Levitation Festival – Wrap Up

And just like that, Levitation 2022 has come and gone as fast and powerful as a Slift guitar interlude. With absolutely no remorse for ear drums, the entire billing unconditionally brought their fucking A game. Earsplitting, breakneck, and with style points in spades, this years fest was one for the record books. 2 nights of Gizz, 4 nights of the Osees, La Femme and Black Angels closing things out, what is not to like? If you were following along, your ATH crew enlisted amongst the thronged masses in the Red River Cultural District this weekend to get a massive dose of culture. We spread out as much as possible over the weekend and below are our major takeaways and favorite shows you should be listening to and seeing live if you get the chance. Until next time, hit the jump.

Nathan.Lankford Top Bands

Hunx and His Punx, Pale Dian, and Blushing. It’s always fun to see Hunx, and seeing Shannon out there enjoying herself onstage was really nice to see; I maybe could have asked for stronger sound, but not sure who that falls on. . The shoegaze/dreampop due of Pale Dian and Blushing just brought noise and melody, and reminded me that although they might not carry the hype and adoration of the local scene, that doesn’t mean they’re not two extremely powerful forces in their craft.

Nathan.Lankford Final Thoughts

First. King Gizzard is a jam band for folks who loved that Dragonforce song on Guitar Hero. I tried to get into it while waiting for Bernardo Sanders to come, but just not my personal bag. Just tell your friends you’re one step away from being into Phish; they won’t judge you. Honestly, this festival continues to be a highlight. Every year, they grab from all different areas under the psychedelic umbrella, and we’re always getting the reward. The current format does make it harder to see all the bands on a budget, but definitely rewarding for the show you do hit up. Also, the Austin scene came strong. Pale Dian, Grivo, Troller, Black Angels, Blushing…not a single one of those bands didn’t punch above their weight class. If you held a gun to my head, I might even go out on a limb and say the Austin acts were the bands of the weekend.

J.Wagner Top Bands

Although I only caught a lowly 7 acts over the weekend, ending early Saturday with a damn near perfect Heartless Bastards set, the one performance that lingered for me was Australias own Psychedelic Porn Crumpets. Having heard of their live prowess in advance of the show, I knew it was one performance that was not to be missed. Luckily for all attendees, (and unluckily for any photogs as it is a brutal place to cover) Mohawk was the chosen venue. In my opinion, this was the absolute perfect selection for what ultimately turned out to be a tightly packed convulsing mass of bodies throughout their hour-long set. The intimacy of the venue paired with PPCs colossal, unapologetic in-your-face shredding was the absolute pinnacle in a weekend of highlights. Next time I am dropping the camera and jumping in the mosh. It looked like a fucking blast and perfectly summed up what Levitation is in one fell swoop.

J.Wagner Final Thought

Hot damn. Insane kudos are due to the staff at Levitation. It is safe to say that the event is rapidly becoming one of the most superbly curated festivals in the world these days. Every act on stage this week, bar none, perfectly melded into a stiff Reverberation Appreciation Society cocktail. Here is the recipe if you want to relive it at home:

The Levitation:*

150-parts face-melting guitar reverb

20-parts tie-dye infused visuals

1-part heightened consciousness

Combine all ingredients with ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake maniacally. Strain into a chilled human skull. Serve with 4 chaser shots of the Osees.

*Repeat until appropriately Levitated.

Musicality aside; the throngs of costumed devotees, the collaborative spirit among the artists, and general positive vibes were all simply unparalleled this weekend. Everyone is there for one reason and one reason alone: to get their faces evaporated and to witness the insanity. Amazingly, I observed not a single sour moment amongst the attendees in 4 days which is an unbelievable achievement. The format itself is also a coup; pumping direct economic lifeblood into the Austin music scene that has so desperately needed the love after the pandemic shit-show. Credit to the Levitation crew for pivoting from good-ol days at Carson Creek in APF lore to what truly has become the gold standard in modern festival organization. Heres to next year! We cant fucking wait.

RayRay Top Bands

Well this guy was lame, and a little of the ATH sick bug paired with a long day selling records at ABGB left me worn out for Friday and Saturday night. So my top bands will still be my original top bands from Thursday night. Hey, they were sick to be fair.

W.I.T.C.H. Was pleasantly surprised by this set at Empire where sound can sometimes be an issue. Easily the happiest band to be playing live again after years of lay off. African Jazz vibes.

Automatic Super heavy bass lines with the best drummer of the night holding it down.

Protomartyr Detroit’s finest are always heavy while staying tight throughout the set. Lead singer Joe Casey still has one of the best growls in the business.

RayRay Final Thoughts

Just want to start by once again giving a huge shoutout to everyone involved with Levitation Festival, along with PR team Grandstand for making show access, photo pits and everything else as smooth as possible. We understand how juggling cancellations and venue relocations can be a major pain in the ass, so hats off to everyone involved for staying calm and ensuring everyone had a good time.

On another note, this was a great sort of welcome back festival for many of us on the ATH team as we passed on ACL this year. It gave us all the warm and fuzzy feelings being back out as a crew again and seeing some live tunes and enjoying each other’s company. We’ve got a ton of shows coming up before the New Year and we can’t way to share some weird and unique coverage with you all.

Austin is still a pretty incredible place to see live music. Rock on friends.

Most photos and all sketches are courtesy of @jwagnerviz with a few Thursday photos from @djrayray_ath.

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