Austin Psych Fest Live (Saturday): Kaleidoscope (UK)

Strawberry monkeys for ‘The Sky Children’

Peter Daltrey, Carson Creek Ranch, 4.27.13
Peter Daltrey, Carson Creek Ranch, 4.27.13
photo by Shelley Hiam

Prior to Saturday’s show, Kaleidoscope vocalist Peter Daltrey hadn’t played an outdoor music festival since an ill-fated appearance at Isle of Wight in 1970. “I can tell you this,” Daltrey said. “The vibe here is way better.”

Backed by a all-star band that included Rob Campanella from Brian Jonestown Massacre along with Nick Castro and Christof Certik from the Young Elders, Daltrey unloaded a treasure chest of vintage, late-Sixties British psychedelia. If the setup and line checks took longer than normal, it was only because the band had a passion for getting the sound and feel just right. Even the vintage keyboards rang with authenticity.

The show began with a hiccup when Silver Phial drummer Cheryl Caddick initiated the count-off before Daltrey was ready. From there, the modern-day Kaleidoscope locked into 1968’s “A Dream for Julie” and didn’t let go for the rest of the performance. Were those strawberry monkeys in the trees, or just crickets chirping?

From “The Glorious House of Arthur” to “Flight from Ashiya,” Daltrey’s colorful wordplay drove home the degree to which British psychedelia in particular was influenced by classic children’s literature. As his tales unfurled, you could almost see a gaggle of acid-eyed miscreants running playfully through castles full of antiquities.

Rain began to fall just as the band reached “The Sky Children.” Although the crowd thinned out in back, the devotees at the foot of the stage soaked up every verse of the eight-minute epic. It was about as close as you could get to 1968 without a time machine.

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