Even with a scaled-back setup, Desert Daze 2021 still had its share of incredible sets and unforgettable moments
Festival mainstay Ty Segall performed a lively and jammy set of extra psychedelic tunes that can be found on his most recent album Harmonizer. Segall’s progression as a live artist is an interesting one to track and his sound seems to be getting heavier and heavier as time goes on. And when the opening licks of Manipulator came around to close out the show, it warmed up the cold Perris night like nothing else.
The War on Drugs
There was a definite buzz leading up to this set as it had barely been two weeks since Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs released their fantastic new album I Don’t Live Here Anymore. As someone unfamiliar with the composition of their recent live sets, hearing all the new songs live for the first time was definitely a treat. They also performed an extra-long, extra dramatic version of Under the Pressure which was probably the most cathartic moment of the day.
In what was definitely my favorite set of the weekend, Canadian-based weirdo post-punkers Crack Cloud blew me and other unsuspecting fans away. Having only heard the name and a stray song here and there, I was not ready to hear a set that combined the frantic vocal and guitar work of a band like Wire, with the no-wave sounds and general weirdness of bands like Contortions. Maybe with a little Arab on Rader sprinkled in there who knows. Anyways please check out this band they’re insanely tight I swear they played a 15-minute song that kept the same groove the entire time it was awesome.
In sweltering daytime heat, probably the coolest person I’ve ever seen wore an orange jumpsuit, a tiny little yellow hat, and just vibed for like 45 minutes. Pachyman’s thing is that he live mixes pre-recorded dub instrumental tracks that he made himself. A pretty basic premise but I bet you can’t find many people who can dance, mix, vibe, and look cool all at the same time. Amazing set.
I hadn’t really listened to any new Andy Shauf projects since The Party in 2016, so when the set started off with songs from his more recent albums The Neon Skyline and Wilds, I thought “man, I don’t remember Andy Shauf sounding this much like Paul Simon” but I adore Paul Simon so joke’s on you. Turns out Graceland is his favorite album go figure. This set was a great time Andy is the cutest human being on the planet and the live renditions of The Magician and Quite Like You were top notch. Feel like his songs are quite elevated in a live setting.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t get satisfactory shots of Kamasi. It might have been because we were too busy picking our jaws up off the floor. Washington and his 7 bandmates played an hour straight, turning 5 minutes recorded tracks into 15-20 minute odysseys. Specifically, the song Truth was the standout for me. I’m a little biased because it’s my favorite Washington track, but the live rendition of this track was a real beast.
On the day where most of the psychedelic rock acts played, Tokyo’s Kikagaku Moyo stole the show. What sets apart Kikagaku Moyo’s recent musical output from the pack is their insane combination of worldly sounds. From British heavy psych, to German krautrock, to Indian raga rock; their sound is as diverse as it is intense. Sounds would go from subdued and groovy to psychedelic and triumphant at the drop of a hat.
This was my second time seeing Yves Tumor and probably my most anticipated set of the weekend. Yves Tumor is a must-see live act for any fan simply because the live composition of every track is so much different than it is on record. With a lead guitarist pretty much going full Eddie Van Halen for the run time, it’s always a trip to catch them live. Easily the loudest set of the weekend by FAR.
As someone who hadn’t done a deep dive in Japanese Breakfast’s catalog, I was blown away by her set. Awesome stage presence and a great diversity of sounds over the set’s run time. Definitely preferred the more layered and chamber-pop-like sounds of the newer tracks live but the entire set was killer. You can see some more photos and insight from our recent coverage of Japanese Breakfast at the Observatory North Park here
Thank you all who put this great big desert party together and thanks ListenSD for sending me out. Never gonna forget this one.