Tom Gilmore covered his third Austin Psych Fest this year, photographing 50 out of the 80 bands performing! Check out a featured selection of photos from the whole festival, read his recap below, and dig deeper into individual sets from each stage [links below].
Photos by Tom Gilmore
Austin Psych Fest 6 officially took place April 26-28, 2013 just outside of downtown Austin at Carson Creek Ranch. Unofficially, it began a day earlier at two venues in town where bands played on two separate stages from 6 pm until 2 am. Red 7 featured the majority of the bands I wanted to see… mainly Rain Parade, Flavor Crystals, The Volta Sound, and Chatham Rise.
Chatham Rise and Flavor Crystals teamed up with Boston local shoegaze / ambient / psych band 28 Degrees Taurus and destroyed the art space known as The Magic Room last year, so I expected and received the same at Austin Psych Fest. Both bands’ music meanders a bit, adding layer upon layer before cataclysmic sonic eruptions, but in opposing exponential trajectories, similar but different.
The evening closed with 1980’s Paisley Underground band Rain Parade. Under a kaleidoscope of colors, the band played their version of post punk rhythms and jangle-pop guitar sounds to an enthusiastic audience. No one could have guessed they just recently started playing live shows again… all were clearly having a great time; “I look Around” & “What’s She Done to Your Mind” were freaking amazing!
After what felt like only 10 minutes of sleep, I caught the shuttle bus to the Ranch for the start of APF 6. This marks the third year in a row I have attended / covered APF (APF 4 & APF 5) and each year it gets bigger and better!
In addition to hosting the festival outside for the first time, APF added a third stage to handle the impressive lineup, including psych legends Roky Erickson, The Moving Sidewalks featuring Billy Gibbons and Kaleidoscope (UK).
Peter Daltrey assembled a group of mult-instrumentalists lead by Rob Campanella from The Quarter After to fill in for his former band members and beautifully reproduced the original sounds of Kaleidoscope on Saturday. I came across Peter Daltrey the next day selling merchandise, quite a friendly chap who didn’t mind posing for a quick snap shot.
Saturday afternoon I met up with the members of Elephant Stone relaxing with friends and family under the artist tent back stage and conducted a quick interview and photo session. Received a warm welcome from all and even a hug from Rishi! Elephant Stone, a psychedelic pop band based in Montreal, released their debut LP in 2009, and have been touring a lot the past year supporting their 2nd self-titled LP released in 2012. They have played Boston twice since the release of their sophomore album, most recently supporting The Black Angels “Indigo Meadow” tour (photos). When asked how the band keeps their set alive and if they ever become bored playing certain tracks, the band pointed to improvised instrumental jams that help keep things electric; expansive songs like “The Sea of Your Mind”or “Sally Go Round the Sun”. After APF, the band has studio plans for a third album and yet another tour later this summer, hopefully with another stop in Boston.
A few other sets I made sure not to miss included Dreamtime, Indian Jewelry, The Warlocks, The Holydrug Couple, Ttotals, Wall of Death and of course The Cult of Dom Keller and Dead Skeletons. It didn’t take long to figure out Dead Skeletons were high on a lot of people’s must see lists. Not that I was surprised. After all, it only took Dead Skeletons, The Cult of Dom Keller, and two other bands (Lola Colt and The Koolaid Electric Company) to sell me on attending Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia last September (photos)
I had plans to schedule an interview with the members of Dead Skeletons, but after several emails and phone calls we ran out of time and settled for a short meet and greet followed by a couple photos. The band did take some time, however, to attempt to teach me how to pronounce their names correctly. I even mispronounced Jón. Forget about his last name! (Apologies go out to Will Carruthers for missing the photo; Jón hesitated but figured he’d be ok with it.)
As in previous years, both the music and the festival atmosphere were first rate. The vibe was super chill, and it was easy to strike up conversations with fellow concert attendees. I only had a couple disappointments and regrets to share… missing The Black Ryder’s set, catching only one third of The Black Angels’ set, and dealing with the Texas clay soil, which could be hard as cement when dry and stickier than NASA’s adhesive for space shuttle heat shield panels when wet. Oh, and I remember the chicken waffle taco being much tastier last year.
That said, APF was once again a huge success. With 80+ bands spread across three stages in four days, it would be impossible to cover it in its entirety, although I somehow managed to photograph 50 different bands. Please take a look at all the photos and share with your friends!
More photos from Austin Psych Fest 6: