All photos by Lindsay Krause
Future music lovers taking flight for April’s LEVITATION Festival (Formerly Austin Psych Fest, April 29th-May 1 at Carson Creek Ranch) were treated to a Saturday preview of the upcoming celebrations. Red River Street’s The Mohawk hosted no less than 8 impressive sets this past Saturday for Austin’s Free Week, including a closing time travel bash with Golden Dawn Arkestra. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to float away for a bit.
Starting off the night were the daydream sounds of Austin trio Moving Panoramas. Their attention grabbing melodic tales sounded smooth as velvet, and the three piece all girl band charmed the crowd early in the evening. During “One” (also the title of their new October 2015 LP out on Modern Outsider), lead singer Leslie Sisson cooed “We all know one is the number, we all fear the most”. You can catch them again this Saturday at the KUTX Winter Jam at AGBG.
The first indoor show of the night was packed as Austinites Golden Graves took the stage. Continuing the hazy and deliciously distorting vibes set by the previous performance, the four piece enchanted the intimate space with a slurry of what could be music to break up with your girlfriend while drinking 40s in the graveyard, maintaining a steady flow that rolled in and crashed sweetly like the tide. Look out for their upcoming KUTX broadcast on the 24th.
Christian Bland and the Revelators
The Black Angels guitarist was joined by Revelators Chris Catalena on organ, Bob Mustachio on drums (who has also played with LA’s The Warlocks), and Luke Dawson on bass to lay down a tight set fresh off of last month’s new split EP release (which included Chris Catalena & The Native Americans.) The spirit of The Reverberation Appreciation Society was very much alive and well, with the group delivering quaking and hypnotic rock and roll that’s sure to please any levitators. The Black Angels are set to play a few festivals this summer, including (of course) Levitation, as well as Atlanta’s Shaky Knees in May.
Feb Bassist/Vocalist Alex Gehring “whose delicate voice echoes eerily over the spectral, otherworldly chords that plunk underneath” (via RVRB) serenaded outdoor Mohawk attendees next. The 2015 Levitation alumni released their 5th studio album, Pure Mood on The Reverberation Appreciation Society last month, solidly balancing shape-shifting drones, garage grit and elegantly delivered lyrics. The band will play one more date in Austin at Barracuda Feb. 15th, before heading overseas for Cosmosis Festival and a UK tour.
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Rounding out an already striking lineup was the incredibly elaborate and funky Golden Dawn Arkestra. Their grand entrance, cascading down both of Mohawk’s outdoor staircases as they made their way to the stage (complete with ornate and fragrant incense vessels ) invited the crowd into their mysterious world. “I want to remind you, this is your only option. Respect your option” mastermind and member Topaz McGarrigle (aka Zapot Mgwana) encouraged everyone as their dance fueled interstellar vibrations infected the air. Golden Dawn is one of the most enlivening and illuminating music experiences around these days, inspired by the transformative and avant-garde jazz message of Sun Ra, and packing a very stimulating visual component with their glittering costumes and performance art. The closing act certainly edged anyone planning to attend April’s festival closer to to ecstatic anticipation, foretelling the divine traveler’s tale on their site, “Awaiting the return of their divine solar mandjet. They convey the signal in song as they look towards the skies for a sign of the coming light.”
Also playing were Hidden Ritual, Indian Jewelry, Isaiah the Mosaic, and Bali Yaaah.
Weekend passes for Levitation Festival are available for purchase here. Notable headliners on this year’s bill include Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, Animal Collective, Ty Segall, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre.