Austin Psych Fest Live (Saturday): Young Magic

A blank and offending canvas

There was a moment yesterday, in hustling to a music festival to see Young Magic, that I realized something was wrong. Not that bottom of-the-bill bands haven’t moved me to action on other Saturdays – quite the opposite actually – but driving out of the way to see Young Magic seemed particularly obtuse, like I was parodying myself.

Standing alone under a tent in the early afternoon, I watched Aussie-born Brooklynite Isaac Emmanuel crank the same bland, colorless beats out of his rig, sole witness to the duo’s rambling, dizzy songs stumbling around onstage before collapsing dead after three or four minutes. Others had actually assembled into the Levitation tent, but it was still a lonely feeling in there, watching indifferent sound crash against an increasingly indifferent mass of organic matter.

Suddenly I wasn’t sure what to make of myself.

Last year’s debut disc, the Carpark-released Melt, offered an interesting effort, but yesterday I almost felt offended. Offended that someone would even consider naming their band Young Magic, and offended at myself for even being in this position. I don’t think I was in a bad mood. If I was, then the rest of the crowd must’ve been equally pissed off.

Young Magic inspired nothing. They were the music equivalent of a blank canvas. Plenty of other upstarts would probably also flounder given the situation, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have some explaining to do.

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