8 acts to see during the 2nd Levitation Vancouver psych-worshiping festival

Tuesday 07th, June 2016 / 19:49
By Joshua Erickson, Daniel Robichaud, Galen Robinson-Exo and Graeme Wiggins
Flying Lotus is one among many can't miss acts during the 2nd edition of Levitation Vancouver.

Flying Lotus is one among many can’t miss acts during the 2nd edition of Levitation Vancouver.

UPDATE: All Malkin Bowl shows have been moved to the Commodore Ballroom.

VANCOUVER — With the success of last year’s inaugural event, Levitation Vancouver is back for its second year. Though it is billed as a “psych” festival, the music you will find here is a far cry from the sitars and acid washed jeans you may be thinking of. With punk, metal, electronic, indie, and more represented on the lineup, what unites all the bands performing is the love of experimentation and being open to new experiences. After all, the term “psychedelic” was never meant to describe a sound, but rather an experience. So open up your mind and check out some of BeatRoute’s picks of the fest! (JE)

The Allah-las

Staples of modern garage rock, The Allah-las excel at crafting low-fi tunes that embody a spirit of hazy nostalgia. Their reverb-heavy brand of psychedelia is evocative of long road trips down lonely California highways. This Los Angeles-based four-piece are vanguards of 1960’s-era rock sensibilities, faithfully carrying the torch. (GRE)

The Allah-las perform at the Commodore Ballroom Malkin Bowl on June 18.


FIDLAR have matured since smashing us in the nose with their self-titled 2013 debut. That was supposed to be a joke. FIDLAR? Mature?! Never! Well, turns out these fun, drug-loving L.A. punks have matured… kind of. Their most recent effort, TOO, finds Zac Carper musing on his hard lifestyle and where it’s gotten him – all while flipping us off and washing down pills with more cheap beer. Spiralling towards the bottom has rarely been more fun. (DR)

FIDLAR performs at the Malkin Bowl Commodore Ballroom on June 17.

Flying Lotus

Entirely free of being bound by genre, Flying Lotus’s prolific output is quickly becoming a thing of legend. In the last few years alone he released his jazz-psych-electro-freakout opus You’re Dead, produced Kendrick Lamar’s extraordinary To Pimp A Butterfly, toured as Earl Sweatshirt’s DJ’s, and has collaborated with the likes of Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, Shabazz Palaces, George Clinton, and more. Now Flying Lotus makes his return to Vancouver to headline the final night of Levitation at the Malkin Bowl. Expect nothing less than a transcendent performance. (JE)

Flying Lotus performs at the Malkin Bowl Commodore Ballroom on June 18.

Russian Circles

Russian Circles headline this year’s Rickshaw launch party. This tradition of kicking off the festival with arguably the loudest, most devastating act is one of which BeatRoute giddily approves. This Chicago post-metal trio walks the border between the beautiful and the terrifying, often marrying the two. The result of which is a heady, expansive, foundation-shaking mix – a violent transcendence. It’s time to let your squishy eyeballs roll back into your skull and stare out your Third Eye. (DR)

Russian Circles perform at the Rickshaw on June 16.

Thee Oh Sees

Proof that garage rock will never die. Formed over ten years ago, Thee Oh Sees helped create the DIY blueprint for a whole new generation of garage rockers and made the future careers of Ty Segall and Mikal Cronin possible. It’s hard to say whether they are known more for Jon Dwyer’s songwriting or for their blistering live show that is known to be one of the best around, blowing the roof off of venues leaving crowds bruised, battered, and satisfied. (GW)

Thee Oh Sees perform at the Malkin Bowl Commodore Ballroom on June 18.


There are not many famous bass players, let alone ones that managed to be a part of three of the most critically lauded albums of last year (His solo record The Beyond/Where the Giants Roam, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic and Kendrick Lamar’s universally adored To Pimp a Butterfly). With jazz roots and experimental sensibilities, Thundercat’s cross-genre blend is funky enough to fill the dancefloor and smart enough to expand the mind. (GW)

Thundercat performs at the Imperial on June 18.


An ambient music project led by San Francisco’s Scott Harris, also known as IS050 in the visual art world. Tycho’s music is characterized by warm, melodic tones and layered samples, creating aural landscapes that exhibit both melancholy and hope. His live show is known to effortlessly mesh dancing, trippy visuals, and great vibes all together. You won’t want to miss it. (GRE)

Tycho performs at the Malkin Bowl Commodore Ballroom on June 17.

White Lung

Loud, vicious, and socially conscious, White Lung are one of the most exciting punk bands operating right now. And they are from right here, in Vancouver, BC! With each album, White Lung has moved their sound in a progressive direction and their newest record, Paradise, may be their most aggressive and brash, while simultaneously being their most pop-y and accessible yet. With a killer live show to boot, White Lung will be the talk of the fest after their performance. (JE)

White Lungs performs at the Malkin Bowl Commodore Ballroom on June 17.

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