Trippin’ Out in TX: A journey through Texas’ psychedelic music scene
Located directly underneath the outbound flightpath of the Austin-Bergstrom international airport, you can only wonder what Austin Psych Fest looks like from the window seat of a rising flight. Three stages, camping grounds, an oceanic parking lot, thousands of attendees dressed either very well or totally out—from above, Psych Fest must look like some weird, bohemian retreat out by the Colorado River. From the ground, that vibe isn't too far off.
Photo Credit: Jaime Monzon
Atlanta's Black Lips have never stopped being a party band. The parties they're soundtracking are just growing bigger, ballooning to main stage, large print status. In Psych Fest form, the Lips stretched out a little longer, heavier, branching out from their garage-punk roots. To get them to their tripped-out destination, the quartet brought a mic geared up with layers of reverberation and delay, tossing the thing between bassist Jared Swilley and guitarist Cole Alexander on "Hippie, Hippie, Hooray
." But the tool truly shines when it's fueled by Alexander's voice, a harsh, gristly number that hangs on the perpetual state of cracking. With the reverb/delay mic in hand, Alexander sang some bizarre, hawk-meets-grackle sounds, moving away from the mic to cast the effects over the audience.
If there was a theme to UK pop forefathers The Zombies set on the main stage, it was "Here's this famous song you might know by [insert artist], it's actually our song." "Tell Her No," "She's Not There," "Time of the Season"—The Zombies' catalogue is so deeply ingrained in the pop culture landscape that hearing their material live is like flashback to some memory you never actually experienced. Aside from that déjà vu feeling, the most enthralling part of The Zombies' live set is singer Colin Blunstone's powerhouse voice, an instrument that isn't expressed in its full power on their recorded works.
Video: The Zombies - "She's not There," Hullabaloo 1965
This paragraph goes out to the band called Woods, performing on the Elevation Amphitheater adjacent to the Colorado, and the actual woods on the opposite side of the river. Woods, the band, played their style of cerebreal, spaced-out indie rock, pulling from their new release With Light and with Love
'09 opus Songs of Shame.
Woods, of the hundred acre
variety, acted as the canvas for an extraordinary light show broadcast from behind the stage. Doubled on the dark waters of the Colorado at night, the woods/water light show looked like a digitally decayed version of the early 2000's Windows Media Player visualizer
The Black Angels
Fans of their music, the interminably stoned and the appreciators of The Black Angels' feat of growing Psych Fest into an international destination (so many accents and languages overheard) with reasonable, $7 parking—they all packed the main stage to hear the psychedelic sounds of Austin's eminent psych band.