Austin Psych Fest Live (Sunday): The Cult of Dom Keller

The madcap still laughs – occasionally

What have you done with Dom Keller?
What have you done with Dom Keller? (by Gary Miller)

There’s a fine line between studied artistic apathy and the real deal, and these heavy heavy roarers fell across and into the divide. The Nottingham UK quartet fuses the bad trip and mellow sides of psych, and sometimes that works, but even under the shade of the Levitation tent, daylight exposed all the welds.

Drummer Dave Biggs’ thundering set-up to “All I Want is Not Now” belied the foursome’s roots in the British industrial north. Under a Municipal Waste cap, hammering and slamming, he set a beat of cosmic invasion, as much post-rock as psych.

Meanwhile, slurring singer Neil Marsden was happy to lean on his keyboard and rip out another page from Syd Barrett’s Madcap Laughs. Stage left on bass, Jimmy Vincent was static and close-mouthed aside from a brief chat with a roadie. Rather than contrast, it was contradiction, and when the gaps were bridged, it was courtesy of Ryan Delgaudio’s guitar.

The bastard offspring of a deranged threeway between Peter Buck, Dave Brock, and William Reid, he drenched the opening moments of finale “Swamp Heron Blues” with Link Wray-on-‘ludes cool. Soon enough, he flailed into his own freakout, all fuzz and fury. He didn’t need the theatrics.

All set, back to the crowd, his only motion was hands on the strings and his pixie-booted foot on the pedals. With that, he had still torn the air and swirled it into furious waves. As he squalled and wailed on the floor, Dom Keller’s cult status made a little more sense.

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The Cult of Dom Keller, Austin Psych Fest, Syd Barrett, Link Wray, Peter Buck, Dave Brock, William Reid, Ryan Delgaudio, Dave Biggs, Municipal Waste

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