Levitation Festival, also known as Austin Psych Fest, started Friday at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas. Day one of the festival included performances from Tame Impala, DIIV, Spiritualized, Lightning Bolt, Metz, among many others. Here is a chronological recap of what I experienced today!
Ringo Deathstarr I made my way to the Reverberation Stage just in time to catch Ringo Deathstarr who were unfortunately almost through with their set. The Austinite trio had the crowd loving every second of the performance with their guitar riffs and harmonious vocals.
Mini Mansions The Los Angeles trio began with an amazing dynamic and sound, but it could not be appreciated over the painfully-high bass levels that had the crowd covering their ears and even leaving. With each bass drum beat, you could feel the airwaves travel down your throat and become a sonic knot that left you feeling asthmatic. Thankfully, this was addressed after the first song and our developing tinnitus subsided. The remainder of the set was an incredible collection of the band’s top songs including a cover of Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.” Drummer and singer Michael Shuman, of Queens of the Stone Age, brought an edge to the set. His serious face and sporadic, angry vocal styling when performing made the songs feel cathartic, therapeutic, and, when mixed with the vocals of Tyler Parkford, it created a perfect juxtaposition that went hand-in-hand for the remaining 45 minutes of their set.
DIIV New York rock band DIIV was one of the most anticipated acts of the night. They seldom tour in Texas, so this appearance was a rare chance to catch them live. On top of that, Levitation Fest was given an extra special surprise. The set was a near hour of almost completely new material from the band’s upcoming sophomore album Is the Is Are. The band performed the set with a sense of DIY-ness that flowed in a playful manner and added a new edge the act. In attendance was Zachary Cole Smith’s girlfriend Sky Ferreira who watched lovingly from backstage as Smith played a song about her. The hype around DIIV lived up to my expectations. Smith also dropped when the new album is being released (September) and quickly said, “Shhhhhh. Did I really just say that?” I guess we weren’t supposed to know yet, but oh well, spread the word!
Spiritualized Seeing Spiritualized was the most nostalgic event of the night. Watching band whose songs you grew up listening to since a small age brought a single tear of joy down my cheek. Jason Pierce’s beautiful haunting vocals were accompanied by two backup singers and a full band that gave their set perfect sound. The crowd attentively listened and said comments throughout the set like, “that was the most beautiful thing I have ever heard,” “I can’t believe I’m seeing them live,” and “I remember this song from the early 2000s.” It was great watching an iconic rock band onstage deliver a set that did not ruin any expectations anyone had coming into the fest.
Tame Impala The most anticipated act of the night made their way onstage at quarter past midnight. The band started off the set with one of their newest songs, “Let It Happen,” that had the crowd cheering in adoration. “We’ve been waiting years to play this festival ever since we heard of it. It’s great being here, Austin,” vocalist Kevin Parker told the crowd. Austin was in for a treat when they debuted their newest release, “Eventually,” midway through their set. Parker’s intricate pedal work and guitar playing brought out the psychedelic sound we all fell in love with. I eventually headed side-stage to finish the show, and saw acts that played throughout the day watching and singing along to Tame Impala’s songs as well–who knew that musicians were just like us, right? Tame Impala delivered a beautiful 12-song set that did not let anyone down. Their newest album Currents will be released on July 17, and you can catch them again in Austin during Austin City Limits! You won’t be disappointed. It will be like experiencing the ’60s in the new age.
Overall, Day 1 of Austin Psych Fest | Levitation Fest delivered an amazing mix of acts that gave the crowd a perfect sense of what is to come the remaining two days. Also, JuiceLand were selling the most amazing $5 lemonades that really brought the first day full circle. Stay tuned for Day 2!
If you made it out to Day 1, leave us a comment and let us know what YOUR favorite performance was!
By Diego Bermejo