The first annual Levitation Vancouver took place this past weekend, kicking off Friday night and remaining strong to the mischievous hours of Sunday morning. The entire festival was a spree of excellent music,unforgettable experiences and stunning visual moments.
Austin Psych Fest and Timbre Concerts have joined forces to present the first ever Levitation Festival in Vancouver. Austin Psych Fest was originated fittingly by the Black Angels in 2008 whom also headlined Levitation Vancouver and absolutely killed it.Just like Austin Psych Fest, Levitation Vancouver offered the cream of the crop of shoegaze, experimental and psychedelic music. The music is heavy, droney and lysergic; the are no rules to follow and everyone is welcome. The Festival took place in beautiful Stanley Park by day and in the various charming venues of the Downtown East side by night. Stanley Park is placed conveniently in the centre of the city, it encapsulates sheer natural beauty with ever-changing landscape and powerful acoustics.
The kick off Party was at the historic Rickshaw on Friday night, the Rickshaw is a amiable venue converted from a Kung-Fu theatre, it’s located in the thick of the Downtown Eastside and consistently offers some of the best live music in the city. The frequency of the evening provided insight towards how fun, non-pretentious and stimulating this festival is going to be. Drenge, The Warlocks and A place to Bury Strangers wailed all night long, elevating the senses of those around them while elaborate light shows surrounded the fog of their music. It’s difficult to write about Psych Rock and avoid words such as “trippy” or “hazy” and I will continue to try, but I assure you that night was both of those ambiguous adjectives.
Saturday was one of the first really warm days of the year and in Vancouver summer heat is a fleeting phenomenon that you must milk for dear life. Outdoor permanence was made simple as the entire day took place in one of the nicest parks on the planet with an excellent flea market, a beer tent, a grilled cheese food stand and an assortment of amazing bands. Dada Plan, Mystic Braves, Dead Moon, Black Mountain and The Black Lips performed flawlessly and lawlessly. The Black Mountain performance was most notable as they’re one of Vancouver’s most important bands, they just released the 10th anniversary of their debut album and their set was faultless.
That evening, the Cobalt, Electric Owl and The Rickshaw hosted various incredible acts including Dead Meadow, Tobacco and The Shivas. A heavy consistently of people flooded the streets, waiting for space available for them to witness three completely different shades of mystical music mayhem.
Sunday came around,as it always does but this time it didn’t provide it’s impending fun ending doom. Instead, another full festival day and night was available with a completely dreamy lineup. I had more time to enjoy the little wonders of the festival such as a tree covered in intricate doilies, various therapeutic canopies and the lovely local businesses at the flea market. Black Wizard, Night Beats, Beach Fossils, Witch and the Black Angels performed beautifully and notably surpassed the audience’s expectations of this festival.
That night the three previously listed venues were thriving along with the China Cloud which is one of my personal favourite venues in Vancouver. It feels just like you are lounging at a cabin with all your pals, participating in a legendary jam session and there is absolutely no tomorrow. That night the lovely Ryley Walker performed, intoxicating visuals were projected on the walls and eventually the whole venue collaborated on a music piece and performance art. The Black Angels were pleasantly relaxing amongst this lovely havoc which completely reiterated the theme of Levitation. That theme is that something incredible happens when great musicians start an amazing music festival with other great people, allow it to evolve and eventually share it with another city that is often misunderstood and not being fun. Those who attended Vancouver’s first annual Levitation festival know that Vancouver is extremely fun, the festival was co-ordinated wisely and it will continue successfully for numerous years to come.