Levitation 2018 Preview

Austin, the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World,’ is host to a huge number of great musical acts, and one of those, The Black Angels, curates their own psychedelic...

Levitation 2018 Preview

Austin, the ‘Live Music Capitol of the World,’ is host to a huge number of great musical acts, and one of those, The Black Angels, curates their own psychedelic festival. Formerly known by the more literal name of Austin Psych Fest, it was renamed Levitation in 2015 in honor of the original Austin psych rockers, The 13th Floor Elevators (QRO photos at Levitation ’15).

Unfortunately, that appeared to be the last year of the festival, as the 2016 edition was cancelled last minute due to severe weather (QRO preview of what would have been), and didn’t come back the next year.

But Levitation has returned for 2018, now being held in venues in more weatherproof downtown Austin, Thursday-Sunday, April 26th-29th:



Stubb’s, 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Ty Segall, Parquet Courts, A Giant Dog, Ron Gallo

California’s Ty Segall (QRO photos at a festival) has evolved from his ‘kick in the pants’ early work to a more effortless boot to the fanny these days (QRO photos), where he’s been quite prolific, including 2012’s Slaughterhouse (QRO review), plus 2013’s Sleeper, 2014’s Manipulator, last year’s Emotional Mugger with his new band, The Muggers, and last year’s self-titled album (QRO review), not to mention solo albums & team-ups (and doing the theme song for Comedy Central’s post-Daily Show The Opposition with Jordan Klepper). And after opening the festival, he plays it again the next day (see below).

Bringing grunge back has been the active Parquet Courts (QRO photos at a festival), who come to Levitation in the run-up to next month’s release of Wide Awake!.
Ty Segall

Parquet Courts

Barracuda, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Dead Meadow, Windhand, Ruby the Hatchet – Christian Bland & The Revelators, Relaxer, Lake of Fire (two stages)

Originally from Washington, D.C. (though singer/guitarist Jason Simon’s uncle is David Simon, creator of The Wire/famed Baltimore native), Dead Meadow (QRO photos at an Austin festival) have since moved to Los Angeles, but kept up their eldritch-inspired stoner rock, most recently with this year’s The Nothing They Need. They play Levitation for a fourth time.
Dead Meadow

Christian Bland & The Revelators

Cheer Ups, 5:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Holy Wave, Al Lover & guest DJs, Elevated Transmissions Lounge

From just over in El Paso, Holy Wave (QRO photos at Levitation ’15) return to Levitation for a fourth time, behind Adult Fear, released by Levitation’s own Reverberation Appreciation Society.
Holy Wave
Beerland, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Ringo Deathstarr, Blushing, Suspirians
Though they hail from Texas, Ringo Deathstarr (QRO spotlight on) have found more success in the U.K. (QRO live review in England), to the point of signing to a British label and even adding the ‘u’ to the title of their debut, Colour Trip (QRO review).
Ringo Deathstarr
Vegas, 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Chastity Belt, Lala Lala, Dead Sullivan
Chastity Belt




Stubb’s, 6:00 PM – 11:30 PM

Electric Wizard, Russian Circles, The Well

Dorset doom metal outfit Electric Wizard (QRO photos at a festival) brings their Lovecraftian sound to Levitation.

Chicago’s Russian Circles (QRO live review) play a sprawling instrumental metal – kind of post-rock for the metalheads. They come to Levitation behind 2016’s Guidance.
Electric Wizard

Russian Circles

Mohawk, 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Panda Bear, Geologist, Lou Rebecca

One of the founding members of Baltimore’s ultra-relevant experimental electronic outfit Animal Collective (QRO live review), Noah Lennox – a.k.a. Panda Bear (QRO photos at a festival) – broke out of the zoo and is now on his own (QRO photos at a festival), with 2011’s Tomboy (QRO review), the follow-up to 2007’s Person Pitch (QRO review). He comes back to Levitation after contributing to Daft Punk’s Grammy-winning hit Random Access Memories (QRO review), playing off his 2015 Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper.
Panda Bear
Barracuda, 4:30 PM – 8:30 PM

Ty Segall, Ron Gallo – The Nude Party, Sailor Poon (two stages)

After opening the festival on Thursday (see above), Ty Segall plays again on Friday, along with Philadelphia’s ironic Ron Gallo (QRO photos at an Austin festival).
Ron Gallo
Barracuda, 10:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Föllakzoid, The Men, Vuelveteloca – Vive Le Void (two stages)

Sacred Bones Records/BYM Records

Latin American trance experiment Föllakzoid returns to Levitation.

Harder-hitting pop-rock outfit The Men (QRO photos at a festival) cross boundaries from pop to metal to experimental (QRO photos at a festival).


The Men

Empire, 7:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Ariel Pink, DIIV, L.A. Witch – Suuns, Nick Hakim, JJUUJJUU (two stages)

Desert Daze Caravan

Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, or ‘Ariel Pink’ (QRO live review), helped start chillwave just recording in his bedroom, but has since recruited a band (QRO live review) and ventured out & onto the stage, with 2010’s Before Today (QRO review), 2012’s Mature Themes (QRO review), 2014’s pom pom (QRO review), and last year’s Dedicated to Bobby Jameson, and has kept it up live (QRO live review).

Brooklyn shoegaze outfit DIIV (QRO live review) – previously known as Dive (QRO photos) – come back to Levitation, after releasing debut Oshin (QRO review) in 2012 and follow-up Is the Is Are (QRO review) in 2016.

Montreal’s Suuns (QRO photos) are a post-industrial group (QRO photos at a festival) out this year with Felt, returning to Levitation.

Intricate guitar work and soul-searching vocals are the hallmarks of Nick Hakim.

Other returnees include L.A. Witch (QRO photos) and JJUUJJUU.
Ariel Pink


Nick Hakim

Cheer Ups, 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Golden Dawn Arkestra, Imarhan, Superfonicos, Al Lover

Influenced by the ultra-influential Sun Ra and his Arkestra, Austin’s own Golden Dawn Arkestra (QRO photos at Austin Psych ’14) is a feast for the ears, eyes, and mind, as they return to Levitation.
Golden Dawn Arkestra
Beerland, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Sextile, USA / Mexico, Pleasure Venom
Vegas, 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Matthew Logan Vasquez, A Sinclair
The frontman for the impressive Delta Spirit (QRO album review), Matthew Logan Vasquez comes solo to Levitation (QRO photos at a Texas festival).
Matthew Logan Vasquez




Stubb’s, 6:30 PM – 12:00 AM

Slowdive, S U R V I V E, Mien

Shoegaze was always at its biggest in Britain in acts like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive (QRO photos at a festival), whose members spun off into various other projects in the nineties (including Mojave 3 – QRO photos), but started a reunion on 2014 (QRO photos at 2014 festival). It’s kept going on both sides of the Atlantic (QRO live review in the U.K.), including last year’s self-titled full-length (QRO review). They finally come to Levitation, after missing the 2016 cancelled edition.

Austin synthwave outfit S U R V I V E (QRO photos at a festival) recently found big success with their soundtrack for Netflix’s Stranger Things (and came back for Season Two), so catch them in the Upside-Down of Levitation.


Emo’s,  5:30 PM – 10:30 PM

Ministry, Chelsea Wolfe, Wiccans

Is there a better act to rock Levitation than Ministry (QRO photos)? Al Jourgensen’s group pioneered the industrial metal sound in the nineties. There was a break-up that was definitely going to be permanent, and a reunion a few years later, and recently with third post-reunion record, AmeriKKKant.

Chelsea Wolfe (QRO photos at a festival) brings her drone-metal-art-folk mix to Levitation, behind last year’s Hiss Spun.

Chelsea Wolfe

Mohawk, 8:00 PM – 1:00 AM

OM, True Widow, Dallas Acid
True Widow
Barracuda, 3:00 PM – 7:30 PM

La Luz, The Garden, Tijuana Panthers – Omni, Stonefield (two stages)

Surf rock from Los Angeles, of course, La Luz (QRO photos at an Austin Festival) come to Levitation before next month’s release of Floating Features.

Twin brothers Wyatt & Fletcher Spears form The Garden.
La Luz

The Garden

Barracuda, 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Oh Sees, Holy Wave, Hidden Ritual – Tajak, Vuelveteloca, Pearl Earl (two stages)

Hailing from The O.C. (the name was original ‘Orange County Sound’, then ‘OCS’, then Thee Oh Sees, then – well, you get the idea…), John Dwyer formed the band now known as Oh Sees (QRO photos at a festival) to put out his experimental, instrumental home recordings, but over seven records has morphed into a full band and a wild live show (QRO photos at a festival). Oh Sees come back to Levitation (QRO photos at a festival), behind yet another new name and yet another new album, last year’s Orc – and Thee Oh Sees also reunite later on in the festival (see below).
Oh Sees

Holy Wave

Empire, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Dan Deacon, The Octopus Project, Butcher Bear, Soundfounder – Baths, No Joy, Botany, Al Lover

One of the acts bringing the wild, DIY element to Levitation is Dan Deacon (QRO photos). The Baltimore native (QRO photos outdoors) is a man of many talents, including throwing his own DIY festivals & tours, like 2009’s ‘Round Robin’ tour (QRO live review) with No Age (QRO live review) & Deerhunter (QRO live review). But he’s still best known as an electronic musician, most recently with 2015’s Gliss Riffer, 2012’s America (QRO review), and 2009’s Bromst (QRO review), which get wild live (QRO live review), whether with his fifteen-piece backing band (QRO live review) or Deacon standing & playing from in the crowd (QRO photos, outdoors at a festival), like at festivals (QRO photos at a festival).

Another local who’s been around the world, Austin’s own The Octopus Project (QRO photos at Austin Psych ’14) is one of the few instrumental indie bands that’s as riveting to watch as any with a singer (QRO photos at a festival). The Octopus Project return to Levitation to bring a refreshing élan to post-rock electronica, such as 2009’s Golden Beds EP (QRO review), 2010’s HEXADECAGON audio-visual project, and last year’s Memory Mirror. They’re also known for their wide range of instruments (and the fact that everyone seems to switch around what they’re playing each time), from guitar to theremin (QRO photos at a festival). And they bring come class whenever playing outdoors (QRO photos outdoors), thanks to their suit & ties – and the Yvonne Lambert’s ballroom gowns.

Young Will Wiesenfeld (QRO photos at a festival) was able to record & release debut Cerulean in only two months, after adopting the moniker of Baths (QRO photos) – and comes to Levitation off of last year’s, Romaplasm.
Dan Deacon

The Octopus Project


Cheer Ups, 5:00 PM – 9:30 PM

The Make-Up, Boogarins, Rotten Mangos

Ladies & gentlemen, The Make-Up (QRO photos at a festival)! Out of the ashes of the seminal D.C. hardcore act Nation of Ulysses came that Gospel Yeah Yeah sound, a mix of punk, garage, soul, and liberation theology that brought rock ‘n’ roll to communal epiphany, fronted by singer Ian Svenonius and including guitarist James Canty (now of Saturday’s Ted Leo & The Pharmacists).

The Make-Up (QRO photos at a festival) broke-up in early 2000 (or rather, just as NOU became The Make-Up, The Make-up rearranged and were reincarnated as Weird War, then Chain & The Gang (QRO photos), and now Escape-ism (see below), but last year reunited (QRO photos – cue the NOU reunion rumors…).

Brazilian psych-rock outfit Boogarins (QRO photos) return to Levitation after missing the 2016 cancelled edition.
The Make-Up


Cheer Ups, 9:30 PM – 2:00 AM

Al Lover & guest DJs, Elevated Transmissions Lounge
Al Lover
Beerland, 4:30 PM – 7:00 PM

Dead Meadow, Tweak Bird

Dead Meadow (QRO photos at an Austin festival) play a second time at Levitation, this time early.
Dead Meadow
Beerland, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

The Crack Pipes, Flesh Lights, The Diamond Center
The Crack Pipes
Vegas, 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM

The Millbrook Estates, Hot Garbage, Belcurve, Sasami Ashworth, Nalgadas, The Sun Machine, Calliope
The Millbrook Estates




Stubb’s, 4:00 PM – 11:00 PM

The Black Angels, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Rishi Dhir, Annabelle Chairlegs

Austin’s great music scene has many dimensions, but the band that opened up the psychedelic side of the Live Music Capitol of the World is The Black Angels (QRO spotlight on). The group (QRO photos), fronted by Alex Mass (QRO interview), bring the psych-rock of 2013’s Indigo Meadow (QRO review) and 2010’s Phosphene Dream (QRO review) to Austin (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), after having toured all over (QRO live review) & Europe (QRO photos at a European festival), not to mention prior Levitations (QRO photos at Levitation ’15). They close out their festival (QRO live review) behind last year’s Death Song.

One of the best psychedelic bands of the last thirty years, The Brian Jonestown Massacre (QRO photos) emerged out of San Francisco (where else?) have endured a tumultuous history (including rivalry with The Dandy Warhols in celebrated music documentary, Dig!) for a prolific and consistent output. They’re a perfect fit for Levitation, which they play for a third time (QRO photos).
The Black Angels

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Mohawk, 6:00 PM – 10:30 PM

Waxahatchee, Hurray For the Riff Raff, Bedouine – Sun June, Little Mazarn, Warm Sugar (inside after-show)

Katie Crutchfield’s acclaimed indie-folk project Waxahatchee (QRO photos) comes to Levitation off the back of last year’s fourth record, Out In the Storm.

New Orleans’ Hurray For the Riff Raff (QRO photos at a festival) bring their folk-blues over to Austin (QRO photos at a festival).

Hurray For the Riff Raff

Barracuda, 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Oh Sees, Pow! – Prettiest Eyes, Dream Decay, Amplified Heat (two stages)

After starting Levitation (see above), John Dwyer does it again as Oh Sees (QRO photos at Levitation ’15).
Oh Sees
Empire, 9:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Wooden Shjips, Acid Mothers Temple, ST37, Yoo Doo Right

San Francisco minimalist rock outfit Wooden Shjips play their third Levitation.

Levitation brings psychedelic rock from around the world, like Japanese collective Acid Mothers Temple (QRO photos at Austin Psych ’14), who comes to the festival for the third time.
Wooden Shjips

Acid Mothers Temple

Cheer Ups, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Al Lover & guest DJs, Elevated Transmissions Lounge
Al Lover
Beerland, 8:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Escape-ism, special guest, Kay Odyssey

After playing Levitation earlier with his old band, The Make-Up (see above), Ian Svenonius closes it out with his new solo outfit, Escape-ism.
Vegas, 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Lord Buffalo, The Painted Hands, The Risin Sun, Crypt Trip, Billy King, Rattlesnake Milk
Lord Buffalo



For festival website, go here: http://www.levitation-austin.com/