Austin Psych Fest Live: Silver Apples

Oscillations from a ‘psychodelic’ grandfather

Simeon Coxe, 4.26.13
Simeon Coxe, 4.26.13
photo by Gary Miller

Electronic rock pioneer Simeon Coxe turns 75 this year, and what better way to celebrate three quarters of a century of existence than by hitting Austin Psych Fest on Friday night under the Silver Apples name with which he’s most associated?

Playing solo with a pile of pedals, cables, knobs, and samples, Coxe mixed analog and digital electronica for a performance that hearkened back to the past even as it sounded contemporary.

Busy, programmed rhythm tracks put one foot on the modern dance floor, though the other remained firmly in the realm of hand-turned knobs and volume pedal howls. Coxe also served notice that this wasn’t simply a Sixties nostalgia trip, debuting a pair of brand new tunes and one from A Lake of Teardrops, his buzzing collaborative LP from Silver Apples and Peter “Sonic Boom” Kember’s Spectrum, which headlines the Levitation tent tonight.

The bulk of the set, however, consisted of landmark tracks from the free love era. The two records Coxe made with late drummer Danny Taylor still hold up, in part because of the distinctive combination of romantic, nature-inspired lyrics and futuristic machine music. Thus Silver Apples stalwarts “Misty Mountain,” “Seagreen Serenades,” and “A Pox On You” elicited cheers from a crowd of kids for whom this Silver Apple could be a grandfather.

Coxe ended the set with “Oscillations,” the first tune on the first S.A. album, and as cogent a statement of purpose as anything in rock, leaving what he called a “psychodelic” audience completely satisfied.

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