SXSW Music: Golden Dawn Arkestra

Sun Ra’s second coming and a psych-soul surprise

SXSWers thought they were coming to Austin. Instead, they were swept into the cosmos. The bizarro space caravan known as Golden Dawn Arkestra has now ballooned to 18 band members, including a 7-piece horn section, three elaborately costumed dancers, and a wizard who just chills with a staff at the back of the stage.

Photo by Jana Birchum

Photo by Jana Birchum

The Austin ensemble opened with electro-funk anthem “Spacewaves” from last month’s sophomore LP Stargazer as plumes of incense blanketed the stage on Maggie Mae’s rooftop. Golden Dawn might be the greatest visual spectacle in music (horned helmets, headdresses, turbans, and oversized wings), but they truly assault all of the senses. What began as a Sun Ra tribute band has evolved to include touchstones as varied as P-Funk, Daft Punk, and Dee-Lite.

“You’re all just particles of stardust,” pronounced Zapot Mgwana, bandleader and supposed progeny of Sun Ra himself. “Whoever you want to be, you can be. You are your own destiny.”

Prior to the space oddity, local newcomers Los Coast blasted eardrums with a rollicking dose of psychedelic soul. Led by the bare feet and big voice of frontman Trey Privott, the fivepiece travels the same lane as fellow homie Black Joe Lewis – gritty soul delivered with a punk rock ethos. Well, as punk rock as you can be wearing no shoes and a woven shawl.

Formed just last year, Los Coast has little online presence and no official releases. They’re still experimenting with styles. There were bits of doo-wop, rockabilly, deep soul, and James Brown-inspired rapping all meshing in such a manner that it’s not hard to imagine them soon becoming the next great Austin soul act.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
Playback: Biggest Austin Music Stories of 2016
Playback: Biggest Austin Music Stories of 2016
Looking back on the biggest Music news headlines of the year

Kevin Curtin, Dec. 23, 2016

Playback: Welcome to Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW
Playback: Welcome to Terrordome: Sixth Street During SXSW
Appraising APD's solution to Sixth Street during SXSW

Kevin Curtin, April 8, 2016

More by Thomas Fawcett
Dispatches From a New Decade of SXSW
Dispatches From a New Decade of SXSW
Our favorite musical moments from the fest

March 25, 2022

The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Friday
The Best Music We Saw at SXSW on Friday
Seventies funk GOATs, queer nu metal, and so much more

March 19, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Golden Dawn Arkestra, Los Coast, SXSW Music 2016, Sun Ra, Black Joe Lewis, James Brown, Trey Privott

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle