Lost In Space Returns, Tomorrow Night
Meant to talk about this in detail long before now, but other stuff’s been pressing down on me (some of which you’ll hopefully be able to see the fruits of very soon), and it’s kind of slipped down the pile — sorry ’bout that, y’all.
My lame slowness is made worse by the fact that tomorrow night’s show (that’s Friday, April 30th, btw) promises to be a truly badass deal. It’s the second-ever installment of the Lost In Space Festival, which some readers might recall from back in December of last year. Yours truly went, and I have to say that I had a blast, even if the original plans to have bands blasting spacerock out under the downtown night skies got scuttled by freezing temps — some great, great bands, the majority of which I’d never seen before, lots of friendly people, and a generally chilled-out, laid-back, non-hipster atmosphere.
So I’m glad to see co-organizers Marcus Gausepohl and Meghan Hendley have decided to do it again, especially since they’re apparently prepared for any inclement weather (and thankfully, the weather’s not likely to put me into a hypothermic state like it did last time when I foolishly ventured up onto the roof). It’ll be back at the Mekong Center parking lot/rooftop again, up above Khon’s Bar, which means I’m psyched once more about checking out epic, majestic walls of guitar sound spiraling up towards the starry skies…
And of course, they’ve again put together a damn fine pile of bands. They headliners are Fest vets My Education, from Austin, who play moody/melancholy, atmospheric, mostly-instrumental rock that incorporates some cool strings, and local DJ/electronicist phenom Yppah, who’s made some big waves in the electronic music world & is now signed to Ninja Tune Recs.
While they’re the big names on the flyer, though, neither act is apparently closing out the night — Gausepohl’s own band Golden Cities will be taking that spot, doing their intriguing, almost jazz-inflected spacerock thing before the early morning hours begin. GC were honestly one of the best bands I caught at the first Fest; don’t be a wuss and leave early, eh?
Rounding things out are Together. We Are Instruments, who I haven’t heard much by as of now, I’m afraid, and Shaun Kelly (Rotten Piece, Sad Pygmy)/Scott Ayers (Pain Teens, Walking Timebombs) project Exterminating Angels, which I have no clue about beyond the pedigree, and Austinites Many Birthdays.
Also playing are newish, ’60s-sounding, VU-worshiping, psych-garage rockers Passengers, who I’ve heard & been impressed by but have yet to see live, Inner Lights, which is the latest brainchild of Kevin Richardson, ex- of The John Sparrow, Sore Loser, and about a million other bands, and which I hear is like Southern-fried Britrock.
Oh, and I cannot forget about The Manichean, who put on a spectacle that truly has be seen to be believed. Not sure how they’ll pull it off on the rooftop, but the inside version of the show is like The Decemberists gone Southern Gothic, all murk and complex, intricately-woven songs and ultra-dramatic vocals. I’ll grant that it may not be for everybody, but if you can get past the theatricality of it, trust me, it’s worth it.
As you can see from the flyer, things kick off at 7PM, and it’s all for a measly $9.99. Here’s the full schedule, the last I saw it:
|8:00-8:30||Together. We Are Instruments|
And hey, since we chatted a bit with the Fest’s organizers last time around, I figured it was high time to catch up & see what’s up with the new one. Here goes:
SCR: So, why #2? Was the plan all along to make this a series of shows?
Meghan: We had contacted My Education and Many Birthdays about doing a rooftop show back in February, and they were down. We also realized that we had inquiries from other bands that were interested in a rooftop series of concerts. Many of them were acts that we like, and why not combine into one night?
Also, we had so many people ask us to throw another festival after the one in December. We had said “no” originally, especially since spring is crazy…but we’re artists and we change our minds all the time. It’s also the fact that SXSW didn’t wipe us out completely either! The venue was there, bands were willing, and we had recovered enough from the last one to go full steam ahead.
How’d the original Lost In Space go, by the way? I mean, I had a blast, but what was the general response like?
Meghan: Hmm…take a frigid atmosphere, a big husk of a space to shelter those from the cold, 13 bands that all ran on time, Forests, who made our rooftop dreams come true even if it was only for 30 minutes as we huddled under blankets, a devoted and diverse crowd of music fanatics that stayed pretty much for every set, even into early morning hours. Violins, guitars, congas, laptops, video projections, a lava lamp projector, tons of pedals, and lots of good beer. Everyone got paid, we could’nt have been happier. That’s why we did it again.
I see some LIS veterans on the bill, alongside the new bands; how did you come up the lineup this time out? Is there any kind of overarching theme going on?
Marcus: A lot of the lineup are bands that were not available to play last year. I think it’s important to have the majority of the bands from the region. Just more artists from the extended family we try to keep in contact with through this or that. My own selfish desire is to bring different people together so that maybe they will go and collaborate in their own ways. This year, we are including different video artists from various communities. Special videos are being made for paticular bands.
I know you folks are planning on trying to do it on the Mekong Center roof again this time. Is there a backup plan, in case a monsoon hits or something? I ventured briefly up to the roof last time and was very glad y’all moved the festivities downstairs…
Marcus: I personally want to throw a music festival in a water park; there’s actually a club in Budapest that is in a swimming pool with underwater speakers! But we rented a big tent, so the show will go on. We also have a space downstairs that Golden Cities will be playing in. We can move bands downstairs if need be. So everything should be good, regardless.
Any surprises for this time out? Special guest appearances by members of Can or Jandek or anything like that?
Marcus: Jandek is pretty hard to get a hold of, and he likes to play really early. I love me some Tago Mago, but I doubt I could afford to pay anyone who played on that record. The surprise is in the food! Khon will reveal his special salt toasted tofu fusion taco at 9PM, especially for Lost In Space! My boss is the most amazing cook. The things he can do with a grill and some spices are incredible. We are suggesting a pairing of Saigon Pilsner for our beer drinkers or our German Riesling and Catalina Sounds Sauvignon Blanc for something more adventurous.
Along similar lines, do y’all have a “wish list” of people you’d like to have play a future LIS?
Marcus: I WOULD PAY SERIOUS MONEY FOR A SURFACE OF ECEON OR A YUME BITSU REUNION. Any artists from Strange Attractor or Kranky Records would be great. Though most of the people I would give my right arm to see are living in Germany somewhere, drinking pilsner and not planning on coming to America.
Meghan: I know many acts that I’d like to raise from the dead somehow… As for me, I’ll be realistic although there are many bands, especially since many of my wishlist members are from Europe. I would really like to see The Black Angels come play and to strengthen the Texas theme of the lineup. Every year we bring some of the Austin musicians down. I would like to see this be a continuing theme as we go on. A lot of our friends from out of state are just not touring this far south. So, as time goes on, we will be able to bring different musicians to town.
There you go, folks — get on out tomorrow night & see a side of downtown you’ve never seen ’til now…