Desert Daze never fails to exceed our expectations of all that is REAL in music and art. Celebrating its eighth year, the festival has turned into a modern-day psychedelic playground for its music-loving fans.
ListenSD has long loved Desert Daze since its beginning days as Moon Block Party to dusty Mecca, CA to Joshua Tree and now Lake Perris. One thing has never changed; the festival’s vision has stayed true by founder Phil Pirrone (JJUJJUU) and wife Julie Pirrone (Deep Vally).
Made with love. We’re like a grandma, we just want you to eat.
That’s the way the festival’s produced and that’s how we feel about each other. I think people can feel that. Feels familiar, feels comfortable, feels like someone’s BBQ you’ve been invited to.
That’s the kind of experience we’re trying to make.
From our interview with founder, Phil Pirrone in 2016
While our favorite strange festival grows, the ‘stay weird’ spirit remains. It captures the true trippy, hippy style of anything goes and everyone’s welcome, and it rules.
Friday started off strong on the moon stage with DIIV, but not why you would think. Shying away from playing all their shoegaze fan favorites, the band got heavy playing their new record front to back. This was an intentional move on their part to leave behind their past and move forward with their music.
Fans went running to see Deerhunter’s Bradford Cox’s project Atlas Sound between sets with a surprise appearance from Panda Bear.
French indie-electronic legends Stereolab mesmerized the crowd while lead singer, Lætitia Sadier, sashayed her white dress back and forth capturing the hearts of adoring fans. It was clear to see how influential their sound has been to many current bands and their set provided one of the most electric songs of the festival with “Breakhage”
The stoner doom metal outfit Witch was up next at The Block stage. Helmed by prominent rock stars King Tuff and J Mascis, they brought some of the heaviest riffs that rumbled through the crowd with a guaranteed side-effect of headbanging.
Mad Alchemy came in strong with his always incredible and trippy visuals that melted the brains of all fans that were enjoying their daily dose of psychedelics and good vibes.
From there was a back-to-back booking for the ages. Animal Collective’s set with a full band, followed by the Flaming Lips playing “The Soft Bulletin” in its entirety. Animal Collective rarely plays full band sets anymore and while they performed mostly new songs they also dug deep into their discography playing some standouts from Feels and “For Reverend Green” in which Avey Tare’s frenetic screams rival those of the heavier bands on the lineup and left everyone wanting more.
The Flaming Lips closed out The Moon stage with renditions from arguably the most important psych-rock record of the 1990s, celebrating the 20th year release of the record Wayne Coyne put on his usual mind-blowing performance with an appearance from Jello Shot Man and our favorite, La Panda Loca.
To finish out the night it was a move to The Tent for post-punk band METZ. Known for their heavy output, mathy riffs, and having Keanu Reeves as a super fan; METZ put on one of the nosiest mosh worthy shows of the festival.
ALTIN GÜN brought the vibes with a Turkish dance party that swept onto a sea a beautiful people that couldn’t stop dancing to their beats. Things got a little rowdy next for Parquet Courts with crowd surfing pandas, carrots and the incredible JELLO SHOT man showing us all how life is meant to be lived.
Devo brought herds of red-hatted fans together and proved that they are most definitely not a one-hit-wonder. They brought their hits, including “Whip It!”, but throughout their whole set, they had choreographed dancing, ubiquitous red hats, and very danceable songs that elated the crowd and turned non-believers into fans. Ween who also headlined the night was one of the most awaited for at the festival by the crowd. Playing their 1994 record “Chocolate and Cheese” Ween draws the line between a joke band and a jam band creating for a unique show that is innately theirs.
Viagra Boys was next, the Swedish punk outfit is the definition of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Saxophone ladened groovy bass line songs transformed the tent into a magnificent party mosh that had the makings of one of the finest sets imaginable.
To finish out the night was The Locust which infected every being in The Tent with their frenetic hardcore and insane stage antics. Fans left enthralled and ready to take on the next day.
Sunday of the final day of a festival is always a tough but amazing day, exhausted from two rambunctious days but not wanting to let the experience fade. It started with the heavy psych-rock that Desert Daze got its start on with The Black Angels, drawing a large crowd on The Moon stage they created an amazing atmosphere with some of the best visuals that were on that stage.
Unfortunately, the Japanese master Shintaro Sakamoto had to cancel at the last minute but luckily Daze managed to pull through with a spectacular last-minute booking of the shoegaze pioneers Ride. Next to Mad Alchemy’s visuals Ride managed to make everyone forget they were filling in and wonder why they weren’t on the bill to begin with.
Moses Sumney and his cool experimental R&B was a great change of pace and a nice relaxing time in the tent before ending the festival with the most fast-paced thrilling act of Lightning Bolt, the sheer speed and technical ability of these two kept the festival rattling until the very last moment.
It was yet another fantastic weekend at Lake Perris, once again proving that it is one of the best most unique festivals around. In a world where festivals are moving more and more towards corporate expansion and pop sounds, Desert Daze remains steadfast in their vision and keep the DIY mentality while making an oasis for like-minded music fans.
- The Festival is always Made with LOVE
- The Artists are hand-selected to melt your brain and open your heart
- The nicest people in the world come to Desert Daze
- You don’t want to ever miss the festival