IPaintMyMind @ Austin Psych Fest 2011 – Pt. 2
IPMM @ Austin Psych Fest 2011 – Pt. 2/2
Part 2 of IPaintMyMind’s coverage of Austin Psych fest… and we’re jumpin’ right into the music…
The Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group
This band hardly needs any introduction here, a point that was clear at the festival itself. The Mars Volta fans packed the main stage viewing area for a chance to see and experience the latest incarnation of the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez/Cedric Bixler-Zavala duo. Numerous people in the crowd muttered rumors about how an unofficial The Mars Volta concert was about to break out – just another product of the rumor-mill that is so often a part of this fringe mainstream band. Instead, the whole set meshed into one long run-on sentence, seemingly fluid and yet uncontrollable. Amid the chaos, Cedric Bixler-Zavala executed his full vocal potential as he exhibited his wordy approach. This may not have been the best exhibition of the musical duo’s prowess, but it did embrace previously forgotten or unseen sides of their talent, and evidenced the versatility of this adept group of musicians.
This is another group that has performed at APFt in the past, a Houston-based dark, psychedelic, phased out electronic beats, with heavy guitar rhythms, and mysterious, crawling lyrics (which were traded off between vocalists Erika Thrasher and Tex Kerschen). Instantly impressive and entertaining, an unexpectedly great set.
Black Moth Super Rainbow
Black Moth Super Rainbow was another group I thought I ‘d never encountered before, though the crowd that came out to support them on the second night of the festival certainly indicated that this group had some stripes. And indeed, as the group took helm on the main stage, they spewed synth-heavy dance jams that were both catchy and hypnotizing. The group clearly had a solid on-stage presence, as the energy built waves of motion and rhythm amongst the crowd. My vague familiarity with them made for an altogether invigorating performance, which definitely put Black Moth Super Rainbow in the upper echelon of this festival’s performers.
Scheduled as one of the last headliners of the entire festival, Roky Erickson’s group took the stage late in the evening on the third day. Roky Erickson is, of course, a major figure in psychedelic music’s history and culture, as well as being a long-time local celebrity and Austinite. After all, the debut album from his former ‘60s band, The Psychedelic Sounds of the Thirteenth Floor Elevators, is widely considered one of the progenitors of the entire psychedelic genre. As significant as his legacy is, Roky’s life has been anything but a cakewalk, and his difficulties have been well-cataloged as part of his myth: mental instability, severe mood disorders, and family difficulties were all hurdles that have played a part in his story. As far as his set, the group definitely put on a show, as Roky, with a capable backing band, exhibited a fierce historical voice and a fantastic set. His inclusion was a perfect way to conclude things… (almost)…
The Black Angels
Last but not least, the Black Angels closed out the festivities by headling the festival that they birthed. TBA, an Austin-based psychedelic behemoth whose three studio albums have been widely acclaimed as exhibitions of some of modern rock’s finest musical moments. Their grungy point of view is embodied by lead singer Alex Maas, who is so often praised for his lyrical and vocal capabilities – drawing listeners in with a ferocious howling echo. This bands’ success and acumen is what the entire festival was built from, and they played like it. Their set truly proved to be the crowning gem of a weekend of incredible music. Maas seemed beside himself with excitement – moments after one of the groups’ first songs, he glanced about the enormous cavern, filled with supporters of the festival, the genre, and his band, and he said simply, “This feels right,” and it did.
The Black Angels killed it, plain and simple, and it was as much a show of talent as it was a performance dedicated to a city and musical scene they both embrace and are embraced by. At one point, Maas glanced to one another member of the band and clearly mouthed “I can’t believe this,” and understandably so. The festival they themselves built had proven itself to be an engulfing tribute to a musical culture that spans a flexible genre, and brings in figureheads, both old and new, for a display of the finest caliber. Austin Psych Fest, you win.