-out noise jam.
Every time I thought the band’s set was coming to close they played another song. They’re truly one of the best instrumental bands around today.
At this point the evening was in full swing, we floated around and caught the tail end of a few other sets before settling in for The Horrors on the Reverberation Stage.
The UK group just released their 4th full-length LP and have only gotten better each year they are active. Their set at psych fest was an impressive mix of songs from their 2012 album Skying as well as earlier tracks and the catchy “I See You”, the first new single from their new LP Luminous.
Closing out the main stage Saturday night was the one and only Brian Jonestown Massacre. The band’s tempestuous reputation is often what first comes to mind for the casual BJM fan. However, over the last decade or so, the band has come to terms with their on-stage aggression and remained one of the most incredible live acts in all of music. They took the stage amidst a murmuring crowd that was no doubt calling to mind video footage from BJM’s past and wondering if they were going to explode on stage like they used to.
The set went off without a hitch, and seemed a bit abridged given the fact that the last time I saw the band live they played for over 2 hours. The Reverberation stage had been running a bit behind all weekend but it was a shame for a band like The Brian Jonestown Massacre to get cut short. Brevity aside, they pounded through classics like “When Jokers Attack”, “Oh Lord”, “Who” and the brilliant new track “Days, Weeks, & Moths”. As if that wasn’t enough, they even debuted 2 songs they had never played in front of a live audience, Anton Newcombe’s melancholic and personal “The Devil May Care (But Mom & Dad Don’t)” and Matt Hollywood’s bluesier track “No Come Down”. For fans of the band, it was hard to hold back the smiles and the shear enjoyment of their set.
The second night of the fest ended well after midnight on Saturday. Of Montreal’s prolific psych pop stylings wrapped things up under the Levitation Tent in true fashion.
Saturday was a beautiful day capped off by an even better night, that left me with a sense of awe. The opportunity to see so many truly remarkable bands in such an amazing setting is what Austin Psych Fest is all about. Leaving behind one of the worst winters in Chicago history to enjoy the 80 degree weather of Austin certainty helped my appreciation of the fest as well. Even after all the this incredible live music, there was still one more day to enjoy. We’ll leave you for now with this shot of the moon over the Levitation Tent. Check back soon for our final recap of Austin Psych Fest, only one more day to go but we’ve got plenty more to offer.
Don’t forget to check out our recap of the APF Kick-off parties and Day 1 in case you missed it!
PHOTOS BY DAN JARVIS