Literal DadBods and Brown Acid: Day Three of Levitation Festival 2015

Extreme heat, muddy trenches, and a whole lot of people on drugs.

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May 11 2015, 2:33pm

Photos by Steven Rudd

After three days of extreme heat, muddy trenches, and being surrounded by a lot of people on drugs, I feel like a warrior. Day three of Levitation basically felt like one giant comedown. The weather forecast looked the most tragic, the big buzzy bands like Tame Impala were off the bill, and the crowd looked like it had been cut in half. This meant shorter lines and smaller crowds for the remaining bands. Some acts were better than others, so I decided to give out some extremely rare awards to the very special acts (and dadbods) of day three of Levitation.

Most On-Brand: The Black Angels

The Black Angels are the kings of Texas, and also the kings this entire festival. Hell, it is their festival. This band has done the best job over the years in staying on brand to their psychedelic roots, creating 60s-inspired psych rock since the early 2000s across five records that all sound like they could blend into one another. In my opinion, the band’s best album is Phosphene Dream, and if you’re a beginner to this whole psych-rock thing you should just listen to that record in full on repeat and you will understand what all this hype is about. The anthem for the entire festival was probably “Entrance Song,” and when they played this yesterday the crowd went absolutely nuts.


Best DadBod: This Dude Watching Nothing

Who knew dads liked the crushing shoegaze of Nothing? I found this chill dude hanging in the back of the band’s loud set while I was hanging by the sound booth. He also gets the award for most unassuming fan of Nothing, who, by the way, had one of the best sets of the entire day. The band played at around 8 PM yesterday in the Levitation Tent, and completely shook the entire place to a point where I thought the tent was going to collapse. There were a lot of banging heads and a lot of really stoked dads (again, so many dads) dancing with their hands in the air like excited little girls. Shout out to Domenic Palermo for taking a video of the audience saying “Happy Mother’s Day!” that he could send to his mom.


Nothing


Nothing

Best Drummer: A Place To Bury Strangers


A Place To Bury Strangers

In my opinion, the best place to perform (aside from the main stage) at the festival would be The Levitation Tent. It is the only covered area and is meant for cool 360-degree projections and makes for perfect sound for screeching, loud guitars. A Place To Bury Strangers’ set last night was one of the loudest sets of the weekend, and the band wouldn’t be anything without their drummer Robi Gonzalez. Holy shit this dude can drum. The band ripped through a ton of new songs off of their most recent album Transfixation through a stage filled with so much smoke that you could barely make out the band other than the points when singer Oliver Ackerman would throw his red guitar in the air and smash it to the ground. Gonzalez held up the entire performance with his on-point, fast, and tight drumming.

A Place To Bury Strangers


Best Guitars: Fuzz

Fuzz

Fuzz came on stage to a massive crowd at 1 AM in the Levitation Tent. Even though Ty Segall announced “We’re called Fuzz and we’re from Los Angeles” (they’re originally from San Francisco SMH), their performance quickly made up for it. If The Black Angels are the kings of this festival, Ty Segall is surely the prince. Not only is he a multi-instrumentalist, he’s a reallllllllly good one. In his heavy psych offshoot Fuzz, he steps back from the guitar, playing drums and singing at the same time. First of all, that in itself sounds more tiring than running a marathon. Second of all, he does this well. And I mean, really well. The band flowed from one song into another, playing to a crowd of sweaty people who were giving it their all during the final performance of the entire festival.

Most Shockingly Depressing Performance: The 13th Floor Elevators


The 13th Floor Elevators

I joined our editor in chief, Fred Pessaro right before The 13th Floor Elevators came on to the main stage. This band was easily one of the most anticipated acts of the entire weekend. We’re talking about a band that is lead by a dude who is almost 70 years old (Roky Erickson) who paved the path that is the genre of psych-rock. Fred basically said it best in his review of the show and Instagram caption of the performance: "It's been 45+ years since this lineup played these songs. And it definitely sounded like it."


The 13th Floor Elevators


The 13th Floor Elevators

Vibiest Performer: Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe

Chelsea Wolfe came out like the dark, goth princess she is, wearing a long black flowy dress and black leather jacket, and completely killed her dream-spooky set. It’s probably safe to say that I have the biggest girl crush on this dreamboat, and she kind of makes me want to dye my hair black. Her entire set on the Elevation Amphitheatre stage was timed perfectly at 11 PM, which ironically felt like the witching hour of yesterday. With half of the crowd seeing The Flaming Lips across the field, and 50 percent of the crowd completely gone, the ranch felt eerily empty, quiet, and perfect for Chelsea Wolfe’s set which sounded like one long shoegaze jam with crashing drums for an hour in which I was transfixed watching her sway back and forth.

Chelsea Wolfe


Although it was my first time at Levitation, I am leaving feeling like a veteran. It’s also safe to say that it is completely exhausting and soul-sucking to be around people who are tripping on drugs for three days straight while you are stone cold sober. This festival is truly meant for fans of psych and garage rock who are willing to stand 80 percent thunderstorm daily forecasts, a whole lot of mud, and sweat. Some major takeaways from the weekend are as follows:

Don’t ever use the Porta Pottys on day three of a festival. Also, don’t ever use the Porta Potty with no line, um, ever. Don’t trust a band who draws in fans who wear stilts for fun, feather headware, or denim cut-off vests with giant PBR patches sewn on the back. Flaming Lips fans are the worst. Anticipate the worst so the best will happen. And lastly, as Ty Segall said during his set last night in between songs, “Don’t take the brown acid and drink water!”

Mac DeMarco

Mac DeMarco

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips

Tele Novella


Samsara Experiment

Samsara Experiment