I didn’t get much sleep but I was ready for the first day of Austin Psych Fest! This is my second year going and it’s a little easier since I have a better idea of what to expect. The new shuttle bus stop was located about a block from my hotel, between the Hampton Inn and Microtel. I ended up chatting with a couple of people who were also waiting and found out that we had missed the shuttle by 5 minutes. About 25 minutes later the bus finally arrived to pick up the now sizable crowd and take us to Carson Creek Ranch. I always love this part, because everyone is excited, very friendly, and talkative (this would never happen in Boston).
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard
We finally arrived at Carson Creek Ranch where there was a bit of a line to get in, but once through the gates, the layout was pretty much the same as last year, with the exception of a fenced off area on the side of the main stage for those who opted for the deluxe ticket upgrade. Honestly, I didn’t see anything that made it worth $100 extra other than maybe nicer bathrooms. As I walked by the main stage, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard were playing and I watched them for a couple of songs before making my way down to the Elevation Amphitheater to see Quilt.
Quilt are a band from Boston, that strangely, I haven’t had a chance to see yet, but today I did and they were great! They played a pretty mellow indie rock set that went nicely with the afternoon and the river behind them. By the end of their set, I was pretty hungry, so I found some food in the form of pulled pork on Texas toast which was amazing!
While eating, a guy sitting across me and a new friend was telling us about Terakaft, so we made our way down to the river stage to see them. This band is from Mali, Africa. It is hard not to draw comparisons to last year’s Psych Fest headliners Tinariwen. Their sound is similar with Middle Eastern influences. A lot of people walked away impressed.
Aqua Nebula Oscillator
I made my way over to the Elevation Tent for the first time of the day and caught Aqua Nebula Oscillator. who were playing some crazy music.
From there, I went back to the main stage to see Graveyard, who had a bluesy, psych rock sound. I was really liking this band and it seemed a lot of other people did too, since I heard a lot of talking about these guys and how much they enjoyed them.
I went back to the Levitation Tent and watched White Hills. They were really awesome psych rock and had a pretty good sized crowd in the tent to see them.
As the sun was going down, the Black Lips were on the Reverberation Stage. I really like these guys, but wasn’t really feeling it at this point, so I wandered around some more. I ended up at the really dark Elevation Amphitheater to watch Peaking Lights‘s really, really visual set. By that, I mean the images projected onto the trees behind the stage were really cool and trippy. This is always one of the best places to be at night.
I made my way back to the Levitation Tent for Kadavar, who totally blew me and the rest of the large crowd away! In fact, this was probably one of the best sets of the day. Everyone (including a random guy in front of me at the Frank’s Hot Dogs stand) were talking about them. Kadavar were like hair metal with a tinge of the psych sound. They completely rocked the tent!
I grabbed what would be my first beer of the day (after multiple vodka based drinks with names that were embarrassing to say out loud), a Newcastle Brown and waited near the main stage for this year’s classic psych band…The Zombies. The Zombies sounded really tight and lead singer Colin Blunstone’s voice sounded practically the same as it did in the 60’s. They did “Time of the Season” and ended with “She’s Not There”, both of which sounded great through the loud sound system! Their set seemed kind of short though.
I went back to the tent because I wanted to see La Femme, who were already playing. This French band completely had the crowd sucked in with a very high energy set. Lots of dancing on stage, sometimes in sync, sometimes not. One band member handed the keyboard to the crowd then proceeded to stand on it, surfing through the crowd. This band’s live show is really something to see! Another of my favorite sets of the day.
The Dandy Warhols
The Dandy Warhols were on next. Despite multiple attempts in the past, I never had a chance to see them live, but now I have and they were amazing! At one point, Anton Newcombe and Matt from Brian Jonestown Massacre came out to sing “Oh Lord“. This totally surprised the crowd (and if you have ever seen the Dig! documentary, you know why). I was totally blown away!
I went back to the tent to see Brown Sabbath, who are actually a Latin band from Austin called Brownout, who did some funky Black Sabbath covers. They were a last minute replacement for Oneohtrix Point Never, who had to cancel due to an injury. Songs like “Warpigs” and “Iron Man”sounded really cool all funked out with a horn section that had the crowd dancing and it was amazing!
The Black Angels
The Black Angels were on next and I caught a little bit of their set. but It had been a very long day. I left during their set to catch the shuttle back to the hotel for some much needed sleep and to take on day 2!