A look back at Psycho De Mayo 2014 at The Observatory in Santa Ana
Psycho De Mayo 2014 is in the books. In only the second year of this rapidly growing festival that takes place in Orange County, it was a complete sell out. This was a testament to the quality of artists on the lineup and also the growing brand of the festival that was crafted by DIY masters Thief Presents. Psycho De Mayo is here to stay and it’s only going to get better. Before we start moving on to next year (that doesn’t mean festival founder Thief Presents and us here at Rabbits Black don’t have some surprises for you before that) let’s stop for a second and look back at some of the best moments from Psycho De Mayo 2014 at The Observatory in Orange County.
The Observatory was packed from Noon to 2 AM on Sunday, with fans coming from around the world for this one-day gathering of like-minded music. Some of you got there by the Psycho School Bus and others by more traditional methods of travel, but no matter how you got to The Observatory you came ready to party with over 20 bands from around the world. The festival technically started on Sunday, but the festivities really got started on Saturday night in The Constellation Room in Santa Ana. That’s where the trio of Electric Flower Group, Cold Showers and A Place To Bury Strangers turned up the volume for a pre-festival show that is still resonating in our ears. We’ve been fans of Electric Flower Group since day one, and the band that started off as a powerful two piece with Josh Garza on drums and Imaad Wasif on vocals and guitar has grown over the years. They’ve add more than an album’s worth of songs to their repertoire and a bassist in Tom Biller. The result is an even fuller sound. We couldn’t agree more with having EFG as the opener to festival activities on Saturday night.
While EFG can keep your ears ringing long after their show, the 300 person capacity Constellation Room could not have been prepared for the sonic destruction that A Place To Bury Strangers laid out. The band flew in from New York specifically for this show and a DJ appearance the next day at Psycho De Mayo. It was a flight and booking well worth it. Oliver Ackermann and Dion Lunadon hammered through a chaotic set that literally had people leaving for a few minutes to grab ear plugs. We have to admit we even bought a pair, but that didn’t take away from the enjoyably intense nature of this performance. While the guitars were screeching, Robi Gonzalez held it all together on drums to complete a sound that you could hear from the bathroom next door. Oliver threw his guitar high into the air on the final song, having it crash down to the stage in what seemed like silence. Playing songs from 3 albums worth of material, it was the perfect show for new fans and those who have been with the band since their 2006 EPs. While the band was breaking down the gear, we overheard one of the bartenders say “That was the loudest show I have ever heard here.” Perfect.
Temperatures climbed into the high 80s on Sunday morning before fans even had the chance to enter The Observatory. It was going to be a hot Orange Country day for Psycho De Mayo, and that’s just the way it should have been. With over 20 bands performing throughout the day, it’s hard to pick favorites. Each artist brought their own brand of heavy, psychedelic, rock n’ roll, doom, experimental, metal, alternative, shoegaze and electronic to the stage. An eclectic lineup like this meant that fans would leave the day with various favorite sets and new artists that they would now follow. Prince Rama for example was a show that you had to see the believe. Words don’t do justice to the stage dive and choreographed dance of Taraka and Nimai Larson to end their set. Lumerians were another act that had fans attention throughout. You can catch a glimpse of the stage show here, with the full band decked out in their ominous garb. An early favorite during the day was the band Harsh Toke who brought a furious blend of pure rock n’ roll guitars that enveloped the main room. Everyone who saw their set came out a fan. There was a viscous pace of metal and rock with Zigs Zags, Dahga Bloom and The Shrine. The main stage was host to probably the purest form of rock throughout the day, ushering in an unrelenting pace of great bands.
While artists were tearing it up inside, the music festival was welcoming fans to its various places of music, food, drinks and entertainment outside. Behind the main stage was a oversized lot that was taken over specially for Psycho De Mayo. Active Rideshop set up a half-pipe that played host to various pro-skaters throughout the day. The half-pipe had less rest then the stages at Psycho De Mayo, with pros and amateurs shredding under the sun for hours. Vinyl DJs Matt Draper, Taylor Forney and TOEJAMZ provided tunes while fans perused the various festival and artist merch. At the Rabbits Black lounge, fans lined up throughout the day for special artist signings and meet and greets. This is where the legends started making their first appearances of the day, and none were greater than Saint Vitus and Pentagram.
Continue to the next page for Dead Meadow, Pentagram, Kadavar and official Rabbits Black photos from Psycho De Mayo.