Austin Psych Fest Showcase @ The Spider House 03.15

Posted March 16, 2012 in

The Los Angeles-based Allah-Las played a day party at The Shangri-La in east Austin on Wednesday March 14th. Photo: Angela H. Brown

On Thursday afternoon I rolled up to Austin’s Spider House with Salt Lake City’s own Spell Talk. After spending what felt like 15 minutes searching for parking, our crew finally found a spot and made our way to the venue. The Spider House instantly blew me away—it’s an all ages venue, equipped with multiple bars, four different stages (three of which were outdoors) and on Thursday one of their many patios was lined with vintage clothing dealers.

The interior of the place is just as rad. Rusted motorcycles, ancient sign and abandoned carnival lights serve as the décor and add to the ambiance. Considering that I was there for the free Austin Psych Fest showcase—the three day music festival hosted by Austin’s Black Angels—made the experience even more mind blowing. The party started at noon, went until the wee hours of the morning and the line up consisted of more than 30 bands, many of whom will be playing Austin Psych Fest.

Mikal Cronin was setting up on the smallest of the four stages when we arrived. Admittedly, all I really knew about him was that he's one of Ty Segal’s San Francisco cronies. His set in Austin saw him performing with three other musicians. From where I was standing, I had the best view of their awesome raven-haired female drummer and their blonde guitar player. Watching their guitarist playing while skateboarding was probably one of my favorite parts of their set.

The Growlers were the next band to take the tiny stage and the crowd on the patio at Spider House seemed to have doubled by then. The six-piece spooky, surf pop band from Costa Mesa, California killed it, as usual. Lead singer Brooks Nielson waltzed and crooned to the crowd like an old time lounge singer and the group played an unexpected amount of new material. The Growlers ended their set with three of my favorite songs from their album Are You In Or Are You Out, though—“Acid Rain,” “Old Cold River” and “Empty Bones”—with the final song of the night being much more upbeat than it sounds on the record.

L.A.’s Allah-Las were next. The day before I’d seen the band play in a bar on Austin’s East Side called Shangri-La and had seen them play Salt Lake’s Urban Lounge almost a week before on tour with the Growlers. Before seeing them in Utah, I’d never heard of the Allah-Las and simply assumed that I would dig them because of the act they were touring with. Even though I’ve seen this band three times in one week, and they’ve played very similar sets all three times, I’d see them again in a heart beat. Wednesday afternoon found the four-piece playing in a humid bar with creepy fluorescent lighting, and although their set sounded a bit better the first time around, I preferred seeing them on the outside stage of Spider House. One of my favorite aspects of this group is how they combine electric and acoustic guitar together—they’re also all babes. Seriously, these four dudes could quit music and be male models if they wanted too. Drummer Matt Correia took control of the vocals for their final song of the night, "Long Journey," with a pair of maracas in hand.

Christian Bland and the Revelators were the final band that I caught at Spider House. Fronted by the guitarist of Black Angels, this show served as the LP release for the group’s second album, Pig Goat Blues. Although I dug the show and am stoked to break out the record that I bought, I have to admit that I’m a bigger fan of Black Angels, than I am of this side-project. The three-piece used less reverb then the Angels and seemed to lack some of the psychedelic influences of Bland’s other band. The bass player of the group was rocking some seriously rad facial hair though…

After their set ended I made my way outside to meet up with my SLUG cohorts. We spent some time posing in front of a fence and taking pictures of one another before running into the bass player of The Revelators, an Austin-native who also works as a bartender. His mustache was equally as awesome up-close and so obviously I decided to pretend I had a mustache while posing next to him. Overall, it was another awesome evening in Austin. 

The Los Angeles-based Allah-Las played a day party at The Shangri-La in east Austin on Wednesday March 14th. Photo: Angela H. Brown The fluorescent lighting of the club added to the mood of the Allah-Las dreamy, 60s-inspired psych-pop. Photo: Angela H. Brown The Allah-Las set ended with my favorite track by the band, sung by  drummer Matt Correia, "Long Journey." Photo: Angela H. Brown Managing Editor Jeanette D. Moses mimics the mustache of the bass player for Christian Bland & The Revelators. Photo: Angela H. Brown California-based Growlers performed at the Spider House as part of the Austin Psych Fest Showcase on Thursday March 15. Photo: Angela H. Brown The Growlers audience is riddled with fans and journalists alike, all looking to record their rare afternoon performance. Photo: Angela H. Brown Brooks Nielsen (vocalist of The Growlers), is professional multitasker The Spider House, the Austin coffee shop turned SXSW venue, is riddled with vintage treasures used for decoration, like this rotting motorcycle frame. Photo: Angela H. Brown The Allah-Las hypnotize the Spider House crowd in another SXSW-related day performance, the second attended by the SLUG Crew. Photo: Angela H. Brown Christian Bland & The Revelators entertain a packed Spider House indoor stage at the unofficial SXSW Austin Psych Fest Showcase, Thursday March 15. Photo: Angela H. Brown Christian Bland & The Revelators have a killer 60s psychedelia inspired light show. Photo: Angela H. Brown Christian Bland: The man behind The Revelators. Photo: Angela H. Brown