Mako Sica and Hamid Drake Credit: Maria de Lourdes Resto

For ten years now, Chicago Psych Fest has been warping minds. Organized by musician and artist (and longtime Reader contributor) Steve Krakow and local artist Matt Ginsberg, the three-day festival is much like the classic shows held at the Fillmore (in San Francisco and NYC), the Kinetic Playground (in Chicago), the Grande Ballroom (Detroit), and the Boston Tea Party (guess) during the genre’s earliest days, featuring combinations of younger acts, veteran bands, and even influences from outside fuzz-tone rock. Thursday is highlighted by McLuhan, one of the rare rock bands to record for the Chicago-based Brunswick label in the early 70s, when it was dominated by soul artists such as the Chi-Lites. Although they had a full horn section when that was in vogue, McLuhan were more blatantly oriented toward prog than the likes of Chicago and Blood, Sweat & Tears, which made them something of an anomaly—in fact, it’s the title of their 1972 debut (and only album). Also on Thursday, jazz-world percussionist Hamid Drake appears with experimental-rock trio Mako Sica. And on Saturday, Vee Dee, a modern-day heir of Blue Cheer, will re-form after a five-year period of dormancy. That same night also features Dos Santos, a group that bridges gaps between psychedelia and traditional Mexican folk, making stops along the way for jazz, R&B, and cumbia. Throughout the weekend, other groups on the bill will mix and match styles just to see what happens—often the best way to generate something new. On Friday, Krakow’s group Plastic Crimewave Syndicate collaborates with south-side no-wavers Ono. As always, Chicago Psych Fest proves that psychedelia is more than just a light show, a Nehru jacket, and a strand of flea-market love beads—it’s a state of mind.   v