13th Floor Elevators Reuniting at Austin's Levitation In May

Elevators front man Roky Erickson at Houston's Continental Club on Halloween night 2013
Elevators front man Roky Erickson at Houston's Continental Club on Halloween night 2013
Photo by Jason Wolter

Here's a Friday the 13th surprise we can only hope turns out to be true: Levitation, the trippy three-day weekend formerly known as Austin Psych Fest, has already landed some big names this year, like Spiritualized, the Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream and Tame Impala. But Friday morning the festival announced arguably the grandaddy of them all, Houston's 13th Floor Elevators, will close the event on May 10 in what is billed as a "50th anniversary performance."

Surviving Elevators Roky Erickson, Tommy Hall, John Ike Walton and Ronnie Leatherman will share the stage for the first time since 1967 and be joined by numerous "special guests," Levitation announced today. The festival is scheduled for May 8-10 at Carson Creek Ranch outside of Austin; single-day tickets are now on sale at austinpsychfest.com.

"Each year a few bands on our wish list get checked off, many that we've had on the list for many years," Rob Fitzpatrick, Levitation co-founder and booker, said in a statement. "Having the 13th Floor Elevators on the festival lineup is just something we hadn't even dared to dream about.

"The band is massively influential and important to psychedelic rock and music in general, and we're so proud to host this performance in May," he added. "Surreal."

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Although the Elevators were based in Austin, Psychedelic Sounds and its 1967 followup Easter Everywhere (which some consider better and more influential than their debut) were released on the Houston-based International Artists label, which also issued albums by groups like Bubble Puppy, the Red Krayola (both based in Houston), the Golden Dawn, and even legendary blues guitarist Lightnin' Hopkins.

Another band in that circle was the Moving Sidewalks, with whom the Elevators reportedly shared a house in Houston for several months around this time. Even money that Sidewalks guitarist Billy Gibbons, now of ZZ Top, is the first "special guest" the Elevators will call onstage.

Now in its eighth year, Levitation will also host the Flaming Lips, Lightning Bolt, the Sword, Mac DeMarco A Place to Bury Strangers, Thee Oh Sees, Health, Ringo Deathstarr, Spindrift, Earth and the Black Angels, whose Alex Maas and Christian Bland are among Levitation's co-founders. Houston's Indian Jewelry is also scheduled to play on May 8.

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