Desert Daze locks in The War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington & Toro y Moi as headliners for 2021

Desert Daze - 2021 lineup

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
November 12th-14th, 2021 //

As the live music industry slowly returns to form this summer amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our attention has already turned to the fall with the hope that some of our favorite artists and bands will once again be touring and performing all across California and the West Coast in the coming months.

And for almost the past decade now, Desert Daze has continued to serve as one of the Golden State’s premier boutique music festivals, even after leaving its Joshua Tree roots for the more spacious confines of Lake Perris a few years ago.

But after taking 2020 off with coronavirus cases spiraling out of control in the U.S., the three-day event presented by Moon Block and Knitting Factory Entertainment is finally ready to welcome fans back to Moreno Beach in November with a scaled-down roster that still leans heavily into psych-rock as The War on Drugs, Kamasi Washington and Toro y Moi each get set to make their headlining debuts at Desert Daze’s ninth edition.

One of the big highlights on this year’s lineup is no doubt The War on Drugs with the fest representing the Grammy winners’ first and only show slated in 2021, but also Washington — a virtuosic jazz saxophonist whose hometown performance at the Hollywood Bowl last weekend for KCRW’s World Festival series saw him team up with Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett and bassist Robert Trujillo to celebrate the forthcoming release of The Metallica Blacklist compilation with a nine-minute version of the heavy metal band’s track “My Friend of Misery” — and Toro y Moi following his appearance at Porter Robinson’s sold-out Second Sky Music Festival in Berkeley this September.

Of course, we would be remiss to not mention a strong undercard that boasts Tim Heidecker & Weyes Blood, Devendra Banhart, Japanese Breakfast, Ty Segall, Andy Shauf, Yves Tumor, DIIV, The Budos Band, Crumb, Moon Duo, Sudan Archives, The Black Angels, Deap Vally, Pachyman, Kikagaku Moyo and many more so make sure to mark your calendar and peep the poster above for the rest of the scheduled acts.

Three-day and single-day passes to Desert Daze will be available to purchase here for $225 and $75 during a 12-hour presale that starts this Thursday, July 22nd at 10 a.m. PT before the general public on-sale begins the next day at the same time. And with a limited capacity this year to allow for some more COVID-19 safety measures, you can bet tickets won’t be around for very long. Good luck, Desert Dazers!

The Bam Team’s 5 Favorite Shows, Albums & Songs of 2019

Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest - Rochelle Shipman


Kali Uchis at Smokin Grooves Fest // Showbams’ Photo of the Year, by Rochelle Shipman

Um, that’s it? Another year in the rear-view mirror? Where the hell did the last 12 months go? Time sure does seem to fly when there’s so much good new music out there to enjoy.

With that said, it’s once again time for us to share our annual “Best of” lists like we have done the past few years (see our 2018 picks here). From new emerging artists to reunion tours to the return of rock ‘n’ roll, this year had a little bit of everything for both the casual and passionate music fan. And even if you didn’t have the time to listen to every album that came out (neither did we), that’s why we’re here: to help point you in the right direction whenever you do finally get the chance to dig in.

So, without further ado, Showbams presents The Bam Team’s five favorite shows, albums and songs from 2019.

See our favorite performances from 2019 here.

Listen to The Bam Team’s favorite songs of 2019:


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall - Josh Herwitt


The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall // Photo by Josh Herwitt

Josh Herwitt // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Tool at Staples Center – Los Angeles, CA – October 20th & 21st
Unlike the delay on Tool’s fifth album Fear Inoculum, I thankfully didn’t have to wait 13 years to see my favorite band perform live. It was only a couple of years ago when I caught the boys at The Gorge, earning top honors as my favorite show in 2017, and subsequently a week later at Glen Helen Amphitheater for an all-day affair with Primus, Clutch, Fantômas, Melvins and The Crystal Method. Perhaps my tastes haven’t changed all that much since then, but even in a year that saw me attend half as many concerts as I usually do, Tool are still finding new and innovative ways to enhance their live show. Whether it’s tinkering with their stage production to incorporate a see-through curtain at times or adding surround sound throughout the arena, a Tool performance has evolved into a spiritual, meditative and almost out-of-body experience over the last decade. It’s no wonder why scoring tickets remains a trial of good fortune.

2. The Raconteurs at Santa Barbara Bowl – Santa Barbara, CA – July 27th
3. The Chemical Brothers at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – May 15th
4. Jim James & The Claypool Lennon Delirium at The Wiltern – Los Angeles, CA – July 3rd
5. Foals at Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles, CA – March 24th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
When a three-time Grammy-winning band takes more than a decade to release its next album, it’s only natural for expectations to go through the roof. And I’ll be the first to admit that there was a small seed of doubt in my mind when it came to just how epic Tool’s latest sonic voyage in the studio could and would be. But upon first listen, any uncertainty I had about the merits of Fear Inoculum was quickly dispelled. The title track lures you in from the onset, building to a higher place as Maynard James Keenan (vocals) and company — Adam Jones (guitar), Justin Chancellor (bass) and Danny Carey (drums, percussion) — take listeners on an 80-minute rite of passage that holds up as some of the quartet’s best material in its entire catalog. I just hope they got at least one more LP in them, even if it takes another 13 years to make.

2. The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger
3. Foals – Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1
4. The Chemical Brothers – No Geography
5. Black Pumas – Black Pumas

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Tool – “Descending”
If you’re still reading, you’ve probably gotten the hint by now that I’m a big fan of Tool. After all, it only seemed fitting that my top song in 2019 should also come from my No. 1 album of the year by my favorite band over the last two decades. I have seen Tool perform a shortened version of “Descending” several times since 2014, before it ever had an official title, so when Fear Inoculum arrived back in August, there was no track I anticipated hearing more. In fact, at more than 13 minutes long, it’s one that requires your full, undivided attention, which can be a significant amount of time to dedicate in a world of three-minute pop songs and endless distractions now. But for prog-rock enthusiasts like myself who are more than willing to take the ride, “Descending” delivers a total rush of blood to the head that ultimately leads to pure unadulterated euphoria.

2. Bon Iver – “Hey, Ma”
3. Hot Chip – “Hungry Child”
4. Foals – “On the Luna”
5. Karen O and Danger Mouse – “Turn the Light”


Cate Le Bon - Reward

Kevin Quandt // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. Stereolab at Primavera Sound – Barcelona, Spain – June 1st
Primavera Sound has always had a knack for booking reunions (i.e. Pulp, The Avalanches and Pavement) to its “musical mecca” on the Balearic Sea. 2019’s iteration featured the first proper show in nearly a decade from the anti-capitalist art-pop darlings Stereolab. “Come and Play in the Milky Night” on 1999’s Cobra and Phases Group Play Voltage in the Milky Night would open the evening to the international consortium of aging music nerds who undoubtedly knew that they were about to be treated to a “best of” set from the English-French outfit. Better yet, their politically themed lyrical content seemed more relevant in 2019 than it was around the time of their creation a quarter-century ago.

2. Mike Dillon’s New Orleans Punk Rock Percussion Consortium at The Music Box Village – New Orleans, LA – April 26th
3. BLACK MIDI at Rickshaw Stop – San Francisco, CA – November 21st
4. Amen Dunes at August Hall – San Francisco, CA – January 10th
5. Ween at Desert Daze – Perris, CA – October 12th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Cate Le Bon – Reward
What a banner year for the Welsh artist as she created her most highly acclaimed LP to date. Le Bon has truly honed her craft over the last decade as she has collaborated with a laundry list of indie-music royalty before writing the whimsical and austere Reward that employs an array of fresh sounds swirling around her haunting, pixie vocals. 2020 will see Cate jump on tour alongside Kurt Vile in a solo capacity, but we can’t wait to see what she produces next.

2. Wand – Laughing Matter
3. (Sandy) Alex G – House of Sugar
4. The Murder Capital – When I Have Fears
5. Omni – Networker

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. Foals – “Sunday”
As Foals teeter on the edge of being rock’s next big headliner, the British group semi-quietly unleashed a pair of albums entitled Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 1 and Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost – Part 2. While their style continues to hover around math, dance and indie rock, they dig into a deeper realm of sonic atmosphere as frontman Yannis Philippakis questions, even laments, the state of our current times. “Sunday” tends to borrow a tad from the grandiose nature of their fellow Brits in Coldplay before dropping into a four-on-the-floor section that was rather well-received during their March stop at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

2. Crumb – “Ghostride”
3. Vampire Weekend – “Sunflower” feat. Steve Lacy
4. Oh Sees – “Henchlock”
5. Allah-Las – “In the Air”


Rochelle Shipman // Los Angeles

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. slowthai at Lodge Room – Los Angeles, CA – September 4th
Shortly after releasing his debut album Nothing Great About Britain in May, Tyron Frampton played a few intimate U.S. shows several months later. My guess is that those were probably the last ones he’ll do if the UK rapper out of Northampton continues to rise and deliver, just like he did for much of 2019. Part Johnny Knoxville-type grime smart ass, part brilliant gritty-crust punk, slowthai shook the roof off LA’s Lodge Room, which turned out to be a warm-up show before he returned to play Camp Flog Gnaw in November. Frampton certainly came to please, setting the energy level at 11 and even performing his rowdy hit “Doorman” twice in the set. He could’ve run through it 15 times and the crowd would’ve left just as satisfied.

2. Little Simz at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – June 13th
3. Taking Back Sunday at Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles, CA – April 11th
4. Night Moves at The Echo – Los Angeles, CA – September 21st
5. Usher at Smokin Grooves Fest – Long Beach, CA – June 15th

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Little Simz – GREY Area
The production. The flow. The bars. The BALLS. Little Simz absolutely brings it on GREY Area, leaving no space for second-guessing, sexist bullshit or honestly anyone else at all. This latest studio album from the British emcee is all her, and you can feel it with every breath she takes. We should all be so lucky to come into our confidence the way that she did on this record, but most of all, we should just be grateful “Simbi” trusts us to keep her deepest secrets — and that they sound so, so good.

2. slowthai – Nothing Great About Britain
3. Shura – forevher
4. Ari Lennox – Shea Butter Baby
5. White Reaper – You Deserve Love

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. slowthai – “Doorman” (with Mura Masa)
This song technically dropped in 2018, but its spotlight was shone even wider with slowthai releasing his debut LP this year. The Mura Masa-assisted cut pulses with adrenaline, carries the air of a movie soundtrack in only three minutes and has a beat that will take you all the way to the moon and back. In the words of Lizzo, it’s a whole damn meal!

2. Kari Faux – “Latch Key”
3. Billie Eilish – “bury a friend”
4. Little Simz – “Venom”
5. Smino – “Trina”


Tool - Fear Inoculum

Andrew Pohl // San Francisco

Top 5 Shows of 2019
1. IDLES – Fillmore – San Francisco, CA – October 10th
After putting out one of my favorite albums from 2018 and missing their show earlier this year, I was thrilled to finally catch IDLES live. To say that these English punk rockers put on a good performance would be a true understatement. They had the energy of an out-of-control freight train but were able to contain it while proving to be an incredibly fun act to see live. Frontman Joe Talbot engaged with the audience in a very authentic way, talking and singing to fans, not just at them. There were crowd-surfing guitarists, mosh pits and sing-a-longs … it was wild.

2. Punk Rock Bowling 2019 – Las Vegas, NV – May 23rd-27th
3. Judas Priest at The Warfield – San Francisco, CA – June 24th
4. Van’s Warped Tour 2019 at Shoreline Amphitheater – Mountain View, CA – July 20th-21st
5. ITCHY-O at Cornerstone – Berkeley, CA – November 23rd

Top 5 Albums of 2019
1. Tool – Fear Inoculum
Well, after all of the waiting and speculation, Tool have done it again, in a really big way. Fear Inoculum is everything that I was hoping it would be, and then some. HUGE-sounding drums, guitars and bass wrap your head in a warm prog blanket while Maynard does what he always has so well. It takes the best parts of their previous albums and combines them to showcase a band that has clearly not missed a step in the 13 years since 10,000 Days.

2. Bad Religion – Age of Unreason
3. Brittany Howard – Jaime
4. Catbite – Catbite
5. Plague Vendor – By Night

Top 5 Songs of 2019
1. The Hammerbombs – “I Hate Cars”
The Hammerbombs are an undersung Bay Area pop-punk group that have written some of the catchiest and fun songs I have heard from the East Bay scene in a long time. Their 2019 release Goodbye, Dreamboat made my top 10, and this track is the hands-down standout on an album chock-full of toe-tappers. It’s a heartfelt song written by singer and bassist Jen Louie, who has a knack for crafting some really fantastic tunes. The chorus is saccharine sweet, and you can’t help but sing along.

2. Lizzo – “Juice”
3. Bad Religion – “Do The Paranoid Style”
4. Ceremony – “In The Spirit World Now”
5. Lagwagon – “Surviving California”

Showbams_Sticker_Rectangle2

Desert Daze 2019: Another intriguing lineup loaded with must-see performances takes over Lake Perris

Desert Daze - 2019 lineupPhoto by David Evanko // Written by Kevin Quandt & Pete Mauch //

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
October 10th-13th, 2019 //

After settling into a new location last year, Desert Daze aims to dial in a festival that continues to gain steam and win over rock fans around the globe, beckoning them to come to the shores of Lake Perris. This self-proclaimed “anti-festival” has impressed with their eye-popping artist roster, interactive art and smorgasbord of workshops and otherworldly experiences for all you intergalactic space rangers making the drive from Los Angeles or any of the surrounding hubs across Southern California.

We have a deep love for Desert Daze and want to be your pre-fest sherpas, so we have broken down the best music, camping and food options ahead of this weekend’s festivities.


Stereolab


Stereolab

Music

Let’s jump head first into the real meat of Desert Daze, and that’s its cutting-edge lineup of all things rock, psychedelia, garage, noise, experimental, North African-desert Tuareg blues-pop guitar and so on. Between the festival’s trio of lakeside stages, there should be little downtime for the savvy listener, so we’ll happily offer up a few of our picks and tell you why you should order that chicken tikka wrap a little later on.

Artist: Frankie and the Witch Fingers
Set date/time: Friday, 2:15-3 p.m.
Location: The Block

These LA psych rockers are truly having an amazing year. After unloading their most cohesive and energetic album to date in ZAM, they have found themselves touring non-stop supporting their killer new release. They are currently on a 37-date tour that sees them opening for ZZ Top and Cheap Trick on seven of those dates, with their Desert Daze set coming right smack dab in the middle of their run with both legendary rockers, so we’d imagine that they’ll be fired up to play to their own crowd. This should be an extremely high-energy set that won’t let you take a breath because Frankie and the Witch Fingers are pure psychedelic bliss right now. -PM

Artist: Stereolab
Set date/time: Friday, 6:35-8:05 p.m.
Location: The Moon

Tim Gane and Lætitia Sadier are finally bringing their electro-leaning indie pop back to the western side of the country and should be firing on all cylinders after a nearly decade-long break. Having witnessed one of their first reunion shows at Primavera Sound, I can confirm Stereolab’s laid-back vibe is still delivered with precision as they work classics like “French Disko” and “Brakhage” as well as others from Dots and Loops into the setlist. We can’t think of a better act to catch during Friday’s magic hour. -KQ

Artist: Altın Gün
Set date/time: Saturday, 2:40-3:40 p.m.
Location: The Moon

This Anatolian psych-folk group that calls Amsterdam home has been blending traditional Turkish music and psychedelic melodies to great avail. Their most recent release Gece finds this experimental outfit playing around with time signatures and quick, fierce changes that keeps their listeners wanting more. Their Desert Daze slot in the early afternoon Saturday is really going to get the day rolling. -PM

Shintaro Sakamoto


Shintaro Sakamoto

Artist: The Locust
Set date/time: Sunday, 12:45 a.m.-1:35 a.m.
Location: The Theatre

Shit! This set is not for the faint of heart and will surely be one of the most brutal (looks over shoulder for Lightning Bolt) and thrilling performances for those brave souls still awake after Devo, Ween and Flying Lotus (3D) hit the main stage. Expect a handful of masked musicians bending every boundary of rock music to their back and call, a feat that hasn’t transpired for close to five years. Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone clearly has the Midas touch whenever it comes to reuniting bands or flying in rarities from around the world. -KQ

Artist: SASAMI
Set date/time: Sunday, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: The Block

Domino artist Sasami Ashworth has been having a moment since the release of her self-titled debut LP back in March. Some veteran Desert Daze attendees might recognize Ashworth from her days as a former touring member of the LA band Cherry Glazerr, which played the festival in 2016 at its previous location The Institute of Mentalphysics. Since departing Cherry Glazerr, she has quickly cultivated a following under the moniker SASAMI that swoons for her unique brand as a guitar-wielding indie songstress. For now, she has toured with her contemporaries, received blessings from Mitski and expanded to larger international tours. -KQ

Artist: Shintaro Sakamoto
Set date/time: Sunday, 7:45 p.m.-9 p.m.
Location: The Block

Japanese composer Shintaro Sakamoto is making his U.S. debut at Desert Daze 2019, and we couldn’t be anymore excited to see him perform on Sunday. Sakamoto has been active in his home country for 30 years, most notably with psych rockers Yura Yura Teikoku, but you will see a softer side to him than with his prior band. Sakamoto at The Block during sunset with the Mad Alchemy light show behind him is an absolute must-see! We should hear plenty of tracks off 2014’s Let’s Dance Raw and 2011’s How to Live with a Phantom, too. -PM

Desert Daze 2019 - map

Camping

There’s nothing easier than pitching a tent only a few hundred yards away from any festival site, and Desert Daze continues to excel in this area. Moreno Beach’s plush grounds have it all: trees, campside parking, free hot showers, permanent bathrooms and even a camping-exclusive stage area called The Mystic Bazaar.

The Bazaar features a mind-expanding array of programming, including, but not limited to, Modular Sound Baths, Vinyasa Pranayama yoga and various forms of meditation (check out the full schedule here). Plus, plenty of camping options to fit your liking are available here.

Desert Daze 2019 - The Marketplace

The Marketplace

Whether your home base will be offsite or you’re calling Lake Perris home for a long weekend, you’ll want to do some light shopping, quench your thirst or carb load for Animal Collective’s blistering show on Friday. Desert Daze always prints a whopping selection of show- and artist-specific posters and they’re always sold at affordable prices, so an early trip to the merch tent is a must. And if boutique wares are your preference, a healthy variety of vintage sellers, craft jewelers and visionary designers are strewn about the groves and shoreline. Bring some cash because you won’t be disappointed with what you find.

For all of your consumption needs, Black Fin Sushi, Flavors of East Africa and Good Times Ice Cream are just the beginning of options that will be available onsite. Don’t forget to look at the full listing here to see if your local favorites will be making the trip out to Moreno Beach.

Lastly, make sure to grab your Desert Daze 2019 passes here and we’ll see ya on the other side.

Desert Daze 2019 - David Evanko

Desert Daze 2018: A stacked lineup & new location for one of California’s premier boutique festivals

Desert Daze 2018 - Phase FourPhoto by David Evanko // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Desert Daze //
Moreno Beach – Lake Perris, CA‎
October 12th-14th, 2018 //

It was really only a matter of time before Desert Daze outgrew its home of the past two years, as it was evident The Institute of Mentalphysics in Joshua Tree had reached peak capacity in 2017 (read our review here).

So, it was no surprise to longtime attendees when a new location was announced, coupled with a talent roster that proved growth was in the works, and a recipe for something special was concocted. Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone and his team at Moon Block had slyly put together one of the banner rock lineups on U.S. soil in many moons.

Did this signal the next fad in rock ‘n’ roll? Was this a strong thesis in the argument that boutique music festivals would start to rule the landscape as the behemoths dealt with homogenization?

I’m sure there could be convincing cases made for both, but at the end of the day, word of mouth had worked its magic and the event was “movin’ on up.”

Early reports from events held on the new site have been rolling in, lauding Moreno Beach as a scenic little slice of nature hidden in the hills above Moreno Valley. Though many will miss the magic that can only be found in Joshua Tree, there are a multitude of amenities that will make the three-plus days a little bit easier for attendees, such as permanent bathrooms and showers, more grassy and shaded areas, and plenty of accessible parking for both campers and day attendees alike.

There’s also a smorgasbord of VIP add-ons if you’re looking for a touch of luxury in between sets, as the Beach Club will offer some top-notch perks if that’s your thing. Meanwhile, there have been some other shifts in the event as it eases into a new home.

Desert Daze 2018 - Lake Perris


Lake Perris

Pirrone has recently stated in interviews that the music schedule this year will start a tad later each day to allow attendees to properly enjoy Lake Perris’ natural beauty. What better way to prepare for some long nights of blistering music than with a daytime boat excursion or a hike into the surrounding hills?

Now, onto the real reason we’re going to Desert Daze: the music. As has been the trend for many years, Moon Block continues to up the ante with another stacked roster, and with a larger capacity and budget, they went all-in on with three packed days and nights.

The top of the poster is simply bananas as we see this past decade’s psych-pop torchbearers, Tame Impala, top Friday’s billing with fellow neo-psychedelia Aussies, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, holding down Saturday’s headline slot.

Lastly, the Irish shoegaze demigods My Bloody Valentine will be bringing their wall of sound to the outdoor areas of Southern California. Fans can expect a smattering of new songs as the band has been unleashing fresh material most of this year.

As we take a peek further down the lineup, we see some rarities in the form of Ty Segall and White Fence, Jarvis Cocker Introducing Jarv Is… and Mercury Rev performing all of Deserter’s Songs. Never one to exclude stellar international acts, Desert Daze will also boast Boogarins from Brazil, Ukraine’s DakhaBrakha and the first U.S. show by English space-rockers Ulrika Spacek on Saturday.

A deeper dive into three international acts can be found below.

Kikagaku Moyo


Kikagaku Moyo

The Holydrug Couple: It has been more than three years since the Chilean duo graced the states with live shows, and what better locale for their return. Holydrug Couple write some seriously dreamy psych-pop that will fit perfectly into the festival’s new landscape, literally. Expect to hear songs from their expansive catalog, with an emphasis on new tracks off their Sacred Bones release Hyper Super Mega. The band is celebrating its 10-year anniversary, so make sure to welcome Ives Sepúlveda and Manuel Parra warmly.

Kikagaku Moyo: Over the past year, this Japanese psych-rock outfit has been turning heads in some serious ways as they deliver a truly authentic sound. They hit a few smaller fests like Pickathon and have been gaining steam as the psych flag-bearer from the Far East. Their use of sitar and other less-traditional rock instrumentation has only helped garner a truly unique sound. Their 2016 release House in the Tall Grass is sure to get you pumped for their multiple sets at Desert Daze.

IDLES: While Desert Daze has a decided niche for all things rock, this year’s event sees the inclusion of slightly more punk-leaning artists in the form of UK’s own IDLES. Coming off a banner summer season, this whirlwind live act was much talked about at Primavera Sound and Rock Werchter for its raucous performances. Their second LP Joy Is an Act of Resistance, which came out in August, only cements that there is indeed still life in angst-ridden guitar rock. See ya in the pit for this one.

Want to go to Desert Daze? Tickets are still available for $299, or you could win a pair of tickets by submitting your full name and email below.

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


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Desert Daze 2017: Another stellar year for one of California’s premier music festivals

Desert Daze 2017Photos by Zach Roth, David Evanko, Sheva Kafai & Zane Roessell // Written by Kevin Quandt //

Desert Daze //
Institute of Mentalphysics – Joshua Tree, CA
October 12th-14th, 2017 //

There’s something special about climbing the hills of Big Morongo Canyon Preserve cresting into Yucca Valley that removes one’s self from what exists to the east and west. Gone are the masses of cars and people all across Riverside County or the ticky-tack of Palm Desert, both replaced by the rugged personality of Joshua Tree and the surrounding area.

It’s always a treat to visit these nether regions, but it’s even better when a slew of today’s most exciting rock acts converge on this positively charged piece of land many have fondly come to know as the Institute of Mentalphysics. Plenty of attendees didn’t quite realize how fortunate we were to be able to return to this desert sanctuary for a second year, and just like any good thing, the word had spread about Desert Daze after the music festival’s run last year.

Desert Daze promoter Moon Block really pulled off quite a doozy for the sixth installment of California’s premier psychedelic and garage-rock extravaganza, which occupied more than 400 acres of wild desert earth. With the four-day festival continuing along an up-and-to-the-left trajectory, it was no real surprise to followers that Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone and crew upped their booking to include legends like Iggy Pop and John Cale. Though the lineup was a shining star for the weekend, it was the amalgamation of the venue, attendees and art that put an extra layer of buttercream on the fest, cementing Daze’s status as a stellar event.

An expanded program featured added stages and a cavalcade of programs, including Sacred Plant Medicine, Modular Sound Baths, Black Metal Yoga and a Women’s Moon Lodge. 2017’s edition also included screenings from comedy duo Tim & Eric such as their Adult Swim series “Bedtime Stories”, which suited those who were looking for a quick chuckle. As far as the art went, there was no shortage of intriguing installations dotted across the Institute. One of the larger, more immersive artworks was Cristopher Cichocki’s “Circular Dimensions” piece as it took over the Sanctuary Hall space with 3-D projections and a variety of dronal soundtracks.

Desert Daze 2017

As stated, Daze attendees could have easily filled their day and night with the programming described above, but the majority of them rarely had much expendable time for those sort of extracurricular activities as the festival consistently churned out a veritable smorgasbord of garage, psych and various other outlying subgenres of rock ‘n’ roll across three stages. While the last statement is generally true, this year saw an expansion into more jazzy areas thanks to BADBADNOTGOOD’s showing on the event’s first day.

Other highlights on Friday saw a wildly energetic performance from French cold-wave band La Femme. These exports don’t cross the Atlantic a bunch, so it was a rare treat for the early arrivals that culminated with set closer “Antitaxi”. Tim Presely (White Fence) and LA-based singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon brought their collaborative project DRINKS to the desert and whipped through a set of angular-leaning art rock. Japanese experimental juggernauts Boris put on a spectacle worthy of the big stages at European metal festivals, as they have for well over two decades. Day 1 also saw Ty Segall and his Freedom Band obliterate the larger Moon Stage, opening with “Alta” and later covering DEVO’s “Gut Feeling”. Courtney Barnett, Kurt Vile and the Sea Lice played just their third headlining show, and while it was evident they were still working out a few kinks onstage, they still managed to dazzle with a mix of songs from both of their catalogs.

It was rather evident early on Saturday that Desert Daze was ramping up for its most popular day in the event’s short history with a combination of legends, today’s hottest acts and a few rarities that peppered the schedule. Detroit stalwarts The Gories offered their Michigan-bred take on garage rock in a powerful display of dual guitars coupled with a sparse drum set. At the Moon Stage, the Marshall amps were stacked high for doom-metal outfit Sleep’s banner performance of their 1992 opus Holy Mountain. Al Cisneros and associates delivered a lead-heavy set to wafting plumes of smoke, playing such classics as “Dragonaut” flawlessly, but the new sound ordinance imposed by the local community became a factor for the San Jose trio that’s known for its abuse of volume.

Brooklyn three-piece Sunflower Beam drew a sizable crowd in the Wright Tent as bassist Julia Cumming commanded the stage better than most while barreling through a set that included “I Was Home”. Elsewhere, it wasn’t surprising to see King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard have a wild and energetic crowd assembled well prior to their hit time. A rabid following continues to grow for the Australian septet that is capping off a massive year filled with multiple studio releases and lengthy tours. Of course, That Fucking Panda made sure to take advantage of the ruckus crowd, getting in a solid crowd surf, as is tradition.

Desert Daze 2017 - Iggy Pop


Iggy Pop

Iggy Pop is a fucking legend, one who is still a ball of energy onstage even as he gracefully creeps into his 70’s and destroys expectations on a near-nightly basis. His setlist at Desert Daze was rather standard, but his persona continues to be anything but.

Meanwhile, those looking for something different were treated to a rare live performance by Black Moth Super Rainbow. With Desert Daze marking only their second show in more than four years, the TOBACCO-led group dazzled on tracks like “Sun Lips”. Sure, a large chunk of the set was reserved for TOBACCO tracks, but their sound had more oomph behind it as they were fleshed out by a full band rather than one man. Nearing the 30-year mark, Tortoise held closing duties for the night, shooting out darts of experimental post-rock before they were cut short at the stroke of 12:30 a.m.

Sunday saw a sustained crowd that was doing its best to shake off a big night after the fest’s second day. Luckily, the mellow sounds of the Allah-Las, plus a few drinks, got fans back into prime form for the closing evening. L.A. Witch followed on the Block Stage, forcefully proving that females belong on this lineup just as much as the opposite sex.

While Eagles of Death Metal continue their domination at the hands of Jesse Hughes and his not-so-merry band of pranksters, it must have felt truly amazing for the Palm Desert band to play Desert Daze. The highlight of the set was undoubtedly their prime cover of David Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream”.

Desert Daze 2017

The tent hosted something a tad more on the mellow side as Texas’ own Khruangbin served up their patented combination of surf rock and Thai funk. Tracks like “Mr. White” sounded sublime as the Sunday evening sets were a tad more toned-down than what we witnessed at the same time during the festival’s previous nights. K-Bin’s set led into an equally beautiful one by Hope Sandoval & the Warm Inventions, as the Mazzy Star vocalist and her sidekicks set the vibe perfectly for the final headliner.

Spiritualized are truly an ideal band to close out the main stage at Desert Daze, and similar to Television last year, these longtime UK legends still know how to thrill a crowd with their pea soup-thick wall of sound. Jason Pierce and company delivered a truly epic performance under the desert stars that opened with “If I Were With Her Now” from their 1992 debut album Lazer Guided Melodies, was punctuated by Laurie Anderson’s “Born, Never Asked” and concluded with “Oh Happy Day”. Classic hits like “Come Together” seem to have a stronger message in these times, and Desert Daze is truly one of those events where the bullshit of reality quickly gets washed away, if only for a long weekend.

Although Cigarettes After Sex are a band on their way to bigger things, we opted to close the weekend with Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Having played the event in 2014 when it was held in Mecca, Calif., UMO were warmly welcomed back. Ruben Nielson was ready to close things out with a bang as they rattled through their current set with highlights such as “Ur Life One Night” and even debuted a new track entitled “American Guilt”.

Growth is generally seen as positive for any sort of event, but Desert Daze remains one of those hidden gems you want to announce from the mountaintops yet also don’t want it to outgrow its unique place in the festival stratosphere. Regardless, Moon Block is carrying a bright torch for how boutique festivals are supposed to be produced, and we applaud their staff with high hopes that they continue to set the bar high.

Noise Pop 2017 Shows of the Week // GO4FREE to Weyes Blood, Desert Daze Caravan, Kelis & more

Noise Pop 2017Written by Molly Kish & Brett Ruffenach //

Noise Pop //
Bay Area venues – San Francisco & Oakland
February 17th–27th, 2017 //

Noise Pop is officially here, and the Bay Area is serving as home to some of the world’s best independent artists this week. There’s so much to see and hear in some of our favorite bars and venues — and we want you to get out there and participate!

While most Noise Pop shows are sure to sell out, we have you covered with tickets to a wide variety of them. Pick your favorite show from the list below and enter to win tickets.

Hint: Those who directly tweet @showbams or tag us on Instagram with their personal requests will have that much better of a chance of winning!

Contests for all weekday shows end at 3 p.m. on the day of show. Contests for all weekend shows end at 3 p.m. this Friday.


Weyes Blood

Weyes Blood: February 21st (TUE) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
GunkTVRecords founder as well as longtime Ariel Pink collaborator Weyes Blood brings her ethereal edge to the Swedish American Hall. Accompanied by Half Waif, Young Moon and a celebration of 20 Minute Loop’s record release and 20th anniversary, this singer-songwriter showcase will be one for the books. – MK

Contest ends this Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Hazel English

Hazel English: February 21st (TUE) @ Rickshaw Stop // BUY TICKETS
Females are holding it down on Tuesday at Rickshaw Stop as Aussie-turned-Oakland-resident Hazel English gets top billing thanks to her interspersed, dreamy and melodic vocal abilities. Joined by sister artists Elsa y ElMar, Tanukichan and Maggie Y/O, the lineup offers a stacked bill that beautifully spans indie rock, shoegaze and pop. – MK

Contest ends this Tuesday at 3 p.m.


Desert Daze Caravan

Desert Daze Caravan: February 22nd (WED) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
Desert Daze, the innovative psychedelic-rock festival that took place last October in Joshua Tree, is bringing a special showcase to Noise Pop that’s led by UK experimental-rock outfit Temples, who bring their 60’s vibes to The Chapel alongside intriguing up-and-comers like psych-R&B group Night Beats and the fast-and-fierce female rock duo Deap Vally. – BR

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Kelis

Kelis: February 22nd (WED) @ 1015 Folsom // BUY TICKETS
Kelis is one of New York’s most famous female hip-hop acts over the last decade. Best known for her 2006 smash hit “Milkshake”, Kelis is surely one of the bossiest artists to take the stage at Noise Pop this year. Grab your diamonds and grills, folks. – BR

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Julia Holter

Julia Holter (solo): February 22nd (WED) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
Singer, songwriter, director, composer and artist, Julia Holter continues to wear a number of different creative hats. Headlining a show full of baroque pop and ambient music, she’ll be joined by Midnight Sister, Madeline Kenney and Doncat for what should be a unforgettable night at the Swedish American Hall. – MK

Contest ends this Wednesday at 3 p.m.


Moon Duo

Moon Duo: February 23rd (THU) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
Portland-based psychedelic-rock group Moon Duo combine the entrancing nature of shoegaze with the transcendent feeling of psych-rock and enough flange to satisfy even the most ardent Tame Impala fans. Touring in support of their new album Occult Architecture Vol. 1 & 2, Moon Duo’s visceral synth and entrancing guitar work is surely not something to miss. – BR

Contest ends Thursday, February 23rd at 3 p.m.


Japanese Breakfast

Japanese Breakfast: February 23rd (THU) @ Rickshaw Stop // BUY TICKETS
Thursday is all about avant-garde folk, with a roster featuring experimental fusions of pop, indie rock and world music. Philadelphia’s own Japanese Breakfast (born Michelle Zauner) headlines the show, which includes opening acts Miya Folick, Dante Elephante and Flying Circles for what is easily one of Noise Pop’s most unique lineups. – MK

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Barclay Crenshaw

Barclay Crenshaw: February 23rd (THU) @ 1015 Folsom // BUY TICKETS
As it turns out, Claude VonStroke’s real name is even cooler than his fake one. From the man behind the Bay Area’s favorite record label Dirtybird, Barclay Crewshaw is a new project that turns from VonStroke’s thumping upbeat house beats that we’ve come to love to the exciting world of experimental hip-hop, sometimes known as West Coast bass. His production skills are out of this world as he takes you on a spacious, booming and psychedelic journey that’s sure to satisfy any bass head’s appetite. – BR

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Crocodiles

Crocodiles: February 23rd (THU) @ Bottom of the Hill // BUY TICKETS
Hitting Bottom of the Hill with a wave of garage rock and punk, Crocodiles will be hitting the stage for a raucous warm-up on the final leg of their cross-country tour. They’ll be taking the stage alongside Hot Flash Heat Wave and NRVS LVRS, making it one of Noise Pop’s strongest and most compelling bills. – MK

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Kevin Abstract

Kevin Abstract: February 23rd (THU) @ The New Parish // BUY TICKETS
Kevin Abstract is a jack-of-all-trades. Filmmaker, writer, singer and songwriter, Abstract has managed to achieve quite a bit before he celebrates his 21st birthday this year. With a smooth flow and pop sensibility, he’s sure to deliver a powerful performance at The New Parish. – BR

Contest ends this Thursday at 3 p.m.


Deviation

Deviation: February 24th (FRI) @ 1015 Folsom // BUY TICKETS
With a lineup featuring Hudson Mohawke, Francois K, Teklife, Seven Davis Jr., Jay Daniel, and Benji B and Judah performing back to back, it’s hard to capture how much good music will be blaring through 1015’s numerous rooms during Deviation. Hudson Mohawke is likely the main draw for all future-beats fans, but it’s Teklife and BBC Radio 1’s Benji B who you should really stick around for. This should be a good one. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable (acoustic): February 24th (FRI) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
Welsh alt-rock powerhouse The Joy Formidable return to the Bay to take over the Swedish American Hall with some help from Emily Jane White and Everyone Is Dirty. All three acts bring their own blend of pop, hi-fi, garage rock and post-punk, this is a true blend of local and international talent that knows how to push the envelope. – MK

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Mothers

Mothers: February 24th (FRI) @ Brick & Mortar Music Hall // BUY TICKETS
Emerging from the tried-and-true arts and music scene in Athens, Ga., Mothers started as singer-songwriter Kristine Leschper’s solo project before morphing into a four-piece band. Combining Leschper’s haunting vocals and drummer Matthew Andregg’s punchy rhythms, Mothers have found an entrancing sound that is sure to captivate fans of female rock stars like Courtney Barnett and Angel Olsen. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


The Mother Hips

The Hip Replacements: February 24th (FRI) @ The New Parish // BUY TICKETS
One of the West Coast’s longstanding jam-rock bands, The Mother Hips are a California rock ‘n’ roll institution, touring the world and writing songs as both consummate instrumentalists and seasoned songwriters before Bill Clinton entered the White House. With singer/guitarist Tim Bluhm unable to perform due to an ongoing injury, the rest of the band — Greg Loiacono (guitar, vocals), John Hofer (drums) and Scott Thunes (bass) — will join forces with Bob Reed (Overwhelming Colorfast, Oranger), Johnny Irion and Dave Zirbel (San Geronimo) to unveil a mixture of songs by The Mother Hips and The Replacements on this night. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


The Family Crest

The Family Crest: February 25th (SAT) @ Swedish American Hall // BUY TICKETS
An evening of ensemble acts headlined by The Family Crest comes to the Swedish American Music Hall on Saturday, bringing an audible range of local talent to the stage at the intimate venue. In what promises to be a night of orchestral indie-rock bliss, all four acts will present their own unique genre-melding style, making for a neo-symphony on Saturday night. – MK

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Ceremony

Ceremony: February 26th (SUN) @ The Chapel // BUY TICKETS
Ceremony are a no-nonsense punk band from Sonoma County. Both focused and at times sonically explosive, Ceremony have found their own sound and set themselves apart from similar-sounding groups such as Black Flag and Dillinger Escape Plan. They’re capable of balancing melody and musicianship with that intangible, white-knuckled feeling that can only be described as pure rock ‘n’ roll. – BR

Contest ends this Friday at 3 p.m.


Win-2-Tickets

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