In a 90-minute concert filled with images of vampires, demons and multi-headed hounds, the most striking imagery did away with B-movie specters. It was late in the evening when Roky Erickson -- once thought to be a causality of the psychedelic rock era -- sang "Goodbye Sweet Dreams." It's a heartbreakingly simple sentiment, but one that humanized Erickson's nightmare visions.
With his howling rock 'n' roll work in the '60s with the 13th Floor Elevators, Erickson is credited as a pioneer of the psychedelic movement. The decades that followed, however, were marked by battles with mental illness, and the resulting music flirted with the bizarre and the macabre.
He was paired Tuesday at the Music Box @ Fonda with exquisite roots rock force by Okkervil River, which supported the Austin, Texas, artist on his recent Anti- Records album "True Love Cast Out All Evil," Throughout the night, as he has done for much of his career, Erickson sang about walking with zombies and killing strangers. Today, however, he owns a voice that's gruff, commanding and more than a little worn, and the 62-year-old's tales of horror were remade into songs of survival.