desert-daze

Photos: Rachel Frank

By: Ty Velasquez

Reveling to melodies in the desert while being bathed in the light of the stars is my favorite thing, with the only thing better being sex (and this adventure was liable to include that too). Oh! What a life I live, in the land of dreams on the golden coast.

The lineup got my heart pulsing like a caffeinated college student in a calculus final. Including everything from local San Diego bands, bands I had never heard of, and bands I’ve been dreaming of seeing for years, and all this crammed between the majestic San Jacinto mountains and the trippy weirdness of the Salton Sea in a place called MECCA. A good time was basically guaranteed.

Luckily for all who attended, Desert Daze is still only on it’s 4th year and still relatively unknown, so the crowd is packed with people who still live for the music. It’s the bands, the fans, the photographers, the creators and the kids who lose themselves in the sound and the dance, who crowd surf to their favorite bands, and whose way of life completely revolves around the new, next, and now of the scene.

I was ecstatic to see my local San Diego favorites play in their perfect setting. Nothing like listening to psych rock while being on psychedelics under the endless sky and full moon beaming. I had been in a perpetual love revolution with the Wild Wild Wets since our first mind melting encounter. Not only did they blown my mind, but they exposed me to other amazing bands (see also Electric Magpie). Their set had just begun when I arrived and my heart filled with joy to see the homies on stage with a larger crowd than I had ever seen. These folks were from all around SoCal and would soon be spreading the Gospel of the ‘Wets far and wide.

Next up was the most explosive performer of the fest. I had heard a lot about Kim and the Created but never experienced the voodoo. Kim’s radioactive energy infiltrated souls as she stomped wildly across the stage. Dressed in all black, it was obvious the clothes couldn’t last. Her tiny tank soon got thrown right at my feet, exposing black and yellow paint handprints covering her pasty-covered nipples. The cameras came out full force. Kim leapt from the stage rampaging into the crowd, then began writhing wickedly on the dusty ground. She crawled back to life on stage and proceeded to climb up the light fixtures and stare down at her minions like the Goddess she is. Behind her on stage was a random hype clown whose sole purpose was to roll around on the ground and confuse the masses. Very rock ‘n’ roll. What an unforgettable performance because, well, titties!

The sun went down, the full moon came out, and now was the time for the night’s dance party. Excitement bubbled inside me as Dan Deacon’s set started. A kaleidoscopic burst of color spouting nonsense began as he took stage. Deacon interwove antidotes, profound wisdom and bafflingly nonsense while he sang and created beats. A new age wizard in solidarity with the moon and the rioting people of Baltimore. Definitely the best part of the fest, especially when he shouted out to my friend the crowd-surfing, stage dancing and diving LSD Panda.

Closing out the night was a set I had waited 5 years to see, RJD2 was on list since the first time “Ghostwriter” made my heart swell. That song is possibly most triumphant song ever made. Though the entertainer had few words for us, we were caught up in the spell of his rapid movements, as he shifted across the stage from four turntables to an MPC to a laptop to a mixer. His movements were a swift and intricate ballet of rhythm and beats. The crowd finally started to move during the spectacle, seemingly brought to life by the sounds vibrating through their spines. He graciously spoke to everyone who wanted his attention after the marvelous performance.

Desert Daze was the perfect way to kick off the season of festivals, full of music lovers with sensational style and flawless faces. Thanks for keeping the desert stars glimmering in our eyes. ‘Til next time we meet, stay dazed…

LSD Panda