The music festival season is nigh, and although it can be overwhelming to think about city-transforming mainstream events (you know who you are), Levitation is hovering through with some alternative options, in a recently released lineup. This is still a big event, spanning four days from October 27 to 30, with some big names to back it up. But it’s always fun to run with a countercultural crowd, especially for Halloween.
With four headliners, some of whom play multiple nights, Levitation presents an unusual schedule that allows for a little more flexibility without missing especially popular acts. This year, those are The Black Angels, The Jesus and Mary Chain, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, and Osees; the former founded Levitation in 2008 as Austin Psych Fest, and the latter two are playing two nights and all four nights, respectively.
Some other bands on the very sonically diverse lineup:
- Revered post-rock group and heavy drone users Godspeed You! Black Emperor put on cinematic, deeply emotional live shows, and embody an anarchist ethos many have found comfort, or at least validation, in since the ’90s.
- Witch, standing for “We Intend to Cause Havoc,” did a bit of that in the ’70s as figureheads of Zamrock (an acid-bluesy Zambian movement). The group is revived by Emanyeo “Jagari” Chanda, backed by a new band.
- Superorganism made alternative radio waves with the bubbly and deadpan “Everybody Wants To Be Famous.” The eclectic group of performers lives up to the name, looking a lot like a charmingly awkward dorm room jam let loose into the “real” world.
- For all intents and purposes, Sunflower Bean is a pop group outside of the pop machine. After a decade, they’re still performing easygoing, but interesting and energetic rock, and getting more polished all the time.
- Pleasure Venom is a punk group in Austin, gaining traction with chaotic but cerebral garage rock and a disarmingly charismatic front woman, Audrey Campbell. The group is scheduled to play Austin City Limits Fest for the first time this year.
Considering the mix of longstanding genre pioneers and creative newbies, this festival presents an unusually explicit opportunity to celebrate the cult mentality of genre, so often an unwelcome cliché. Not shying away adds up for a festival run by a music label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society, which has claimed a space in psych and garage rock since 2010. Levitation describes itself in a press release as “a heady amalgamation of vintage gear, immersive light shows and visuals, buzzing amps, moody synths, leather jackets, and good times.”
Seven venues are hosting this event (Stubb’s, Mohawk, Empire Control Room & Garage, Hotel Vegas, Antone’s, Parish, and Scoot Inn), and each show is available as a standalone event, making Levitation all the more unobtrusive and easy to join on a budget.
Several ticket options (including $395 four-day general admission) and a full schedule are available at levitation.fm.