Kris Rothstein's Blog

Levitation Vancouver

Kris Rothstein

The festival is constructing a narrative about music that begins with a reference back to the psychedelic style of the 1960s but looks forward in order to include a variety of genres which have the same intention - to expand and open minds.

Malkin Bowl was the originally planned main venue but the action was moved to the Commodore Ballroom. Too bad for Friday which was sunny and beautiful but rather better news on a wet Saturday. The indoor venue wasn't as conducive to a festival atmosphere but I'm not sure that most audience members minded.

Fidlar are an LA band, who began with catchy punk songs about their hedonistic party lifestyle which isn't as sustainable now that they've grown up a bit and become generally more professional. They sing about cheap beer and they still drink it. They always sound good although some shows have more vitality than others.

For me, the most anticipated set was also the best. Cherry Glazzer have a new record coming out in a few months and a new lineup. But the style and charisma remains the same - it is all Clementine Creevy, the frontwoman and song-writer who is still a teenager. She brings infectious, authentic energy to her songs - both the older dreamier ones and the new noisier ones.

Hinds are four ladies from Spain and they play pretty classic garage rock. They did not give us a drum solo but they had sweet melodies and tons of enthusiasm.

John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees is one of the most intense men in rock and roll. Two years ago he dissolved the classic lineup of the band and now plays with a different bassist and two drummers. I always thought the double synchronized drumming was a gimmick but when it's on, it's pretty impressive. And this was probably the best show I've seen them play in those two years - it was loud and raucous and fun. The band is kind of the perfect marriage of psych and garage with songs that sprawl and spiral.

Many other great bands played at other venues around town: Suuns, Shabazz Palaces, Heron Oblivion, Morgan Delt. I could not see them all.

Hopefully Levitation remains a permanent part of the Vancouver musical landscape. It certainly brings together a great range of performers and I think that, given more time, the whole concept will gel and coalesce even more.



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