Austin Psych Fest – Day One – 4-26-2013

After about 4 hours of sleep, I got up and made my way to the Starbucks next door for some much needed caffeine. There was a cool little Mexican place next to the Starbucks where I grabbed some lunch as well (it was really good). After eating, I made my way over to the Hampton Inn next door to catch the festival shuttle to Carson Creek Ranch. Running this shuttle was, for the most part, one of the best ideas of the weekend. There were quite a few people waiting to get on, but the majority of us made it. I ended up standing next to Josh from Flavor Crystals, a band I kept inadvertently running into from the airport, to their show at Red 7, and now. We chatted for a bit as we walked into the festival grounds, where you could hear music playing in the distance.

Walking through the parking lot.The Reverberation Stage

Walking through the parking lot and the Reverberation Stage

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Ride into the Sun

After showing my wristband and walking in, the first thing I noticed was the Reverberation Stage, which is also the main stage and largest at the festival. Ride Into The Sun were already playing and their music was more like 60’s rock than psychedelic, at least to me, but was really good. I watched them for a bit, then moved on to get a mental map of where everything was. Walking straight across the field, there was a large tent set up near the camping area, which was called the Levitation Stage and was the only covered area for seeing bands. This was also the smallest of the three stages. Inside the tent, Gary War was playing, which was just one guy shredding on a guitar and creating a lot of loud noise to a curious crowd.

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Gary War

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Bass Drum of Death

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I went over to one of the drink tents to grab a Dos Equis beer. Unfortunately, this was the only beer being served all weekend, so that kind of sucked (and I overheard many people complaining about it). Cold beverage in hand, I went back to the Reverberation Stage and watched Bass Drum of Death for a little bit, who were kind of garage rock. From there, it was off to the Elevation Ampitheatre, which had a pretty cool location right on the Colorado River and made for a great backdrop with the river and trees behind it. The only downside was that a lot of the bands would end up getting blown out from the much louder Reverberation stage where the sound would come right down to this stage. When I got there, Tjutjuna were playing droning music and had 2 drummers on stage. They were actually pretty cool.

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Besnard Lakes

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As I wandered by the main stage again, Besnard Lakes were now playing. They sounded pretty good, so I watched them for a little bit. I grabbed another beer as I made my way back down to the Elevation stage to see Vietnam, whose 70’s rock sound was a bit different than the other bands I already saw. A couple of people decided to go swimming in the river behind the stage, and who could blame them, it was pretty hot out. After hanging out in this area for a while, I moved back to the Levitation tent, which was really packed, to check out Lumerians who had some cool visuals behind them. On my way out of the tent, I was kind of creeped out by an old guy sitting with his legs wide open, in shorts, off to the side in the back of the tent…gross.

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Up next were Tinariwen, who come from desert area of northern Mail and were one of the bands that I really wanted to see. Dressed in traditional Middle Eastern robes and playing music to match, this was one of the more interesting bands of the weekend and they definitely lived up to my expectations based on everything I’ve head about them. The fairly large crowd was really into it as well. I then went over to check out Suuns, but I wasn’t really feeling the music. I guess they were just a bit too experimental for my tastes, but there was a huge crowd packed into the tent.

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As the sun was going down, I went back to the Elevation stage to see Tamaryn, another band I had been wanting to see for a while. With pink hair that could be seen from wherever you stood, Tamaryn played their sort of mellow shoegaze with the river behind the stage making for nice scenery to go with the music.

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The night sky had taken over Carson Creek as Warpaint took to the main stage. This a band I first saw AS220’s Foo Fest in 2010 and one of my indie music crushes. I don’t know if it was because of more touring experience or the bigger stage and louder speakers or perhaps, just the atmosphere of the festival, but they sounded soo much more powerful than the last time I saw them and seemed to have a great stage presence. They ended with Emily Kokal doing a solo song on the massive stage, which was pretty amazing!

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The Soft Moon

I went over to see some of The Soft Moon‘s set who were playing in the nearby Levitation tent. They seemed to have more energy than when I saw them in Cambridge a few months ago. Lead singer/guitarist Luis Vasquez looked like he was having a good time, moving around the stage and rocking out with the guitar while playing their dark and noisy electronic music.

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The Raveonettes

Next were The Raveonettes, who I finally got to see live and they did not disappoint with their fuzzy 60’s style rock! I still need to see them in a smaller venue at some point though. I went over to the Levitation tent to check out the Silver Apples and uh…yeah…no. Were those kids songs? What the hell was that? Songs about “magic fingers”? Meh. Off to wander around for a bit until Black Rebel Motorcycle Club go on.

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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club finally went on at the main stage. This was my first time seeing these guys and they were great! With guitars blaring through the speakers, you could hear them pretty much anywhere you went at the ranch. Starting right off with their excellent cover of The Call’s “Let the Day Begin”, the energy level never went down. Wearing a hoodie with a leather jacket over it, singer Peter Hayes sounded good!

At this point I was pretty tired and ready to call it a night, but first I went over to the tent to see Acid Mothers Temple for a couple of songs, because I had always wanted to see them.

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Acid Mothers Temple

Acid Mothers Temple played weird, chaotic and droning music. I thought I’d be more into them, but maybe I was just beat, so I started to make my way back to the shuttle during their set. I walked by the main stage just as Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were finishing up, hoping to catch the shuttle back to my hotel before the crowds got there. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I arrived to a very long line of people who were waiting. This actually turned out to be a good chance to meet some people. There was the crazy dude who doesn’t hold back from Tuscon, a couple from Denver, and 2 girls from Vancouver. There is nothing like an event to bring people together and give you all something in common to talk/bitch about. At least we kept each other entertained while waiting for close to an hour and a half for the shuttle. Some people were resorting to thumbing a ride back. I really hope next year that the Psych Fest runs more shuttles.

The night ended with me bypassing the Waffle House next to the hotel and grabbing some junk food at 7-11, where there was a lady laying in the parking lot and an ambulance was just arriving. I’m not sure what happened there, but this was definitely a long, crazy, and eventful day. I’m wondering how I’m going to make it through this weekend, but it was a great first day.

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