The Winter Psych Storm Tour hit the Midwest last Wednesday, and it was the best storm we’ve had all season. Spearheaded by The Black Angels and supported by the legendary Roky Erickson and Brooklyn-based Golden Animals, the evening was a much needed psych rock freakout – straight from Austin, TX to the cold, frozen streets of Chicago.

New York’s Golden Animals kicked the evening off at Park West. The venue is not the usual spot to hear psychedelic sounds of this sort but it proved to be a fine backdrop. The band played through a good majority of their latest LP, Here Eye Go, recently released via The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Austin’s premier psychedelic record label.

Their brand of slow, bluesy psychedelic rock set the stage for the rest of the night to come, and led us straight into the next set from the “Godfather of Psych-Rock”, Roky Erickson.

The former 13th Floor Elevators frontman is a joy to see back on a stage. After some years struggling with paranoid schizophrenia, Roky has been able to bring himself back into the spotlight and give the kids of today a taste of psychedelic rock’s origins.

While he’s still a bit timid on stage, fiddling with the volume knob on his guitar throughout the set, there’s still nothing like seeing him sing the Elevators’ classics like “Reverberation”, “Tried to Hide” and of course “You’re Gonna Miss Me”. The set also included a few of Roky’s solo hits like “Cold Night For Alligators” and “Two-Headed Dog”, fan favorites that really come to life with his new backing band, The Hounds of Baskerville, pounding them out.

The main attraction at this psychedelic sideshow was of course, The Black Angels. Over the past decade they’ve become one of the biggest bands in the world of psych rock, gaining popularity among music fans of all kinds. They are truly the “crossover” hit of the psychedelic scene, and if you’ve had the chance to catch their live show, you’ll know why.

As usual, the set was accompanied by an amazing light show, full of bizarre projections and trippy swirls of color.  Mix in Christian Bland’s loud, fuzzed out guitar riffs and the haunting vocals of Alex Maas, and you have a musical experience like no other. 

The Angels played the hits, new and old, and even threw a brand new song into the set. With four studio albums under their belt, they have a nice collection of songs to draw from, and they always seem to play just what the crowd wants to hear.

Favorites included the catchy ’60s sounding tune “Telephone”, the bass driven, hard rocking “Don’t Play With Guns” from their latest LP, and two classics from their debut album “Young Men Dead” and “Better Off Alone”.

A brief encore break came after singer, Alex Maas, left alone on the stage with just his Farfisa organ, ended the first part of the set by singing a bit of the ’60s hit “Going To The Chapel Of Love” over a landscape of noise and reverb.

The full band hit the stage once again for a fantastic encore medley which culminated with their psychedelic hit “Bad Vibrations” the opening track on their 2010 album Phosphene Dream.

This was my second time seeing The Black Angels in Chicago, and they somehow found a way to sound even better this time around. The performance left me with a sense of excitement and the urge to go home, pick up my 12-string guitar, and crank up the fuzz and reverb.

In case you missed this one, the Winter Psych Storm continues to sweep the rest of Middle America and Canada, tonight coming down at the Magic Stick in Detroit.

The remainder of the tour dates are listed below, and of course, be sure to make your way down to Austin Psych Fest this May to see the band play alongside one of the greatest lineups any festival has ever had. You know we’ll be there.

Upcoming Tour Dates

2/9 – Magic Stick – Detroit, MI
2/11 – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, ON
2/12 – Corona Theatre – Montreal, QC
2/14 – Black Cat – Washington, DC
2/15 – The Met – Pawtucket, RI
2/16 – Union Transfer – Philadelphia, PA
2/20 – The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC
2/21 – Mercy Lounge – Nashville, TN
2/22 – Terminal West – Atlanta, GA
2/24 – The Social – Orlando, FL
2/25 – Grand Central – Miami, FL
2/26 – State Theatre – St. Petersburg, FL
2/28 – Fitzgerald’s Upstairs – Houston, TX
3/1 – Granada Theater – Dallas, TX

The Black Angels | Roky Erickson | Golden Animals | Reverberation Appreciation Society

LIVE PHOTOS BY DAN JARVIS