Concert Review

The Jesus and Mary Chain Live at Stubb’s-LEVITATION 2022

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By Avery Viers
Local Music Director 

Hosted Thursday through Sunday of Halloween Weekend each year, LEVITATION has been Austin’s premier Psych Music Festival since its establishment in 2008.

In celebration of LEVITATION’s 10-year anniversary, the festival’s planning committee chose to opt for a non-traditional festival format. Compared to traditional formatting of festivals like Austin City Limits at Zilker Park, non-traditional music festival schedules spread their lineup across multiple venues.

Despite the unavoidable hiatus caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic, LEVITATION has undoubtably made it’s triumphant return to the stages of Austin’s Red River District since its resurrection two years ago.

Photo features attendants interacting while backlit by glowing, oversized LEVITATION art instillation.
Guests Conversing in Front of Oversized Light Instillation at LEVITATION 2022. Photo by Daniel Cavazos

Though I have never attended LEVITATION, I felt optimistic about the artists included in this year’s lineup. Planning the entirety of my four-day itinerary as a contributing member of LEVITATION’s media staff, I couldn’t wait to request artists to produce coverage on. Out of 35 shows distributed across 10 venues in downtown Austin, my excitement to see The Jesus and Mary Chain at Stubb’s Bar-B-Que was arguably unparalleled.

As I began the trek up North I-35 late Thursday afternoon, my curiosity peaked at the prospective demographic of attendees for day one’s festivities. Arriving moments before the beginning of the night’s second set, I let out a sigh of relief upon analyzing my fellow audience members.

PRO TIP: If you’re trying to gauge whether a performance will be good or not, take note of how many middle-aged men wearing true vintage band tees pull up to the function. The more old blokes in attendance, the better the show is about to be.

Photo features Glaudini rocking back on her left while pointing a drumstick at the crowd. To the right of Glaudini, Lola Dompe playing drums and Halle Saxon on bass guitar are both visible.
Automatic’s Izzy Glaudini in the midst of their Stubb’s Bar-B-Que performance for LEVITATION 2022. Photo by Pooneh Ghana.

Moderately disappointed after missing The Paranoyds’ opening set, I entered the gates of the familiar outdoor venue a few moments before our second performance begun. Automatic, the Los Angeles based Noise Pop trifecta, promptly took the Stubb’s stage Thursday evening before catching the attention of the crowd.

Comprised of Izzy Glaudini on synth, Lola Dompe on drums, and Halle Saxon on bass, the avante-garde sound of Automatic’s discography cast enchantment of magical proportions on the Stubb’s audience.

Photo features Detroit-based punk band Protomartyr while performing their set at LEVITATION 2022. A canopy arching out from stage is seen illuminated with psychedelic visuals above the heads of band members below. Photo is taken from left side of crowd.
Protomartyr performing at Stubb’s Bar-B-Que on Day One of LEVITATION 2022. Photo by Ismael Quintanilla

Following a brief transition between acts, Sub Rock group Protomartyr started their set strong with their first song of their set, “Day Without End;” so strong, in fact, I hardly noticed lead vocalist Joe Casey’s cartoonish inebriation until the song ended. While the beauty of music lies in its subjectivity, the unmistakably punk sound of Protomartyr’s performance wasn’t one I listen to regularly. Even so, he duration of the Detroit-based band’s performance was aided by their ability to play two ways: fast and loud.

Protomartyr’s randomized band members did make for an endearing performance, nonetheless. I don’t think I’ve looked at a picture of a punk vocalist and thought, ‘that guy looks like he has a 401k,’ Casey sported onto the stage in slightly ill-fitting business attire and slammed (what I recall to be quite a few) Pabst Blue Ribbon beers throughout the sixty-minute performance.

Photo features stage right P.O.V. of Protomartyr’s LEVITATION performance from back of the Stubb’s crowd. Psychadelic visuals can be seen while being projected above the stage canopy. Members of the audience can be seen enjoying performance.
Protomartyr on Stubb’s Bar-B-Que stage, day one of LEVITATION 2022. Photo by Ismael Quintanilla

After Casey finished slurring his goodbyes on behalf of himself and the band, the wait for the night’s final set was over – it was time for The Jesus and Mary Chain.

After releasing their wildly successful debut album, Psychocandy, in 1985, brothers Jim and William Reid began receiving international recognition for the tasteful whininess that is the post-punk sound of The Jesus and Mary Chain.

Photo features lone Reid holding microphone with both hands, surrounded by a purple orb from stage lights.
Jim Reid on Stubb’s Bar-B-Que stage, day one of LEVITATION 2022. Photo by Dusana Risovic

As if a bolt of lightning struck the canopy extending out from above the Stubb’s Bar-B-Que Stage, the noticeably larger crowd that now enveloped me became reanimated once more.

Although encountering a few technical difficulties with Reid’s audio equipment, “Taste of Cindy” still managed to echo down the length of Red River Street, with help from the haunting chorus of an adoring house. Other highlights of the Scottish band’s set included their show-stopping performances of “Cracking Up,” “Nine Million Rainy Days,” and “April Skies.”

At the request of their devoted congregation, members of The Jesus and Mary Chain stood beneath blinding stage lights once more for a three song encore. Automatic’s lead vocalist, Izzy Glaudini, accompanied the headliners on stage as they prepared for their duet of iconic anthem, “Taste Like Honey.”

Photo features Automatic vocalist and The Jesus and Mary Chain on-stage, saturated with deep blue stage lights. Individual members of audience can be seen recording performance from smart devices.
Reid and Glaudini on Stubb’s Bar-B-Que stage for encore performance. Photo by Dusana Risovic

As I walked the two blocks back to my car with severe back pain and uncomfortable shoes, I couldn’t help feeling certain that the fifty-minute journey I would make back home was worth it. (Not yet acknowledging I’d be on I-35 again, like, twelve hours later.)

Stay up-to-date on LEVITATION 2022 this week as our music journalists publish their highlights, artist interviews, and more!

Featured image by Dusana Risovic.

Written by: Autumn McGowan

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CA$H Radio: Episode 8

Hosted by Tiara Allen, Leah Batts, Cameron Sullivan, Alex Duarte In this week’s episode, Tiara speaks with Winnie Hsia about her Austin aerial arts business, Sky Candy, and the benefits and costs of using business for good. The cohosts also discuss the benefits of being an early entrant in the market and the importance of valuing your employees. https://soundcloud.com/ktsw899-1/cash-radio-ep-8?si=7e2799758bad4da8a65fd2f5298c906f&utm_source=clipboard&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=social_sharing Image Credit: KTSW Multimedia Dept.

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