Oblivion Access Overcomes All Obstacles

Oblivion Access 2023 overcomes all the usual weather oddities to throw one of the finest crated festival festivals in the United States
GEL at Oblivion Access 2023. photo by Helios Andrew

Oblivion Access Festival has asserted itself as a beacon for all music freaks existing on the fringes. Formerly known as Austin Terror Fest, the 2nd edition of the event’s rebirth brought to life curation from founders Dusty Brooks and Dorian Domi. As the continued changes and challenges in the music industry evolve within a digital post-pandemic landscape – this gathering feels more crucial than ever.

Excessive heat warnings spiked on Thursday for opening day, but this didn’t stop fans in Austin from packing into the sold-out Duster gig. Austin borne 6-piece Nuclear Daisies started off the night with a caustic yet shimmering punch of electronica. The swell of humidity urged this writer to venture inside and forgo SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE. Incidentally by luck or the threat of heat stroke, Mississippi’s MSPAINT became a pivotal discovery for the weekend. Live tracks off their 2023 brash debut LP Post-American seemed to embody the shapeshifting pneuma of the festival itself, drawing on everything from metallic dance punk, synthwave, and hip-hop -all stewed in Southern heat. Another honorable mention for Thursday goes to Elizabeth Colour Wheel, who played one of several gigs supported by experimental label The Flenser. Terrifying, hypnotic, vulnerable; a whirlwind of gloomy guitars pierced by singer Lane Shi Otayonii’s possessed howl.

Oblivion Access 2023 overcomes all the usual weather oddities to throw one of the finest crated festival festivals in the United States

Earth at Oblivion Access 2023. photo by Andrea @heliosandrew

Lightning strikes altered set times for Friday, but most acts went on to perform in packed venues. Riki offered an ethereal goth rendition of classic Spanish ballad “Porque de Vas” off her latest album Gold. TR/ST, the industrial darling of the fest, played impeccably to a writhing crowd well into the afterhours. Saturday offered a respite from the temps as well as the longest day of music. The Dais Records showcase saw Salt Lake City’s Choir Boy demonstrate their swooning powers in full force. A dash of jangle-pop hooks, a hint of The Cure circa “Let’s Go to Bed” and a massive dose of melancholy proved to coax all back to life. Perhaps one of the most groundbreaking performances of the weekend, EARTH utilized quadrophonic sound to shake the foundations of a Presbyterian Church playing their droning cult classic, Earth 2.

By Day 4, most were worn thin by the sauna-like conditions but maybe that’s why it was booked as OA’s rowdiest, heaviest commencement of festivities. There was no lack of crowdsurfing for Sunday’s Mohawk lineup. A whirlpool of smiles, sweat and pogoing were in order for New Jersey thrashcore punx GEL. The bellows of doom metal reigned supreme as Pallbearer and YOB closed out the weekend at Empire. More than another run-of the mill consumer culture spectacle – Oblivion Access finds itself as a strong contender for the most innovative festival curation seen in a city known worldwide for live music. No doubt that even in their second edition under this new concept they’ve cultivated a community itching for next year’s lineup drop.

Words by Linden Krause


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