Recap: Levitation 2018
music
austin

WEDNESDAY

Christian Bland
The co-curator of Levitation Festival who is also the co-band leader of the Black Angels played a really laid back solo set at this super cozy no frills bar 13th Floor. His set was made up of covers and originals and lots of smiles and jokes were had with the audience. Equipped with an acoustic guitar and a reberved vocal mic, it was a great way to say hello and thanks for coming to  my festival.

THURSDAY

Ron Gallo
This trio got everyone’s heart racing during the whole set. This band is a live band — sure, some singles are cool but if they come to town you should check it out. It’s s rock band for sure but goddamn if they don’t have a lotta fun with different upbeat genres during all of their songs. And they’re not afraid to make fun of the music world and scenes and being on your phone at a concert, most notably when Ron’s guitar solo part came up and he didn’t play anything and a couple people from backstage toting cameras playfully got into his face and started taking pictures for a measure, then back to the verse. So good yet could’ve been so lame. Fun fact : the drummer looks like an illegitimate child of Ringo Starr. 

A Giant Dog
Maybe not the time or the place or the vibe or the something. Yeah, they were tight as a band but each song was forgettable and the part where 5 gals in bathing suits had a choreographed dance with the female singer, was when I went to go check out the food trucks outside. 

Parquet Courts
Good vibes here. Don’t know much of this band except it was a good time. Kinda Black Lips meets The Rapture (Echoes era). Only advice : keep the songs fast and happy. I watched tons of people ditch the show when they did the “slow kill the mood” songs. Great bassist and the drummer was feeling it too. 

Ty Segall
Award for best set on Friday goes to this crew. Loud, fast and talented, all five members went hard in the paint and didn’t look back to see if anyone kept up. You could tell the festival was under way cause this set made everyone get comfy with their neighbor and the mosh pit was flowing heavy. Watching these guys is such a hoot cause you know they love what they do and what they’re playing. All of them laugh at each other and acknowledge a job well done with their eyes and the expressions on their face. None of those slow songs either. I’m pretty sure I was one of three people who caught the very last song of the encore being teased by the grateful dead song “China cat sunflower.”

Windhand
Saw the last minute of their last song of the set and it still roared with heavy. This band takes standard stoner sludge riffage to a new level.

Christian Bland & The Relevators
Not really much to say about this. Didn’t love it, didn’t hate it. Didn’t really think much of it. Good to see Christian turned up to 11 though. Also the drummer reminded me of the one brother in “Slapshot.”

Dead Meadow
A nice night cap to day 1. These dudes played a show every day during the weekend which is very kind. The mad alchemy liquid light show, which uses multiple old  elementary school projectors and different colored oils on translucent plates to create the stereotypical 1960s acid test psychedelic look took this show to an altered state .

Russian Circles
Heavy instrumental post rock with some sweet lights.

Electric Wizard
Did I miss the bus? people were geeking out for E – Wiz but I kinda thought it was a one trick pony (heavy riff over and over, stand in one place and headbang for an hour), but usually I like that one trick pony. Maybe I’m more into horses or donkeys now.

Golden Dawn Arkestra
Fun songs , but it’s always weird when a band of 12 people sounds like they could pull it off with 4 people ya know? Also like I get it. I like Sun Ra Arkestra too, but  ya don’t gotta rip their whole “wearing wild robes and crazy suits with 5 horn players on stage” thing off. Also Arkestra in the fucking name, come on.

Panda Bear
Always a pleasure seeing Panda Bear. A lot of spacey weird dancey producer vibes. Not really much of a stage show cause it’s a dude standing at a box of electronics but the lighting was amazing as always and the crowd was all on the same wavelength. Oh except for the dude who got dragged there by his girlfriend or someone and was streaming an NBA playoff game on his phone in the back half of the crowd. Cheers dude.  

Follklzoid
This trio from Chile played a fun set for sure. Yeah it was 2-3 songs with the drummer doing a steady Can meets house beat for 20 minutes at a time while the lead singer/ guitarist basically tries out what different notes sound like through their delay pedal, but damn I had a good time. Pretty sure the only person I KNEW was on ecstacy the whole festival was the singer, who was swiggin wine and smoking cigs and dancing all kinds through the set  — was fun to watch.

Suuns
These dudes like what they do. Thought they were gonna be a lil more spacey like the records but wasn’t, which I had to accept. The set was loud and straightforward and I left during a really slow one which bored me. 

SATURDAY

Stonefield
Yes! An Australian four piece made up of sisters who can rip? Have been seeing their name a lot the past couple years and finally got a chance to watch them play. Good vibes! Sludgy enough, rocking enough, catchy enough and fun enough. I do admit I wish they played all of their songs two or three times faster. The guitarist reminded me of Wata from Boris.

The Garden
Worst show I’ve seen in 2018, which sucks cause the dudes are obviously talented musicians (drums, bass) but cop out to this depressed-glam meets hardcore thing which made me feel like throwing my full beer at the drummers face .

Omni
Fun and nice. Was 100% vibing some Wire influences (ain’t nothing wrong with  that) and felt like I should check the band’s IDs to make sure they could be in the venue. Check them out, they’re going places (I hope). 

Rotten Mangoes
Perfect music for the mid Saturday “who should I see next?” vibes I was in the thresholds of. A nice array of jammy groovy shit and mild head banging smile-bringing music. Dug it .

Boogarins
Yes! A fun dancey trippy Brazilian band. It really helps when you can tell the band loves what they do, are super humble and grateful for being where they are,  doing what their doing and Booragins won over a lotta people including myself with their openly happy stage presence. Songs are structured really well and they look to make the best version of each song.

The Make Up
Great energy, great band, great front man (who has been touring before most of us were outta kindergarten). They just brought the fun. Souls meet distortion. To the point and sometimes comedic lyrics being sung as the crowd held Ian ___(last name I forget)____ up in the crowd.

MEIN
Good vibes. Didn’t know what to expect (which I love) and had a blast. Again, when you have fun on stage it trickles down to the audience. and everyone on stage was having fun. The tunes were a little poppy.

Survive
Zzzzzzzzzzzz — when I want to see four incredibly boring white dudes noodle on synths I’ll go to the guitar center down the street.

Photo Ingrid Pop

Slow Dive
Same as above but with six people and fender jaguars.

Dallas Acid
Holy shit yes! Dallas acid is a mellllllow trio made up of a female drummer singer and two dudes on synths that make the music for your next Sassafras trip. The mad alchemy liquid light show led by lance and Dominik (I forget their last names) totally made this show amazing . V
ery wavy, very calming, very psychedelic, very good, very excited to see what they do next. 

True Widow
Still confused as to why this band gets booked on heavy stuff but hey, good times. They played the three songs I dug and a nice little set besides that to boot.

OM
I love this band! The energy in the crowd was thick with excitement as it was with some stinky sativa which made the show so rad! The trio is led by the thundering bassist Al Cesneros. At times his voice sounds like an ancient shaman MCing the opening ceremony to a human sacrifice. The drummer and keyboard player bring the heavy energy as well and sprinkle their own brand of mysticism to the mix. Again, the liquid light show put this event into a hallucinatory state. 

SUNDAY

Bedouinne
Wow. “Nice and quiet ” is my jam. She rules and played solo with an acoustic guitar. Doesn’t hurt that she can pluck the guitar very well while singing incredibly pitch perfect poetic dreamy tunes to a entranced crowd. I also like that during the last 10 seconds of her first song the sound dude accidentally hit something and turned on a modern radio-country hit at full blast which freaked everyone including Bedouinne out. 

Brian Jonestown Massacre
Never was a huge fan but I totally respect BJM. They played the hits and also complained about being jet lagged and having to practice a couple days prior (boo hoo I’m sooooo sorry you got fucking flown out to to Austin from Europe to play some songs on a guitar and sing songs for people who fucking adore you) but yeah also I think BJM is a night time band cause the set started in the day and when the sun went down the energy went up. Oh also Joel, you know Joel, the turd who “plays” tambourine for BJM, aka the Jar Jar Binks of the psych universe, just geeks me out. Whenever I see them I try to never look at Joel. Good times though, I swear. 

photo by: courtesy of the artists
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