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 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 series third album Primal Scream — Live at LEVITATION features the legendary and influential British psych rockers — currently, Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass) and Darrin Mooney (drums) — during their career spanning 2015 LEVITATION set. The set featured hits from landmark albums like Screamadelica, Give Out But Don’t Give Up, XTRMNTR and others
The Reverberation Appreciation Society surprised psych rock fans with the surprise release of the fourth installment of their Live at LEVITATION series — King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard — Live at LEVITATION. The double LP features the acclaimed JOVM mainstays’ 2014 and 2016 Levitation Festival appearances.
The Aussie JOVM mainstays’ 2014 appearance is presented in full on the first LP. That set is historic because it’s their first North American show, ever — and it includes a live performance of their then-unreleased “I’m in Your Mind Fuzz” suite. The rest of the set includes early versions of material loved by fans today while offering a look into the creative process of a band that was just about to explode into the global scene. After their 2014 North American tour, the band spent the summer in Brooklyn recording I’m Not Your Mind Fuzz and Quarters.
The second LP consists of King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard’s 2016 Levitation Festival appearance: The band returned to celebrate the release of that year’s critically applauded, mind-bending effort Nonagon Infinity. Unfortunately, that year’s festival was canceled because of severe weather; but the recording on the second LP is one of two shows Gizz played at Barracuda thats weekend. Sadly, Barracuda is no longer.
Both shows were recorded by Craig Lawrence and mixed by the band’s mastermind Stu Mackenzie at their Melbourne-based studio — and specifically mastered for vinyl. To celebrate the live album’s release, The Reverberation Appreciation Society and the band released some blistering live footage of the band playing Nonagon infinity rippers “Robot Stop” and “Hot Water.” Play loud and then rock out.
The vinyl release will feature four unique colorways, each limited to 2000 in a matte gatefold featuring unique gold foil embossed numbered jackets numbered 1-8000. The first run will be the only one with those features — and a special record for anyone who collects records.
The album is also bundled with a super limited edition of tees, tie dyes and screen printed foil prints featuring artwork by Alan Forbes from the 2016 show and the long lost 2014 poster by C.M Ruiz.