By Ashley Farnie
Assistant Music Director
It has been a busy month of shows and festivals, but I will not let that curb my excitement for Levitation this weekend! With a lineup more focused on rock and punk, Levitation offers a varied range of international artists. Set up similar to the organization of SXSW, Levitation takes place in music venues and bars throughout the Austin area.
Due to the recent electrical fire at Parish, be sure to double check your weekend plans in case the location was changed! There are many great bands performing over the weekend, but ticketed access to each individual venue restricts the freedom of hopping set to set. For this reason, and for convenience, I will be attending one venue’s set each night of my attendance.
I plan to spend my weekend catching sets of artists I have never seen, as well as bands I have seen countless times live. Starting at Feels So Good, a venue I am excited to visit for the first time, I have a great Saturday night ahead of me with Being Dead, grandma, Ringo Deathstarr, and Sunflower Bean. A perfectly mixed lineup for me!
Austin-based Being Dead is a favorite local band of mine. I first came across their music on Spotify and found myself exploring their entire discography, including their side projects. It was only through this deep dive of the band’s musical history that I discovered the band inhabits the music scene I surround myself with in Central Texas.
I found their social media and marked my calendar with upcoming shows in the city. The band’s studio recordings include vocal effects and intricate keyboard effects, but the live sets I have attended in the past unfortunately lack these qualities. Being Dead’s latest releases dates back to 2019 and I expect exciting things from the band in the future.
I think their set at levitation, and recent announcement of playing SXSW 2023, will elevate the band to their deserved acclaim and allow them to acquire the resources and practice necessary to replicate their studio recordings.
After Being Dead sets the scene and prepares the crowd for the upcoming sets, grandma will take the Feels So Good stage. I was so excited that Being Dead was on Levitation’s lineup that I requested media coverage for their set immediately, without looking at the other bands on the venue’s lineup.
Through my exploration of new tunes over the weeks bridging my gap between Levitation and ACL, I rediscovered a few tracks I had previously saved by grandma. grandma’s tracks I enjoy from 2020 create a dreamy synthpop reminiscent of the onset of quarantine and the rise of self-production.
To their demise, grandma often features a bridge that departs from the 80’s influence apparent in the instrumentation. A pre-made, unoriginal back track carries autotuned vocals, and I cannot say I am ecstatic to see this live. Hopefully my review after the show recounts a more positive experience than anticipated!
I had the chance to see Ringo Deathstarr at Elysium during SXSW 2022 and I am excited to see the Austin band again! The lead singer’s light, angelic vocals float atop the punky shoegaze sound of the band. Ringo Deathstarr can be described as lyrical melodies bridging the gaps between mosh-worthy guitar solos.
If you are interested in learning more about the band, check out this interview from 2015 from a former KTSW music reviewer.
Headlining Saturday’s set at Feels So Good will be Sunflower Bean, New York-based three-piece touring their third full album released in May, Headful of Sugar. From first listen, Sunflower Bean sounds like an enjoyable live act to experience.
Although their music may not be something I would add to my personal playlist, I think I will gain a new appreciation for the band after their Levitation set.
Continuing my Halloweekend experiencing live music in Austin, as I do every ordinary weekend, a lineup of Die Spitz, Pleasure Venom, and L7 awaits my Sunday evening at Mohawk. I have the honor of interviewing Die Spitz alongside local music specialist and professional interviewer, my friend Avery Viers. After catching Die Spitz at Cheer Up Charlie’s recently (read about it here: https://ktswblog.net/2022/10/12/concert-review-momma-at-mohawk/), my accumulating list of questions for the musicians prompted Avery and I to request an interview. Stay tuned to hear about our conversation with the local female punk band and stream The Revenge of Evangeline in the meantime!
Similar to my motivations for the Being Dead show, I requested media coverage for Sunday’s set at Mohawk with the sole intention of seeing Die Spitz. I have spent my week familiarizing myself with the sounds of Pleasure Venom and L7. I had the chance to see Bikini Kill back in May, and I expect the environment surrounding these sets to be similar.
Fronted by a black woman, Pleasure Venom’s classification as post-punk is further legitimized by their reaction against the homogenous punk scene. 90’s girl punk band L7 still has its grip on the punk community. After a 17-year hiatus, L7 has released seven full projects including live albums, re-recordings, and new albums.
Avery Viers had the chance to talk with Donita Sparks, so stay alert on the blog for further L7 content.
If you don’t have Halloween plans, I suggest checking out these sets at Levitation; and if you are from Austin, I suggest keeping your eye out for future performances from the local acts in the area. I hope your weekend is filled with great music and wonderful company, as mine will be, and I will report back once I recover from Levitation!
Featured Image by levitation.fm.
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