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Deep Heaven Now is This Saturday, 1pm, Union Square

Deep Heaven Now is This Saturday, 1pm, Union Square

Starting at 1pm on Saturday, Union Square's PA's Lounge and Precinct host Deep Heaven Now's triumphant return!

The storied festival began in the early 90's, spotlighting some of the best East coast psychedelic bands of the time.  It was often held in private loft spaces, and was a merging of auditory and visual arts, augmented by projection videos and lights.  It carried with it a strong sense of artistic community - not just by nature of the festival, but, in many ways, inherent to the genre itself.

"I think it's one of the more charming aspects of the ambient/psych/experimental scene," says Jinsen Liu, singer/guitarist for 28 Degrees Taurus, one of two headliners for this year's reboot.  "It's timeless and there's far less ageism and boundaries within it.  Everyone has something to offer each other."  

Liu attended Deep Heaven Now back in its heyday in the late 90's.  He was a musician at the time, and the festival was an inspiration for his own music's direction.  Now, his band is one of the hardest working acts in Boston, self-funding records and tours, playing out constantly in Boston, and, as individuals, reaching out to collaborate with other local acts.  

More than a decade after he bought his first ticket to Deep Heaven Now, he's reaching back to that golden age of psychedelia and bringing the festival back.

"It all started with a conversation at a bar when the idea hit me," he explains.  "I think it was just a joke at the time, but the more I thought about it, I felt I could actually make it happen."  

"Make it happen" may prove an understatement; the 2010 installment carries the tradition with it, but stands also as a re-imagining.  The all-day event, held in Union Square, is a double-venue spectacle.  Nineteen bands, from as far as Minneapolis, will contribute their voices, their sets strategically staggered at half hour intervals, so the (rightly) ambitious in attendance can hop back and forth and catch music by every band.  One $10 ticket buys you access to both clubs for the entirety of the event, assuring fans get their money's worth and discover some new music as they go.

"The timing was right," Liu says of bringing the festival back.  "The scene here in Boston is vibrant and electric enough right now and there's a deep core of talent here within the ambient/psych/experimental genres.  But it's still very fractured. [...] I felt I was in the perfect position to bring back the community that was so exciting and cohesive back then. [...] I had trust and familiarity with the veterans and people already established but I also had close ties to the younger kids in Allston coming up.  I felt I could be a good bridge."  

This year's Deep Heaven Now, with a line-up ranging from days-of-yore psych vets like Abunai! and Bobb Trimble to relatively new acts (did we mention there are nineteen bands?), certainly highlights the overlap between disparate but relevant circles within the scene.  What's more, it's also bent on raising awareness of the varied community and bringing new music to new listeners - it's sponsored by Narragansett, it's gotten as much press as anything in recent memory, and it coincides with the annual Rock and Roll Yard Sale.

"When most people look at the line-up, they'll list their top three or four 'must-sees,'" Liu continues.  "But I am confident that if people hang around they'll walk away with some favorite 'new' bands they like as well."  For those on a schedule, though, Liu points out that a handful of the bands are out-of-towners swinging through for the festival.  "Give them a nice warm Boston welcome.  Show them where the party is. [...] I'd say see the Roh Delikat and Abunai reunions, too, as you don't know when they'll play again."

Despite all the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, despite the free beer, despite the inevitable after parties - leave it to a psych rocker to get philosophical.  "What are we bringing back?" Liu mulled.  "Bringin' back some excitement, electricity, community, interesting new and evolving textures, redefining and remaking old established ideas, bringin' back a universal genre.. we're doing this for ourselves and for each other but just also hoping that maybe what we do will attract and inspire some new people too.  I was one of those new wide-eyed people back in the late 90's when I attended my first Deep Heaven 5.  Now look where I am!"

1pm / PA's Lounge & Precinct, Union Square / $10 / 21+

- Cullen Corley

Published: August 06, 2010 |

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