Live Review: Roky Erickson @ City Arts Fest, Neumo’s 10/21

photos by James Bailey

The audience was full of energy as I got to Neumo’s right before Roky Erickson came on stage. Dubbed one of the initiators of psychedelic rock, Mr. Erickson, now 63 years young, has been in the music scene out of Austin, Texas since the mid ’60′s when he was a founder of 13th Floor Elevators. He put on a set of bluesy garage rock to a rowdy crowd with more than a few senior citizens, not something you see every night at a venue such as Neumo’s. Nonetheless, they fit right in as Erickson, sly smile set on his face for the whole night, displayed his influential combination of talking, yelling and singing over heavily distorted and chugging blues/garage-rock guitar riffs. In-between songs, Erickson joked and made small-talk with the fans up front.

He seemed at home on-stage, carrying himself with a light-hearted and jovial nature, not something he as always been able to do (he was diagnosed with mental insanity and paranoid schizophrenia back in the late ’60′s/early ’70′s). And yet, Erickson and company sounded great, especially on songs such as “Night of the Vampire” and “Stand For the Fire Demon,” both tracks off of albums released in the 1980′s. Along with the 1981′s The Evil One, a good amount of the set was from the ’80′s, a time when Erickson insisted that a Martian had taken over his body, that he was an alien. Considering Erickson’s musical (and extracurricular) history, he would be hard-set to put on a dull show. It was certainly a night to remember, as is any night when one is provided with the chance to see a legend.

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