Review: Austin Psych Fest 7 Kickoff at The Mohawk in Austin 5-01-2014

After attempting to go to bed early and not getting any sleep due to being excited for the trip to Austin, I got up at 3:30am to catch a (delayed) flight from Boston for my second year of going to the Austin Psych Fest. I arrived in Austin around noon, grabbed my luggage, and caught the hotel shuttle to the Courtyard Marriott near the airport, which is convenient for taking the festival shuttle during the weekend. Once settled, I went over to a place I discovered last year called Javi’s Best of Tex Mex in the plaza next door for some much needed food which was delicious! Back to my room for a short nap before heading to downtown Austin.

Javi's Tex Mex

Javi’s Tex Mex

Freshly showered, I took the hotel airport courtesy shuttle back to the airport to catch a bus into downtown Austin, since it seemed like a pain to figure out how to transfer on the only bus that does go near the hotel. I got off at 4th and Congress and walked down to Empire Automotive on 7th, where there was a pretty long line already, to pick up my festival wristband (which also gets you into the kick off show at the Mohawk, unless you opted for the “deluxe” festival pass that also gets you into Red 7, where there was a really long line). From there, I walked around the area a bit, then went over to the Mohawk, where it was really crowded. I probably should have left earlier. That place has such a crazy layout, with multiple levels outside but a very small and cramped inside stage.

Elephant Stone 1Elephant Stone 2

Elephant Stone

Elephant Stone were already playing on the outside stage. This was one of my favorite bands from last year’s festival and I was happy to see them again. They were playing some new stuff, which they said would be out in September and it all sounded good. At this point, I needed a beer, so I headed up to the 3rd level bar and tried something called Firemans #4 Ale, which was really good. I made my way back down to the first floor while Night Beats were getting set up.

Outside 3

The line to get into the Mohawk

Crowd 2Crowd 1

Outside stage viewing areas

I decided I should probably get some earplugs since I left mine back home in Boston. I asked one of the many bearded bartenders about earplugs and after being given a funny look, was told they don’t sell them there. Seriously? This place is really loud. I went ahead and ordered another drink based on a sign hanging up behind the bar, which was Sailor Jerry mixed with ginger brew and Dos Equis. This turned out to be a pretty potent combination that really kicked my ass. At this point, I was trying to avoid all of the smokers (and there are a LOT of them in Austin) so that I don’t come down with laryngitis like I did last year. I went upstairs and had a nice viewing spot that allowed me to see the stage as well as the now very long line to get in.

Night Beats 1Night Beats 2Night Beats 3Night Beats 4Night Beats 5

Night Beats

Night Beats went on and absolutely killed it! They played very loud set of what seemed to be a cross between psych and garage rock, which got more than a few people to mosh and crowd surf. This set was very energetic and insane!

Crowdsurfer 1Crowdsurfer 2

People crowdsurfing

I finished my 3rd beer which was another Firemans #4, then left the Mohawk since it was too crowded at the inside stage, so I set out to find some much needed food. I couldn’t find anything that was portable enough to bring back to my hotel, so I managed to flag down a cab, which only took about 10 minutes compared to 2 1/2 hours last year. The driver got lost getting me back to the hotel and asked me to look up the address. Austin really needs Uber or Lyft or some alternative to their terrible taxis. $33 later, I was back in my room with a couple of slices of 7-11 pizza, which sounded like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight, wasn’t. Now, to get some much needed sleep before Psych Fest officially starts tomorrow.

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