The Psychedelic Magic of Desert Daze
Desert Daze doesn’t hesitate to keep us on the edge of our seats anticipating another take off! Artists already confirmed for this year are The Flaming Lips, Flying Lotus, Stereolab, Animal Collective, Parquet Courts, Shintaro Sakamoto, and Lightning Bolt! With all of this excitement in the air, we felt compelled to relive last year’s trippy pleasures with a 2018 recap!
It’s impossible to deny that Desert Daze is the greatest psychedelic Southern California music festival. Desert Daze of 2018 had everything it takes for a festival to be unforgettable. They gave us not just one legendary artist but SEVERAL of them! The unbelievable lineup included Earth, Mercury Rev, My Bloody Valentine, Beak> (formed of Portishead’s Geoff Barrow and Robert Plant’s Billy Fuller), and the 1970’s psych-funk master himself—Malcolm Mooney of Can. With sound and visuals, Desert Daze was truly the most transcendental weekend. The landscape was just as captivating as the lineup itself! Lake Perris is the best location to experience this mind-bending festival with exploration, meditation, and frolicking in an endless trippy paradise.
A major highlight is the landscape. A vivid, warm, sandy beach and 3 mile body of water alongside the festival grounds available to everyone’s enjoyment. Throughout the day, many were taking a dip or sun-worshiping while taking a break on the beach away from the crowds. The stunning turquoise lake reflects every sunset and every glowy purple mountain, complimenting sunset performances like Pond, Mercury Rev, and Preoccupations.The natural beauty of the landscape became even more surreal with the art installations. The Desert Daze artists added to the environment perfectly with interactive pieces visible in just about every field of vision. With illuminated spaceships, mediation domes, live-paintings, and groovy canopy lounge areas, there was art in all forms everywhere (Not to mention the delicious aromas that came from some of the best SoCal food trucks to top it off). Literally all senses were fully stimulated at this festival!
Desert Daze 2018 was one of the most memorable years of the festival’s history. It will forever be the year of the notorious thunderstorm storm. From being off in the distance, it didn’t take long for the thunderstorm to get to the main stage and crash the party. Chances are the storm was a diehard Tame Impala fan and wanted a closer spot to the action. This unfortunate turn of events lead to the cancellation of their set only 3 songs in, disappointing thousands! The cancellation of Föllakzoid was another bummer of the weekend. But despite the few unforeseen strikes of bad luck (pun-intended… too soon?), the weekend was definitely redeemed through extraordinary performances!
Being in the presence of japanese psychedelic gods, Kikagaku Moyo, was incredible enough to overlook the weather. Their performance was the most otherworldly of the festival. These guys are masters of international psychedelia. With sitar, hypnotic droning, and wah-wah guitars, Kikagaku Moyo has a dream-like frequency that effortlessly kept their Desert Daze audience in a deep trance. If you didn’t feel any of the psychedelics kick in before this set, you definitely felt it during.
Steady oscillating guitars with pulsating bass deeply vibrate and sync within your chest, gradually accelerate to a peak that feels like your brain is on the most trippy roller coaster. All the while you are at the mercy of the conductor, Jjuujjuu. If you were at Desert Daze last year, chances are you stopped by Jjuujjuu’s insane set. The moment they began was the moment your third-eye opened and you stepped into another dimension. They carried the minds of the audience through their fuzzy 2018 album, “Zionic Mud” with more than a show, it was a true experience. This performance was one of the most packed (not only because frontman Phil Pirrone is the atomic powerhouse we should be thanking for Desert Daze music festival itself) because Jjuujjuu fucking SHREDS! Despite some technical difficulties that were handled well by stagehands, this was one of the most hypnotic sets of the festival. In my opinion, Jjuujjuu should have been headliners of the festival because that’s how hard they played. There were powerful instances that defined the weekend and will be forever ingrained in our souls, and this set is definitely one of them.
Earthless consists of three radical dudes from San Diego and tons of psychedelic magic. These insanely talented musicians shredded like no one else at Desert Daze. They performed from their 2018 album, ‘Black Heaven’. As an instrumental band, Isaiah Mitchell lets his guitar do most of the singing for them. Watching Mitchell tear it up on The Block stage basically felt like witnessing the longest, sickest guitar solo of all time. The entire set was an endless stream of psychedelic complexity. These dudes literally did not stop until 40 minutes later when their set was over.
Seeing Earthless live was a whole extreme experience and appropriate to their name, they are out of this world.
If you were in the crowd for Death Grips and are reading this right now, you deserve a Desert Daze medal of honor. Congratulations you survived the most insane floor of the weekend (King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard coming in as a close 2nd). When two strong genres like hip hop and industrial fuse together, there’s no holding back the amount of power that comes charging out of the performance.
The band consists of three talented and respected musicians from Sacramento, MC Ride, Zach Hill, and Andy Morin. Drummer Zach Hill played drums as if he was an octopus on adderall. The man can’t be human, he must be one of the most talented drummers out there. Frontman MC Ride gave an incredible performance and had power over the audience that drove them absolutely wild. Each cryptic lyric was felt with so much meaning and deep emotion: his words controlled the energy of the massive crowd and vibrated throughout the festival grounds. Aggressive, dark, and so brilliant, Death Grips’ performance hit a spot that no other artist did.
Emily Kokal, Jenny Lee Lindberg, Theresa Wayman, and Stella Mozgawa are the brilliant musicians behind Warpaint. They’ve been blowing our minds since 2004 and obviously still do. It’s rumored that they’ll be releasing another album in 2020, their first since 2016’s ‘Heads Up’. Experiencing their performance at Desert Daze was nothing short of enchanting.
The emotion of hundreds of Warpaint fans in the crowd singing along to every word complimented this moving performance. As soon as the sun set, these sirens cast their spells and performed their most adored tracks. Their melodies, moodiness, and imagery is a whole new experience when witnessed live. These talented females demonstrated powerful vocal ranges as well as multi-instrumental talent when interchanging instruments. Warpaint’s performance at Desert Daze commanded more than the hearts of the audience, rain clouds from the far distance had been traveling towards their entrancing set since they began. By the end of their set, rain, thunder, and lighting had made it to the front row, leading to the cancellation of Tame Impala and early shutdown of the festival for the night. Thus proving Warpaint’s witchy powers are sometimes even too much for them to handle.
As one of the last performances, King Khan and the Shrines took the Desert Daze audience for a wild ride. Colorful, eccentric, magical, and loud King Khan and the Shrines were by far the most fun set of 2018. It’s no surprise that their shows have been known to be legendary since the early 2000’s. They are known for their kook outfits, props, and memorable shenanigans during their live performances. Arish Ahmad Khan (aka King Khan) is a sacred musical legend.
He is the living, breathing example of a performer and killer frontman. Their DD set felt like you were not only watching a party but like you were at a party celebrating something fabulous! With a booming horn section, a saxophonist with a crazed look in his eyes, and a rowdy keyboardist how could anyone not put this performance on the top of their list?! Frontman King Khan never fails to unify the audience to do some crazy shit and pump everyone up, even those in the very back of the crowd. At Desert Daze he managed to get the whole audience on their knees and moan until a climax! It was absolute perfection. Khan is an insane genius, and also a down to earth dude who will get into some real talk and tell you like it is. All this while he’s dressed in a shiny, black spandex deep-v jumpsuit! He often speaks of equality and is a passionate supporter of the LGBT community. King Khan for 2020! Keep King Khan and the Shrines on your concert radar and go see them ASAFP!
KING GIZZARD AND THE LIZARD WIZARD
If Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath had a band baby and then Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest had a band baby, and then those two babies somehow met and fell in love in Australia and they had a baby, you’d get King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard. Without fail these aussies tear up every stage, but their Desert Daze set was especially psychedelic. Chances are if you didn’t feel anything kick in before this set started, you felt it watching these guys. With coordinating trippy visual animations that synchronized perfectly to every beat of their live performance, this was beyond intricate and complex. With such an expansive discography, King Gizzard did an impeccable job forming their Desert Daze setlist. They pulled tracks from albums ‘Murder of the Universe’, ‘Nonagon Infinity’, ‘Polygondwanaland’, ‘I’m in Your Mind Fuzz’, ‘Flying Microtonal Banana’, ‘Gumboot Soup’, and last but not least ‘Quarters’. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard is group of artists who are of rare-breed. Not only is each member thriving and masters in their craft but these guys are extremely precise and detail-obsessed, consequently leading to the production of pieces so elaborate and mathematical that they’re almost classical.
We cried, we laughed, and we tripped. After Everything we went through last year, we can hardly wait to see what Desert Daze 2019 has in store for us! October 10-13th weekend feels like forever to wait for another Desert Daze but fear not daytrippers, Desert Daze has events YEAR-ROUND! Shows will usually take place at some of the dopest venues in LA. For our desert friends, they throw some sick little shindigs the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs pretty often as well. Make sure to follow them on Instagram and Facebook to track all the groovy DESERT DAZE events they have coming up! And stay posted on Desert Daze as well as Soundbite Magazine for more upcoming events, announcements and the 2019’s lineup as it unfolds!
Froth Album Release Show
Highland Park, Los Angeles, Ca
Desert Daze Nights w/ TRAPS PS
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Palm Springs, Ca
Desert Daze Nights w/ William Tyler
Ace Hotel & Swim Club
Palm Springs, Ca
DESERT DAZE 2019
Lake Perris State Recreation Area
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