Photos by Holly Jee Photography ©2023
Written by Holly Jee
A celebration of anti-everything culture and painstaking self-expression, Oblivion Access once again unite’s Austin’s gritty Red River District with an earsplitting weekend of unbridled rage in the heat of the Texas summer. The festival serves up a thrilling farrago of genres, with the only commonality being that no band sounded the same.
Largely an expression of musical innovation, cross-pollination, and a stern refusal to accommodate social norms, Oblivion employs Red River’s pillar venues as festival-goers wade through the weekend’s showcases. Austin’s only hub for the goth subculture, Elysium, downtown’s premier home for metal and post-show nightcaps, Valhalla, the newly established Chess Club, genre-agnostic behemoth Empire Control Room & Garage, and the historic Mohawk serve as the paramount home-bases for the shows.
Performing explosive black metal from Midland and Austin, Texas, Trench Warfare brought a humble yet potent mosh pit to Thursday’s Valhalla event, and set the stage for Cloak, who celebrated their newest release, “Black Flame Eternal.”
At Elysium, Oklahoma City’s Chat Pile. Fans of Big Black and The Jesus Lizard will gravitate seamlessly to this post-noise industrial Midwest outfit’s punishing catalog of audible catharsis.
Austin’s own noise punk endeavor, Fuck Money, rose from diy word-of-mouth affection and a “less-is-more” approach to marketing and live appearances to owning the daylight slot in Mohawk’s showcase with Clams Casino and CLIPPING.
Empire Control Room hosted an evening of rock veterans including USA/MEXICO, who have their roots in the Austin, Texas noise scene, and feature Butthole Surfers drummer, King Coffey, lead singer of Drain, Craig Clouse, and Nate Cross of Marriage on bass. Jarboe, known as a prominent member of the experimental group, SWANS, haunts the stage with an atmospheric soundtrack of electronic collages and heavy, knuckle-dragging rhythms. Fun fact: both her parents were FBI agents.
Capping off the fest, also at Empire, was legendary PNW trio, YOB, playing to a devout clan lost in the band’s cloudy blend of doom, sludge, space, stoner, and droning prog rock to end a weekend of sweat, vomit, and screams with a pillow-y comedown.