Austin Psych Fest in Texas also succeeds at is bringing forth a somewhat eclectic mix of psychedelic music from the genre without diverging too much from the ultimate path. This leads to greater active listening on the part of the audience, who will experience each band a little differently but never feel let down or bored with it all." />

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« Preview: Industrial Unplugged at Abbey Pub Photos/Review: Levitation Festival in Chicago@Thalia Hall 3/14/15 »

Concert Sat Mar 14 2015

Photos/Review: Levitation Festival in Chicago@Thalia Hall 3/13/15

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The first day of Levitation Festival kicked off with both it's share of awe inspiring and tumultuous moments. One thing that this Chicago showcase does that Austin Psych Fest in Texas also succeeds at is bringing forth a somewhat eclectic mix of psychedelic music from the genre without diverging too much from the ultimate path. This leads to greater active listening on the part of the audience, who will experience each band a little differently but never feel let down or bored with it all. It takes a great deal of planning and inspiration to make any festival lineup work out this well so great thanks are in order to those who planned and booked the event.

Mary Lattimore and Jeff Ziegler

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The evening began with a ghostly summoning that ended in an ocean roar. Mary Lattimore played a harp that had both benevolence and experimental aspects to it with a ton of graceful elements too. Her music worked well with Jeff Ziegler's Korg and melodica accompaniment. It didn't seem lacking in any moment despite their being no vocals and instead was a wholly fulfilling way to kick off the festival.


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Three piece garage rock band Heaters had elements of pop music and psychedelic music but best of all possessed an invigorating sense to their playing that expanded as they warmed up. Who knew bass, guitar, and drums could sound so fresh!


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Noveller may play only as herself, the wondrous Sarah Lipstate, but she's something of a visionary between her heavenly loops and the way she at times plays her guitar with a bow. Her set contained an astounding presence, which isn't at all surprising considering she's one of the strongest solo performers around. She has a truly commanding sense of timing and composition that is always a pleasure to witness. The albums give one a sense of her creativity but are only the tip of the iceberg compared to experiencing her wondrous melodies live.

Mind Over Mirrors

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Mind Over Mirrors two piece changed things up a bit by playing in the center of the room and offering up a strong vocal and organ accompaniment that shook the floor we were all trying to balance on. It sounded quite strange and haunted with a pounding resonance that won't be easily forgotten like a psychedelic seance.

Viet Cong

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Much edgier in a different way, four piece Viet Cong were much more of an angry assault on one's senses than Women ever were live. The lead singer, Matt Flegel, early on joked that they were trying to levitate themselves but it seemed quite the opposite as half the members were flailing against the stage. Flegel's raspy vocals recalled that of an early day Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse) live performance with quite a rawness as he belted out his lyrics. Even more impressive was the drummer, Mike Wallace, who had the stamina of a triathlon winner and was probably the most fun to watch on stage.

Destruction Unit

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Almost impossible enough to believe, Destruction Unit was even more intense and probably the closest thing I have heard to resembling psychedelic hardcore. When the curtain closed on their set, they raged and threw beer cans and plates at the audience.

The Pop Group

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The most interesting thing about the The Pop Group is that, to a listener who wasn't as familiar with their back catalog, it was difficult to tell where the songs were headed in their strange twists and turns. These are clearly pop songs for eccentrics (which are the best kind). Their set made for disorientating dance music with the reverb on the lead singer's Mark Stewart's voice quite evocative. The band had high praise for bands from Chicago and kept up with their own adventures, playing songs from farther back in their catalog to the title track from their newest release, Citizen Zombie.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
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