Thursday, January 10, 2013

This weekend: Psych Fest 4: Into the 4th Dimension

By Andrew Hertzberg

(poster by Matthew Ginsberg, from Facebook)
In a recent interview with the Chicago Tribune, Psych Fest organizer Matthew Ginsberg was asked about what attracts people to psych-rock. “It's a new world, but not too far removed. It's creative, colorful, dark and light,” he responded. Looking over the ten bands playing this year’s two-day fest, it’d be hard to come up with a clear cut definition of what psych-rock actually means. For a fest (now in its fourth year) that is said to promote one genre, well, it’s a bit all over. While many bands will surely have similar influences, they express their own creativity through those three different outlets: colorful, dark, or light. It’s sure to make for an interesting weekend. Here’s a brief rundown on each band to help you decide where on the spectrum you dig:

Friday night, January 11th

Mako Sica: Maybe some eerie sounding free jazz is what you’re looking for. Buried behind layers of reverb, this three-piece is more in line with Sun Ra than Jefferson Airplane.
Variety Lights: Listening to Variety Lights Central Flow right after Mercury Rev’s Yerself Is Steam is an exercise in contrasts. While Rev frontman David Baker is back with Variety Lights, he’s swapped the more classic psych sound for a modernized electronic soundscape.
Dark Fog: Fuzzed out guitars, trippy vocals, explosive drums. Yup. Sounds like Dark Fog.
Plastic Crimewave Syndicate: If you pay any attention to the psych scene in Chicago, you know who Steven Krakow is and what he does with PCS. Never for the faint of heart; bring earbuds.
Energy Gown: The newest band to the scene on the bill, Energy Gown have been steadily playing around town, hypnotic in their repetition, and unique for the weekend with male/female vocal harmonies. Check out their new I Watch the Sun EP.

Saturday night, January 12th

Outer Minds: Outer Minds are all over this city. Perhaps more garage than psych, but definitely not too far from the '60s San Francisco Sound.
The Velcro Lewis Group: Probably the funkiest group on the bill, VLG promises to debut some new songs.
Miracle Condition: These sludgy post-rockers have more in common with a band like Russian Circles and even '90s indie rock than what you'd expect from a psych-band, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Underground Symposium: Not too much on Underground Symposium yet, but as per the interview linked above, they “channel the funky sitar grooves of the '60s and '70s."
Bitchin Bajas: In case you’re busy every Tuesday this month, the experimental Bitchin Bajas open up the show, most likely with a set that’ll be entirely different than the four others they are playing at the Hideout this month as part of their residency.

Both shows are 21+ and start at 9 PM. $10 for single day ticket or $16 for two. Early arrival recommended; this will sell out! Click ahead for more info: Friday night and Saturday night.

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