Heaven is brought to earth for 3 days at Austin Psych Fest 2014 (Pre-Party & Day 1)
The seventh annual psychedelic festival is brought together on Carson Creek Ranch in Austin, Texas, for a weekend of unforgettable music.
One of the many dreamy glimpses of the ranch that held APF.[/caption]
Forty six years ago, psychedelic rock was blossoming in its ripest form. The Beatles had taken the world by shock and amazement, The Doors were enchanting peoples ears into something mesmerizingly unique, The Rolling Stones were triggering a raw and blues infused rock and roll, and Mr Hendrix was creating shock and awe with his otherworldly creations. The world was being introduced to a movement of music, attitudes, fashion and long hair that had never been known before. Maybe today, it is a minority of human beings that still live for this way of life, but they are there, and they are genuine about it. These people tend to pop up at the same events, recognising those same faces when watching all your favourite new psych bands. All these people then gather at modern day psych festivals; they gather all together clad in their tassel jackets, paisley patterned shirts, big brimmed hats and circular John Lennon-esque shades, and they celebrate all that is truly beautiful and magical about psychedelic music. This is not a stagnant lust for what has gone by, but a passion for what still lives on and is still very much thriving. Enter everyone, into Austin Psych Fest’s seventh celebration of ‘the good stuff’.
PRE PARTY @ The Mohawk, Austin, TX – Thursday May 1st 2014[caption id="attachment_59864" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
The Mohawk[/caption] [caption id="attachment_59865" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
The Mohawk walls[/caption]
What better way to begin a festival than with a pre-party! Both with great band stacked schedules, venues Red 7 and The Mohawk in Austin began the long weekend of incredible psychedelia. But what to do when there are two venues with bands on at the same times? It was a hard decision but we stuck to The Mohawk for evening... can’t always have it all right?The first band Subba-Cultcha got to marvel at in the beautiful half indoor and half outdoor venue, was Austin’s very own
Holy Wave. Walking into this set part way through had you bumping into people as your eyes became fixed. This band sure do know how to put on a show; blending elements of
Pink Floyd and
The Brian Jonestown Massacre all at once, plus of course, their very own full throttle hypnotic jams woven into this tapestry of sound. Shimmying quickly to the other stage inside the venue, passing by quite a few intriguing taxidermy figures and old paintings on the way, we caught a bit of the hauntingly captivating
Hollow Trees. Montreal’s psychedelic outfit
Elephant Stone were next to grace the stage outside, equip with kaftans, a sitar and the addition of a soul style singer for a couple of tracks. Playing all new material off their new album
The Three Poisons it was an interesting set, varying from soul to psychedelic and ethnic Beatles-esque moments when the beautiful sitar came out played by singer and bassist
We then caught a glimpse of Oklahoma based garage/psych rock band
Psychotic Reaction, before heading outside again to catch delight of the evening,
Night Beats! Night Beats are always guaranteed to put on a good show, there ain’t no doubt. The bands energy is next to nothing; performance style totally unique and most importantly, masters of their instruments. Night Beats relentlessly perform each song to their best capabilities, always bringing out a mosh pit in the crowd with limbs flailing sky high as Danny (guitarist and singer) bends his knees to the floor whilst churning out the sexiest guitar riffs. Night Beats are the highlight of the evening, as always. [caption id="attachment_59856" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
Night Beats - The Mohawk pre-party for APF 2014[/caption]
Austin Psych Fest Day 1 – Friday May 2nd 2014Arriving in true style to Carson Creek Ranch in what one can only describe as, some sort of old party bus with colour changing lights, blackened out windows and black leather cushion seats; a variety of people stepped out onto the dusty ground by the festival entrance. Cowboy boots, cowboy hats, ripped jeans, intriguing tattoos, piercings, tassel waistcoats, long hippie dresses; a feast for the eyes already just in the queue for the festival, the people attending were beautiful, but beautiful because they were themselves, not trying to be anyone else. Every step of the way so far involved smiles and interesting stories; there were faces from Australia, Germany, France, England, Mexico, New Zealand, Japan, Morocco, The Netherlands and so on and so forth. Everyone was excited to experience amazing music, and in being within that mentality, they were lovely to be surrounded by. Happy to help you with your bags, interested in your story and what bands you wanted to catch. Your environment really does impact your enjoyment of any performance, and the people at Austin Psych Fest were an asset to it being such a wonderful place. After taking in the spectrum of beauty that was Carson Creek Ranch; a picturesque land with hammocks, colourfully painted food vans, jewellery and vintage clothing stands, merchandise, the idyllic Colorado River and the tree with many swings, Australia’s
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard took to the Reverberation Stage. Gotta love a bit of surf garage psych rock, rich in fuzzed out guitars and fuzzy echoing vocals. Add in glorious additions of harmonica playing, 3 guitars and two drummers, what can I say, big love for King Gizzard and his Lizard Wizards in all their glory; talented innovative musicians they are and a great start to the festival. [caption id="attachment_59853" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - APF 2014[/caption] After catching the new French band on the scene
Eagle’s Gift, who
put on a good show in the Levitation Tent bringing their atmospheric psych sounds to all, it was time for a bit of doo wop and garage surf rock. Look no further, we got
Shannon and The Clams from Oakland; the 1950’s inspired trio gathered a good crowd whilst the sun was slowly fading. Something very atmospheric about doo wop infused garage rock when the sun is setting and a warm breeze glides through the air. Ahhh Austin Psych Fest... if only we could have you every day of the week. A little later after the painful realization that we had managed to miss the amazing
Terakaft, we had to move on. Time to admire the different stalls of various vintage clothing collections. They had been looking at me all day from a distance, and now was the time to leer over the endless beautiful unique jewellery displays; including handmade leather necklaces, pocket watches, various silver rings with one of a kind gem stones, and feather accessories. These and many other stunning one-off finds were lovely to see lined up modestly; the tall trees lit up behind them with colours of the rainbow. Without hesitation
Graveyard was next on the agenda. The Swedish rocker trio all with their long hair, took to the Reverberation Stage clad in their groovy patterned shirts looking like they’d been plucked out of a scene in Easy Rider. With Orange amps left right and centre, we all knew this set was going to be a good one; all in need of some downright dirty bluesy krautrock, Graveyard put on a great show, displaying their expertise in abundance. [caption id="attachment_59863" align="aligncenter" width="300"]
Graveyard - APF 2014[/caption] No sunlight remains, in the now, rather dusty ranch; photographers line-up front of stage and the crowd gathers awaiting
The Black Lips... you can tell the band have a big following just by seeing the crowd ahead of their set time. Pulling out an energetic show, the lips of black impress but somehow don’t have the same ‘je ne sais quoi’ as per the recordings, or maybe my feet were a little sore by that point... who knows. Time to catch the awesome psychedelic electronic duo
Peaking Lights at the Elevation Amphitheatre down by the river. Nice to get a little tripped out bass-heavy atmospheric music. These two musicians are clever ones, they got a nifty set up going on and the crowd loved it. During the dreamy “
All The Sun That Shines”, their trademark guitar reverb echoes pulsed through the air and vocalist
Indra Dunis sung her whimsical melodies through the foot-tapping beat structures. Whilst all this was going on, there were incredibly beautiful visuals being projected onto the trees the other side of the river behind the stage. So many aesthetic pleasures to indulge in.
KADAVAR were next!! – we love Kadavar. Two out of the three members as tall as you’d imagine Lurch to be from The Adams Family, all dressed in black, all with weathered long hair, and the drummer with a beard as impressive as hell, this group were a highlight of the entire festival. Kadavar hailing from Germany are all that you could want from a progressive krautrock band; they have immense energy, passion and sublime oomph! Each band member as bloody good as the next, the trio played a tremendous set and their drummer has officially been added to my favourite drummers list. It’s a nostalgic feel that flows through the air around 9.30, main stage. Stars of 60’s psychedelic rock and roll
The Zombies take to the stage with their fans adoring and applauding them. For old boys, it was an impressive set, bringing back all that was awesome about their hay day stardom. Other stand out sets came from the mighty
The Black Angels and
The Dandy Warhols, who brought together some of the biggest crowds so far. I watch silhouettes of festival goers pass me by as the night draws to an end, marvelling at the calmness of everyone, I overhear two guys chatting about their love for the festival...“
Hey man, let’s try live in a world like this, I need this all the time”. I concur, I think to myself, I want that too.
CLICK HERE to read the review of the second day.
CLICK HERE to read the review of the third day.
Photos By Jo Wells