The Black Angels' Psych Fest 4 Set to Showcase 58 Bands
What unites musicians as disparate (and multi-generational) as Roky Erickson, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, A Place to Bury Strangers, White Hills, Crocodiles and the Fresh and Onlys? For the next three days, at least, they're all psychedelic bands -- because they're on the bill of Austin Psych Fest 4, the festival put on by locals the Black Angels and their "Reverberation Appreciation Society."
"We have our interpretation of what we think psychedelic is, but it wouldn't be the word 'psychedelic' if it didn't mean everything," says Black Angels frontman Alex Maas. "The word encompasses so many different styles. Fourteen elderly women playing the banjo in yellow polka dot bikinis is psychedelic.
"[At the first three festivals] we had generally focused on vintage-sounding psychedelic bands so the idea was to branch out and expand what the festival was about. It's ridiculous we got all these bands."
For some people, "psychedelic" means hallucinogenic drugs, "but I like to take the stance that the music itself should take you there," Maas says. For him, psychedelic music is transformative and transcendental in a lot of different ways.
"I've kind of redefined what I am in my occupation. I'm in the music therapy business, not the music business. We're making music to make people feel better, including ourselves. And the psychedelic sound, to me, is just coming from a different place than the Justin Biebers or Britney Spears. If psychedelic music could become the mainstream it would be a really good thing for America. I know a lot of people are going to cringe at hearing that, but I think it would make people a lot more open-minded."
While the Angels and Roky Erickson have played together in the past -