Levitation Reviews: The Black Angels and Much More

It was a quality lineup that found balance at the headliner. Last Friday at Stubb’s, Levitation hosted Ringo Deathstarr, A Place to Bury Strangers, Kikagaku Moyo and The Black Angels. If you are familiar with these names, you can understand the ups and downs, from groove oriented fuzz, to chaos, to pure psych, to a blend of all three.

Everyone contributed best-of material, whether by playing classics, smashing guitars or just sticking with the hits. Click through to read a few more thoughts and view another rad gallery of photos from the fest.

…BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE. I got some bonus coverage of Black Midi at The Mohawk.

I walked through security at Stubb’s just as Ringo Deathstarr finished song three, so no photos from the pit. Apologies. However, I will say that they were a welcome start. Amazingly, this was the first time they played the big stage at Stubb’s. All the day parties, all the opening slots for touring bands, yet never here. Odd. We digress. They fired off recent material, lockdown notes and tore into some early songs. The blend of fuzzy noises, post punk, psyche and garage rock laid a foundation for what was next.

I did check out the poster show. If you are a poster person, you would be easily separated from many billz.

Let’s just go straight to eleven, APTBS was smashing guitars right out of the gates. It was as loud as I have ever heard Stubb’s )and yet possibly the quietest APTBS show I have photographed). Lead vocalist and guitarist, Oliver Ackermann, went straight into a louder the better set, throwing, cracking, shoving a guitar into the crowd, with one of his many glued back together guitars taking an out and out thrashing by song two. CLOUDS of fog would roll across the stage, strobes, all the trademarks were present. Five minutes were spent in the crowd building noise tracks and banging on another guitar. Shout to drummer, Sandra Fedowitz, who with her husband John on bass now fill out the trio, for holding down the tempo when all that adrenaline screams to do otherwise. I need a rest.

And a wonderful respite we got with the refined end of the spectrum of Psych in Kikagaku Moyo. Folk music blends with psychedelia to start the set, the band all facing each other building sound and tempo until taking locations on stage to run through the catalog. Sitar, keyboards, chimes, wah wah, several guitars and bass with fantastic percussion, this was a level setting performance that got noisier as the set went on. Firends were taken back to the KM set at Psych Fest/Levitation out at the farm on the river stage,

The Black Angels came out swinging with hits and then settled into indulgences. “Young Men Dead” right away? Sure. Follow it by “Entrance Song” and then “Don’t Play With Guns”? Jeez. How can a crowd be at once frenzied and hynotized? That is the combo. I bailed out early to get the aforementioned bonus coverage.

Black Midi is a bizarre mix of genres that results math rock-punk-nerdcore. The crowd SURGED forward on the first note and everyone on the floor at Mohawk moved like an ameoba in and out and left and right as single mass of humanity. Thankfully, Mohawk was super on it about having the negative test or vaccine card. Let loose.

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