Photos + Article by Lauren Krohn
Legendary psych rock festival Levitation took place October 26-29, 2023 in Austin, Texas across multiple venues. Founded in 2008 by Austin’s own psych icons The Black Angels, Levitation features incredible bands, DJs and artists from around the world. Each day boasted a stacked lineup all over town- you really couldn’t lose no matter where you landed. But the bill was so stunning your narrator did regret the absence of cloning technology.
The Thursday show at Stubbs, one of the two largest capacity venues, kicked off with a lineup of greats from the West Coast. (We lucked out as torrential rainstorms abated shortly before the open-air shows Thursday and Friday) On the bill were Ty Segall & Freedom Band, Shannon and the Clams, Rose City Band, and Anabelle Chair Legs.
Rose City Band, the solo project of Ripley Johnson (also of Wooden Ships and Moon Duo) took the crowd from afternoon to evening vibes with their vibrant, pedal steel-tinged country psych.
Next up were Shannon and the Clams who emerged in coordinated witch garb in honor of Halloween season. Their lush, joyful garage/punk/psych perfectly meshed with the trippy projections of The Mad Alchemist Liquid Light Show under the moon on a beautiful night.
Ty Segall & Freedom Band headlined this epic day- this was to be their final show with drummer Charles Moothart after which they would retire the Freedom Band name. Thus for diehard fans (myself included), it was a somewhat bittersweet set, and the emotion was palpable from the band. They played a show absolutely fitting of their last ride- driven by their unique brand of fuzzed-out, distorted energy and Ty’s backbending riffs.
Stubbs alone would have been an outrageously fulfilling evening of music. But the night wasn’t over as Los Angeles trio Flat Worms were set to play after midnight down the block at the 13th Floor- a venue aptly named for seminal Austin psych band The 13th Floor Elevators and owned by The Black Angels’ Jake Garcia. Right off the bat, you knew the set promised to deliver if the full-capacity crowd included Ty Segall and Freedom Band less that 30 minutes after their own show ended. If anyone was remotely tired after a 90-degree day of music, the wailing hard hitting sounds of Flat Worms would have resuscitated them straight away. The dystopian tales in their songs and moody, rich tones are captivating and left me hoping to see them again as soon as possible.
Find all of our Day 1 photos posted in the gallery below.
Rose City Band:
Shannon & The Clams:
Ty Segall & Freedom Band: