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Concert Experience

Micah's Trip to Levitation

November 18, 2019

Last weekend, I was given the privilege of being able to attend Levitation in Austin. Levitation is Austin’s psychedelic music festival and as quite the psych-head myself, I was ecstatic to be able to go. Sadly, I wasn’t able to attend on Thursday night, however, I had a great couple of days there and am super grateful to have had the experience.

Friday night I went to see The Flaming Lips, and it was one of the most undeniably fun experiences I have ever had at a concert. I can only describe The Flaming Lips’ show as a party. As soon as they started playing confetti and balloons fell from the sky. It was almost a heavenly experience as they opened with “Race for the Prize” a song that brings pure joy to my heart. This coupled with all the balloons, shining lasers and confetti was just so much fun and made for a great pairing. Their set consisted of a lot of songs from The Soft Bulletin as well as some other songs from across their discography thrown in there. They also tributed the late Daniel Johnston with “True Love Will Find You in the End”, one of my favorite songs of Daniel’s. Wayne Coyne, The Flaming Lips’ frontman did so many crazy things as the show went on, from riding a plastic horse across the audience, to crowd surfing in a hamster ball. The energy was just so potent and fun, I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face the entire time. For the encore they performed some key tracks off of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, my personal favorite Flaming Lips album. It was complete with a giant inflatable pink robot for the audience to karate chop. They closed with “Do You Realize??” which is one of my favorite songs of all time. Overall I left that show with an endless amount of joy.

After that show came a complete 180 in tone as I went to Empire, a bar nearby to see Deafheaven play their set. I’m not a huge fan of Deafheaven but my former Music Directors Ian Craig, and Aaron Dailey love them so I went to their show on their recommendation. I’ve never even been to a metal show before but the energy was insane. The music was roaring, the crowd was wild and ultimately it was a great time in its own right. I tried to go into the pit for a few minutes but ultimately I couldn’t stay very long as I hadn’t eaten that much that day and didn’t have the energy to mosh the whole show. I’m definitely going to be checking out more of their music in the coming months, so thanks again Ian and Aaron for suggesting I go.

The next day I went to Stubb’s to see John Cale. I’m a huge Velvet Underground fan, so I didn’t want to pass up on the opportunity to see this legend. His set mostly consisted of solo material. While I was not familiar with it, it was all very good, and I have found myself digging into some of his solo records since then. I managed to find a copy of his 1982 album, Music for a New Society for cheap at a record shop in Bastrop the next day. I gave that a spin as soon as I got home. He closed out his set with two songs I was familiar with, “I’m Waiting For the Man” from The Velvet Underground & Nico and “Pablo Picasso” which was a cover of a song by The Modern Lovers. Overall the concert was really good and it was clear that John Cale has still got it. Sadly after waiting about fifteen minutes, I left assuming there would be no encore. However, the next day I found out that he had returned to play “Sister Ray”, The Velvet Underground’s 17 minute epic with The Black Angels. I was really bummed I missed that, however during that time I did get an amazing grilled mac & cheese sandwich from a food truck in Austin, so I guess it wasn’t all bad.

The final act I saw while at Levitation was Guerilla Toss. I have seen Guerilla Toss live before, as Ian and I interviewed them in Denton about a year ago. Like last time, Guerilla Toss absolutely brought it. The energy at their show was insane and I found myself either dancing or moshing to their insane mix of punk, dance music, new wave, noise, and psychedelia the whole show. The crowd was definitely feeling it as well, which meant I never had to feel awkward dancing. They picked songs from across a lot of their discography. I heard some songs I remembered very well from GT Ultra and Twisted Crystal they also played “Plants” from their new EP, What Would the Odd Do? Which is currently in KANM’s mandatory rotation. Like always, I have nothing but good things to say about Guerilla Toss’s live shows. They’re still a pretty small band, so if you haven’t checked out their music yet you totally should as I think they are easily one of the most underrated rock bands out there right now.

Once again, I am super thankful to have worked with Levitation. It was a great experience for me and I will hope to make the festival in the following years, even as my time in KANM comes to close.

Written by: Micah Gonzalez

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