About Last Night: Levitation Night Two (10/27)
While Nathan was solo on Thursday, the ATH crew rolled deep on Friday night with a full crew hitting almost every venue offered by Levitation Festival. While the rain dampened spirits a bit to start the evening, things ramped up once the skies cleared and we took full advantage of the full variety of musical styles on the lineup. We covered a ton of ground and saw a plethora of bands, all which you can read about after the jump.
Thoughts from RayRay: The best part about Levitation Festival is the ability to not only hop around between a bunch of venues, but to also hop around between a multitude of genres and sounds. Metal? They’ve got it. Maybe electronic? Yep. Pop music from Mexico? Got that too. While managing all those bands from all over the globe in a bunch of different venues must be a logistical nightmare, our Levitation Festival pals seem to pull everything off beautifully. Well done friends.
Top bands from RayRay: Austin’s own The Well were a highlight on the Stubbs stage bringing a ton of energy and loudness during their opening set. A solid way to kick off the night. Surprise of the night came from Dallas based Ariel & The Culture who brought some fun Mexican influenced pop music to a kinda dead Empire Garage. Though the place was mostly empty, the band inspired dancing with loads of energy. Bully closed down my evening on the new Parish stage and easily was my favorite band of the night. Though the new(ish) venue is clearly experiencing some technical and sound issues, Bully managed to shine, getting the crowd nice and amped inside the packed venue.
Not quite there from RayRay: I get it metal heads, High on Fire do it for you, but we had to bounce from the Stubbs stage after a few minutes. We got it man, you are the best double bass drum player on the planet, but ease it back a bit and give my head a rest. Sub*t was a band high on my list to see last evening, but their set left a lot to be desired at The Parish. Not sure if it was the aforementioned technical problems at the venue, butpanda the band was simply sloppy and out of tune. Pass.
Thoughts from Nathan: Went out early to try and catch some local hard rock, so I caught up with RayRay at the Well. Personally, not my cup of tea, but credit to the band
as they’re doing a solid job, as a three piece with a pummeling sound that magically sprinkles in some melody to the genre. Stuck around for a bit of High on Fire, but that’s where the genre loses me…not here to talk shit…just not my cup of tea.
So I left and went to catch our friends in Blushing at the Mohawk, who we helped dropped an EP out into the world when they were just getting started. Like other acts we’ve worked with, watching them grow into a true global powerhouse of shoegaze has been really fascinating, and so watching them I got to play the role of Proud Papa. Stuck around too to catch Blonde Redhead, who rode in high upon all the praise from Sit Down for Dinner. Their set was sharp and locked in, reminding me how much more I adore substance over style; every note was crisp and intertwined with each member’s work. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some enough movement on the stage from Kazu and Amedeo to keep the show light. Still, the award has to go to Simone for his precision drum work.
Winners: Blonde Redhead, Blushing.
Losers: $13 Miller Lite drafts. Still.
Thoughts from JWagner: It was LF23 Day 1 for me after regrettably missing Thursday, but holy hell what a night! I started the night to investigate Nathan’s old man rantings about the Far Out Lounge and though there were plenty of people enjoying $40 cocktails, I think I cracked the code: pregame in the HEB parking lot. Anyway, the bill was stacked in what turned out to be a beautiful clear night after storms threatened all day. I caught the very last seconds of a pleasant, yet subtle Allah Las set, before Portland’s own Amulets brought the ambient drone to the foray. Randall Taylor has a knack for setting the scene with his heavy guitar loops and tonight was no exception. Panda Bear and Sonic Boom were next on the main stage as the photog crew began to amass like a pack of hyenas sniffing fresh meat. Great visuals and solid vocals, but a somewhat underwhelming performance. I took a seat in the trees and faded into the lush soundscape and harmonies.
The last 2 acts of the evening at Far Out included one of my surprise favorites, in Tanikuchan. The Bay area trio was an unknown quantity to me coming into the night, but I was entranced by Hannah van Loon’s soft vocals over their deep shoegaze. I’ll definitely be checking out their newest album Gizmo, which just dropped! As for known quantities, Unknown Mortal Orchestra blew the evening into another level as expected. In support of their latest LP, V, Ruban Nielson and crew brought down the hammer and send the costumed crowd into the night for Ramen and Torchy’s.
Now, that was just Part 1 of Day 2, as I stayed on the Austin periphery to hit up the electronic scene at the Concourse Project. First up was yet another pleasant surprise in Salami Rose Joe Lewis, who brought a jazzy, funky, hip-hop vibe to the massive stage. Former climate scientist, Lindsay Olsen and crew were probably the highlight of the night for me. After a wonderful DJ set from Austin’s own Exploded Drawing duo in Butcher Bear and Soundfounder, the crowd, full up on Taco truck nachos and Corn in a Cup were ready for beats provided courtesy of Teebs, who did not disappoint.
However, the coup de grace of the evening was LA’s own Flying Lotus who after some minor sound issues put together a damn near flawless set.
Top moments from JWagner: Lindsay Olsen and Salami Joe Lewis leading the crowd in a chorus of Dolphin Noises. The unstoppable beats courtesy of Flying Lotus that put the crowd in a pseudo dream state. The actual dream state, when I finally went to sleep after an amazing night. Phew, 2 more days! Let’s fucking go.