SXSW Music Live: Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase

ATX viral synth wave stars Survive levitate

Takeover of Hotel Vegas by Austin’s Levitation festival and its sponsoring Reverberation Appreciation Society on Thursday evening meant a variety of what constitutes psychedelia. Dead Meadow represented heavy stoner rock, Crocodiles grinned friendly indie-pop, and Royal Trux rolled out grungy slop. Ultimately, four local acts ruled the roost.

Survive (Photo by John Anderson)

Facing a packed house thanks to the increased notoriety of penultimate act Survive, Ringo Deathstarr delivered a solid set of its shoegazing power trio rock. Dedicated to the heady side of Nineties alt-rock, the coed threesome ripped through a blend of pop melodies and amp-blasting distortion, including a few new songs and a surprising shift from “So High” to Rush’s “Spirit of Radio.”

Thanks to the presence of a buzz band on the bill, sitar genius Indrajit Banerjee and tabla master Gourisankar spun their dazzling web of classical Indian raga and improvisation for a larger crowd than usual, winning over the youthful audience before the first song ended.

Costumed conglomerate the Golden Dawn Arkestra wasted no time diving deep into its rich ocean of Afrobeat, orchestral funk, and mystical hoodoo. Hipsters awaiting Eighties-inspired synth seemed taken aback, but by the time the Arkestra built up to “Masakayli,” even New Yorkers were dancing furiously.

Anyone following GDA faces a challenge, but Survive succeeded despite its m.o. of four guys calmly twirling knobs and plinking keyboards without a word to, or even acknowledgement of, the audience. Thanks to Stranger Things, the band held its own, letting John Carpenter/Tron-inspired waves of electronica flow out over the attentive audience with enough drama and volume to be compelling.

The crowd seemed more subdued than it did for the Arkestra, especially when they weren’t sure when one song ended and another began. The Stranger Things theme brought the show home to applause most synth wave bands will never experience.

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Reverberation Appreciation Society Showcase, SXSW, SXSW Music 2017, Survive, Dead Meadow, Golden Dawn Arkestra, Indrajit Banerjee, Ringo Deathstarr, Crocodiles

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