Unfortunately, Levitation 2016 has been cancelled, due to severe weather concerns.
Winter may be giving its final blasts in much of the country this April, but it’s warm down in Austin, so of course there are music festivals. And one of Austin’s best is the psychedelic explosion that is Levitation, Friday-Sunday, April 29th-May 1st:
FRIDAY, APRIL 29th
Slowdive, 11:25 PM
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 live review).
|The Arcs, 9:55 PM
Everyone knows The Black Keys (QRO live review), one of the biggest rock bands in the twenty-first century. Singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach has long done his own side things (QRO solo album review), most recently with his new band, The Arcs (QRO photos), who came out with debut last fall, Yours, Dreamily.
|Brian Jonestown Massacre, 8:05 PM
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 the third even year in a row (QRO photos).
|Boogarins, 6:50 PM
Brazilian psych-rock outfit Boogarins (QRO photos) return to Levitation for the second time in three years.
|Twin Peaks, 5:35 PM
Of course there’s a band named Twin Peaks (QRO photos at a festival) – even before the recent announcement of new episodes. Their power-pop and wild stage antics bring to mind The Replacements (QRO album review).
Christian Bland & The Revelators, 4:20 PM
Imarhan, 3:05 PM
Indrajit Banarjee & Gourisankar, 1:50 PM
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, 11:00 PM
Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats channel not the Summer of Love with their psychedelic sound but that darkening fall, Altamont & Manson.
Dung, 9:15 PM
Golden Dawn Arkestra, 7:45 PM
La Luz, 6:15 PM
Purson, 5:00 PM
Mild High Club, 3:45 PM
Klaus Johann Grobe, 2:30 PM
Amerikan Bear, 1:15 PM
Flying Lotus, 11:45 PM
While Flying Lotus (QRO photos outdoors) might be best known for making the music in Adult Swim’s bumpers (that text right before a show on the cable channel), he’s also an accomplished producer, as well as making & playing music in his own right (QRO live review) – not to mention his alter ego, Sealab 2021-inspired Captain Murphy.
|Nicolas Jaar, 10:05 PM
American-Chilean Nicolas Jaar brings his ruminative & emotional “blue wave” to Levitation.
|Oneohtrix Point Never, 8:35 PM
Another experimental musician from a city that has tons of them, New York, Daniel Lopatin is the electronic Oneohtrix Point Never (QRO photos at a festival).
|Shabazz Palaces, 7:05 PM
Hip-hop collective Shabazz Palaces hail from Seattle (QRO photos at a Washington State festival) – that’s why their Black Up (QRO review) was released by indie label Sub Pop, better known for starting the grunge sound from up there twenty-plus years ago.
Holy Wave, 5:50 PM
Federale, 4:35 PM
Fantasmes, 3:20 PM
The Blind Suns, 2:05 PM
SATURDAY, APRIL 30th
Animal Collective, 11:30 PM
Amongst the main highly praised experimental acts at Levitation, none is more highly praised or as experimental as Animal Collective (QRO photos at a festival). 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion (QRO review) got the kind of praise that makes one sick of a band (though it was certainly an improvement on their prior release, Strawberry Jam), and though 2012’s Centipede Hz was called a bit of a repeat by some (QRO review), this year’s Painting With (QRO review) is a revived stance. By this time, the electronics-and-more collective is commonplace, but this Baltimore outfit (QRO photos) still rule the roost (QRO live review). Like a lot of electronica, however, they do struggle live outdoors (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), but should do better at night (QRO photos at a festival in the evening).
|Brian Wilson, 9:35 PM
Brian Wilson (QRO photos) is arguably the greatest creator of popular music since rock found roll. Frontman for the iconic Beach Boys, he made pop hits in the sixties while innovating unorthodox composition, arrangement, and recording techniques. His pinnacle was 1966’s Pet Sounds, and his collapse making follow-up Smile is one of the seminal rock stories, overwork and the highest of follow-up pressure leading to deteriorating mental health, with which Wilson retreated from The Beach Boys.
More recently, Wilson (QRO photos) recovered and even faced down Smile, with Grammy wins for both 2004’s Brian Wilson Presents Smile and 2011’s The Smile Sessions, for a record that even unfinished was an inspiration for indie music and post-punk. For Levitation, Wilson comes playing Pet Sounds, considered one of the greatest albums ever made.
|The Black Angels, 7:45 PM
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) – oh, and they founded Levitation! 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 their festival (QRO photos outdoors at a festival), after previously playing America (QRO live review) & Europe (QRO photos at a European festival), not to mention Levitation (QRO photos at Levitation ’15).
|Courtney Barnett, 6:05 PM
Melbourne’s Courtney Barnett (QRO photos at a festival) won fans like Rolling Stone and New York Times after her CMJ 2013 performance (QRO festival recap), with funny, rambling lyrics and a deadpan delivery (QRO photos). Since then she’s just gone and won fans outside of just critics with last year’s Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit.
|Parquet Courts, 4:35 PM
Bringing grunge back has been the active Parquet Courts (QRO photos at a festival), who come to Levitation Festival off of this year’s Human Performance.
Israel Nash, 3:15 PM
Ultimate Painting, 2:00 PM
Black Mountain, 10:45 PM
Vancouver’s Black Mountain (QRO photos) is a hard, heavy rock band, which, despite hard, heavy records like In the Future (QRO review), Wilderness Heart, or this year’s IV, move in the indie-sphere for some reason. More appropriate is their appearance at Levitation, which they’ve played three of the last four years.
|Woods, 9:00 PM
Like their name implies, Brooklyn’s Woods traffic in outdoor, ‘woods-y’ sounds, but add some freak to that folk with electronica (QRO photos at a festival), most recently with this year’s City Sun Eater in the River of Light.
|Heron Oblivion, 7:30 PM
Psychedelic rock comes into the modern age with Heron Oblivion.
|Lee Ranaldo, 6:15 PM
Widely regarded as one of, if not the greatest guitarist in indie-rock, Lee Ranaldo (QRO photos at a festival) has been perhaps the greatest member of one of, if not the great bands in indie-rock, Sonic Youth (QRO live review). From the group’s start in New York’s no-wave sub-culture in the early eighties, late eighties acclaim on Daydream Nation (QRO live review), through grunge-era breakthrough a decade later, from their wildly experimental outings, like last year’s soundtrack to the film Simon Werner a Disparu (QRO soundtrack review), to 2009’s last studio record, The Eternal (QRO review), Ranaldo has been maestro of Sonic Youth.
In 2011, Youth singer/guitarist Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon announced they were divorcing after twenty-seven years of marriage, and Sonic Youth’s future remains uncertain, with no new material or concerts planned – but Ranaldo (QRO photos at a fesitval) hasn’t stayed still, releasing his latest solo record, Last Night on Earth, in 2013.
Not that Levitation doesn’t have a semi-Sonic reunion, as Moore is playing the same day over at the Levitation Tent (see below). And Sonic drummer Steve Shelley has been working with both of them on their solo projects…
Kailtyn Aurelia Smith, 5:00 PM
La Mecanica Popular, 3:45 PM
Asteroid #4, 2:30 PM
Annabelle Chairlegs, 1:15 PM
Sleep, 11:45 PM
During the nineties, San Jose death metal outfit Sleep was the definition of stoner rock. Label issues forced their break-up by the end of the decade/century/millennium, but in 2009 Sleep came back, and have kept on going (QRO photos at a festival).
|Sunn O))), 10:05 PM
Drone metal icons Sunn O))) (QRO photos at a festival) come to Levitation.
|Boris, 8:25 PM
Japan has adopted and remade everything from car manufacturing to the club sandwich, and metal’s no different – thanks to Boris (QRO photos, outdoors at a festival). Along with ‘bor’ bros Boredoms (QRO photos at a festival), Boris has taken metal into whole new arenas, both geographically and musically. They play Levitation for a second time.
|The Thurston Moore Band, 6:55 PM
The center around which the iconic Sonic Youth (QRO live review) largely revolved, Thurston Moore (QRO solo live review) has fashioned a musical legacy like few others, remaining relevant for going on forty years now in punk rock, alt-rock, noise-rock (a style Moore basically helped invent & popularize), and more. While the dissolution of his marriage to bandmate Kim Gordon seems to have spelled the end of Sonic Youth, Moore has kept on going, first in his post-Youth outfit Chelsea Light Moving (QRO photos at a festival) and now in The Thurston Moore Band (QRO photos at a festival) and solo albums like 2014’s The Best Day.
Not that Levitation doesn’t have a semi-Sonic reunion, as guitarist Lee Ranaldo is playing the same day over at the Elevation Amphitheater (see above). And Sonic drummer Steve Shelley has been working with both of them on their solo projects…
David J & The Gentleman Thieves, 5:25 PM
Nots, 4:10 PM
Bayonne, 2:55 PM – QRO photos
Flavor Crystals, 1:40 PM
SUNDAY, MAY 1st
Ween, 9:15 PM
Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo form Ween (QRO live review), which had been one of the more enduring and out there acts out there, with a wide-ranging fan base more typical of jam bands. They had a jam band-like longevity – twenty-eight years until Freeman had to call it quits in 2012. But you push th’ little Ween without making them come up, as they’ve reunited this year for a handful of shows, including headlining Levitation (QRO photos at a festival).
|Ty Segall & The Muggers, 7:30 PM
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, and this year’s Emotional Mugger with his new band, The Muggers, not to mention solo albums & team-ups. And now he comes to Levitation (QRO photos at a festival).
|Allah-Las, 6:00 PM
A psychedelic band from L.A. channeling influences like The Byrds and Captain Beefheart, Allah-Las (QRO photos at a festival) have a laid-back sound faintly reminiscent of Beach Fossils (QRO album review).
|King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, 4:30 PM
They’re only eight albums in, but Australian psych-rock outfit King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard (QRO photos at a festival) are finally breaking out. They come back to Levitation for the second time in three years.
The Murlocs, 3:15 PM
Promised Land Sound, 2:00 PM
Melody’s Echo Chamber, 9:05 PM
France’s Melody Prochet teams up with Australia’s Kevin Parker (frontman for Tame Impala – QRO live review) as the dream-psych Melody’s Echo Chamber (QRO photos at a festival).
|Lee “Scratch” Perry, 7:35 PM
You can draw a direct line between the reggae of yesterday and the dub music of today, and that line is Lee “Scratch” Perry (QRO photos at a festival). The innovative producer has worked with the likes of Bob Marley, and was one of the first to create remixes of songs (so commonplace today).
|Delicate Steve, 6:20 PM
Mashing up everything from prog-rock to African rhythms to surf and pop is Steve Marion, a.k.a. Delicate Steve (QRO photos at a festival).
Quaraishi, 5:00 PM
Blondi’s Salvation, 3:45 PM
JJUUJJUU, 2:30 PM
Rotten Mangos, 1:15 PM
Caribou, 9:40 PM
Daniel Victor Snaith (QRO photos) combined electronica and psychedelica expertly with 2007’s Andorra (QRO review) as Caribou (QRO live review). 2010’s Swim (QRO review) looked to nineties electronic beats, not as fine, but still holds up – as does his live show (QRO live review), especially at a festival (QRO photos at a festival). He comes to Levitation (QRO photos at a festival) behind 2014’s Our Love, the Juno winner for Best Electronic Album last year.
|Super Furry Animals, 8:10 PM
Coming to Levitation is The Super Furry Animals (QRO spotlight on). The Welsh group (QRO photos headlining a festival), fronted by Gruff Rhys, brought the psychedelics and electronic experimentation to British guitar rock (QRO photos at a U.K. festival), return from a five-year hiatus behind the reissue of out-of-print Mwng and a book about their ascent to fame, Rise of the Super Furry Animals.
|Royal Trux, 6:40 PM
Seminal nineties alt-rock duo Royal Trux always drew from the dirtier side of things before their 2011 break-up. Neil Michael Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema went on to do their own things, Hagerty as The Howling Hex and Herrema as RTX, but last fall reunited, and now come to Levitation.
Chicano Batman, 5:25 PM
Magic Wands, 4:10 PM
Drinking Flowers, 2:55 PM
Cellar Doors, 1:40 PM
KICK OFF EVENTS – THURSDAY, APRIL 28th
The Mohawk (outside)
Chelsea Wolfe, 9:45 PM
Pinkish Black, 8:45 PM
The Well, 7:45 PM
Blaak Heat, 6:45 PM
The Mohawk (inside)
Vinyl Williams, 1:00 AM
Troller, 11:45 PM
Silk Rodeo, 10:30 PM
A Dead Forest Index, 9:15 PM
Single Lash, 8:00 PM
Quintron & Miss Pussycat, 12:45 AM
Coathangers, 11:45 PM
Levitation Room, 10:30 PM
Death Valley Girls, 9:15 PM
The Committee To Keep Music Evil
Mystic Braves, 1:00 AM
The Veldt, 12:00 AM
The Turns, 11:00 PM
Sugar Candy Mountain, 10:00 PM
Floorian, 9:00 PM
The Reverberation Appreciation Society
The Night Beats, 10:00 PM
The Golden Dawn, 8:30 PM
Hollow Trees, 7:15 PM
The Blind Owls, 6:00 PM
Empire Garage (inside)
The Reverberation Appreciation Society
Ringo Deathstarr, 12:30 AM
Studded Left, 11:00 PM
Al Lover, 9:30 PM
Hidden Ritual, 8:15 PM
For festival website, go here: http://levitation-austin.com/