Levitation Festival (initially founded as Austin Psych Fest) can trace its beginnings to a simple idea devised by the members of JOVM mainstay act The Black Angels in the back of a tour van back in 2007: “Let’s invite all of our favorite bands and all of our friends for our version of a music festival.”
The inaugural Austin Psych Fest was in March 2008 — and by popular demand, the festival expanded to a three-day event the following year. Within a relatively short period of time, Austin Psych Fest became an international destination for psych fans across the globe, with the festival featuring lineups that included up-and-comers, cult favorites, legendary and influential acts and a headlining set from the festival’s founders, The Black Angels. A few years ago, the festival was renamed Levitation in honor of Austin psych rock pioneers The 13th Floor Elevators, but in in its almost 15 year run, the festival has helped spark a new, international psych rock movement while inspiring the creation of similar events across the globe, including Levitation Festival events in Chicago, Vancouver, France and a SXSW showcase, as well as other special events in Europe and Latin America.
Late last year, Levitation Festival’s record label, The Reverberation Appreciation Society announced the launch of a new live album series, Live at LEVITATION. Comprised of material played and recorded throughout the festival’s decade-plus history, the live album series specifically captures and documents key artists in the contemporary psych rock scene. Of course, many of these moments were also important moments of Austin’s live music scene.
- The live series’ first album Kikagaku Moyo — Live at LEVITATION featured two different Kikagaku Moyo sets — their 2014 Levitation Festival set, which was one of the Japanese psych rock act’s first Stateside shows and their return to Levitation back in 2019, during a sold-out Stateside tour, which included a stop at Warsaw that year with Japanese krautrockers Minami Deutsch.
- The series’ second album The Black Angels — Live at LEVITATION featured the festival’s founders The Black Angels. The Black Angels live album is comprised of material recorded at Austin Psych Fest 2010, 2011 and 2012, and captures a rare glimpse of the festival’s earlier, more humble days. And of course, for Black Angels fans, like myself, the album features live version of six songs from their first two albums — Passover and Directions to See a Ghost.
The latest album of the Live at LEVITATION series features genre-defying British legends Primal Scream. Since their formation back in 1982, the members of Primal Scream — currently, Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — have embraced an eclectic and diverse array of styles and sounds from psych pop, degenerate rock ‘n’ roll, euphoric rave and industrial gloom while going through a complicated series of lineup changes that have also included The Stone Roses‘ Mani and My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields, and the death of beloved guitarist Robert “Throb” Young. They’ve collaborated on material with George Clinton and Kate Moss. And throughout their run, they’ve managed to capture the mood and tone of the UK several times over — while surviving narcotic oblivion and countless personal traumas.
Slated for a November 19, 2021 release through The Reverberation Appreciation Society, Primal Scream — Live at LEVITATION is centered around the British legends’ 2015 LEVITATION set, a career spanning set, which pulled hits from landmark records like Screamadelica, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, XTRMNTR and others. To build up buzz for the album, LEVITATION, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and Primal Scream released two singles off the album: muscular renditions of Give Out But Don’t Give Up track “Jailbird” and XTRMNTR track “Accelerator.” The accompanying live footage serves as a reminder that Primal Scream is one of the best live bands in the entire world.
The album has been giving the deluxe treatment with six different vinyl options: one exclusively through the Levitation webstore, two versions available exclusively in USA/Canada and British and European stores, a Rough Trade vinyl exclusive and a very special American feature as part of the annual Ten Bands One Cause charity initiative. That feature will launch around National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October — and will benefit Red Door Community, where no one faces cancer alone.