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.




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


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

The Reflektors shine bright in Hollywood on Halloween

ReflektorsBy Kevin Quandt //

Arcade Fire performing as “The Reflektors” //
Hollywood Palladium – Los Angeles
October 31st, 2013 //

“My Grandfather played here. I can feel his spirit,” Win Butler announced to the packed house as the costumed and formal-dressed band took to the Hollywood Palladium stage to continue their ascension as the most buzzed band in the world.

It was not your typical night in the famed LA venue as the Reflektors would stir up a packed crowd on this night. Though this band normally plays under the moniker of Arcade Fire, the baroque pop was shelved to make way for a world-infused dance party that rivaled the most banging discotheque.

A massive line wrapped comically through a parking lot of stanchions filled with a vast array of costumed and formally dressed revelers, all patiently waiting to get in on the night’s festivities. Dressing up for the night was requested by the band, and the vast majority obliged, which Win would later comment on. In the meantime, the party was underway as soon as the doors opened — the lights stayed down as a mix of the Isley Brothers, James Brown and P-Funk got the crowd lubed up for the ensuing onslaught.

“Reflektor” would open the ruckus evening as the expanded group were revealed behind a large curtain. Win wore a tiger-esque mask for the first song before unmasking. Somewhat surprisingly, they launched into Funeral track, “Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)”, which got a great response from the devoted attendees. This was not a show for casual fans, as the tickets were much harder to procure than imagined with such short notice, among other mitigating factors. The next section of songs would be a grand-suite of Reflektor tracks which started with “Flashbulb Eyes” then “Joan of Arc”. It was pretty evident this room had heard the new album more than one or two times in the past week. “We Exist” was another new highlight, as this track is a sublime mix of an infectious dance beat coupled with a slightly more psychedelic take on the already famous Arcade Fire indie-rock sound many have come to love. At this point, the room was boiling as face paint smeared and costume layers were shed and abandoned.

The second half of the show held even more surprises for the moist crowd as “Headlights Look Like Diamonds” was opened with a nod to Lou Reed via a tease of Velvet’s “Beginning to See the Light”. “Normal Person” showed off blazing guitar notes that led to a decent pogo section in the crowd. The temperature rose. Though most in the venue were not alive when the next song was released, Devo’s “Uncontrollable Urge” got a rapturous reply as Win enthusiastically hollered the word ‘yeah’ over and over. A few more degrees were added to the thermometer. Somehow Win caught his breath before telling the crowd that THIS was the time to go crazy, and subsequently launched into dance opus “Here Comes the Night Time”. Conga lines spontaneously sprouted and snaked through the pulsating fans lost in the thick rhythms, and yes, it got even warmer in the Palladium.

An encore, which spotlighted Régine Chassagne, would close out the evening, starting with “Haïti” and then “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”. It did seem a bit odd to end the show with Win stuck in the back of the stage, but it was great to see his lovely bride dance to her heart’s content as we all caught our breath. This would be the end of the live music section, but not the end of the show as the band stuck around for more dancing festivities.

Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)
Flashbulb Eyes
Joan of Arc
You Already Know
We Exist
It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)
Afterlife (with The Velvet Underground’s “Beginning to See the Light” outro)
Headlights Look Like Diamonds
Normal Person
Uncontrollable Urge (Devo cover)
Here Comes the Night Time

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

Guinness Oyster & Music Festival successfully makes EDM leap

Photos by Marc Fong ~ Written by Molly Kish, Sean Little & Marc Fong

O’Reilly’s Oysterfest returned to Sharon Meadow June 1st in for the 14th straight year of live music and shellfish indulgence. Catering to a sizeable San Francisco crowd, event sponsors Guinness kept the lively audience saturated while they enjoyed a variety of oysters and impeccable weather amidst the beautiful setting of Golden Gate Park. Running from 11am-6pm, the festival offered ample time to sample, sip and survey the wide array of vendors and musical entertainment.

This year’s line up, straying from the usual indie rock and alternative-dominated bill, incorporated a heavy electronic undercard. Showcasing a block of hard hitting-talent on a second stage (aka the Red Bull dance tent), the Showbams crew rolled deep this past Saturday to cover the festival’s enthusiastic leap into the EDM foray. Amongst main stage headliners DEVO and MuteMath, Oysterfest brought a whole different demographic to the festival this year by inviting dance producers RAC, Bag Raiders, Classixx and more. Molly Kish, Sean Little and Marc Fong were on the scene to witness the aphrodisiac fueled masses co-mingling amidst this year’s talent transition. Here are some reflections on what may be the most successful year to date in the Oysterfest’s 14 year legacy.

View full photo gallery below.

Upon entering the Oysterfest grounds I was pleasantly surprised to see how well laid out the festival itself was and how many people were there nice and early. The first act I caught (after grabbing a Harp – Guinness was the sole sponsor) was Chris Clouse. I had never heard of him before and figured he was just another DJ laying down some songs. His song selection was pleasing – Clouse chose beats that were catchy but not overly saturated or popular. It got really interesting though when he broke out a guitar and electric fiddle at different points, playing them over the tracks he was spinning. The guitar felt a bit odd, mainly because it’s not an instrument you are used to hearing in dance music. This is especially true when it’s being forced into a song that doesn’t contain guitar sounds, but he used it sparingly enough as to not make it annoying. The electric fiddle was great though, and it really added a unique spark. ~Sean Little


Shiny Toy Guns played the festival stage, which had been relocated from its original setting in the Red Bull tent. They commanded the stage in all of their electro glam rock glory, and they sounded great. Chara was as gorgeous as ever, belting out hits as the crowd danced along. The band was pitch perfect and set the tone for the rest of the day’s festivities. Shiny Toy Guns got the audience pumped for an afternoon endurance test that exclusively included the consumption of shellfish, whiskey and Guinness. ~Molly Kish


Up next were the always-pleasing Classixx. Classix had the crowd in a feel-good frenzy from the start, dropping hits like Bondax’s “Baby I got that” and the new track from Tyler Blake’s (half of Classixx) solo project Fingerpaint called “Lunar”. Their vibe and energy fit perfectly into the small second tent in the early afternoon. It was sunny, the crowd wasn’t packed into the tent yet, and everyone was grooving. ~SL


SF was lucky enough to be treated to the electric riffs and progressive beats of the charismatic Mute Math. Their innovative sound rocked the crowd with personality and high-energy. Drummer, Darren King, (with his headphones taped to his head) beat his heart out on the festival stage with the intensity of a charging rhino. Frontman Paul Meany interacted with a fired-up crowd that was ready to party after consuming plenty of oysters and Guinness. ~Marc Fong



Both members of RAC traded off seamlessly on the decks, bringing in one remix after another from their seemingly endless catalogue. I honestly can’t think of many other producing groups that have been so prodigious and consistent at crafting quality remixes for nearly everyone out there. ~SL


The Devo crowd was ever present at the festival, and they added their colorful flare to the mélange of attendees Saturday. Filling the festival meadow with brightly colored “energy domes”, the crowd eagerly participated in the band’s signature antics and dramatic stage show. With over three separate costume changes, various props utilized then dispersed into the crowd and a comic book themed lightshow, Devo managed to keep the weary crowd’s full attention through the final set of the festival. Mark Mothersbaugh even invited the band’s honorary masked member Bouji Boy up on stage for a disturbingly awkward duet highlighted by the release of hundreds of bouncy balls into the audience, punctuating the performance in a drunken frenzy.

The headlining post punk sci-fi enthusiasts provided the perfect level of nonsensical debauchery to capitalize on the obscure nature of the festival and audience that still remained. Sun soaked and heavily marinated, the crowd loved every second of the set which wavered between classic De-Evolutionized hits and brand new tracks off of their first album in 20 years. Oysterfest nailed it when booking this group to close. ~MK


With the sun still shining and a whole night ahead, the crowd dispersed amongst the city in a euphoric state of post Oysterfest bliss. The incorporation of the Red Bull Tent this year, with an EDM bill that easily rivaled its headliners, was a leap of faith on the organizer’s part. It was the perfect addition to bring Oysterfest to a whole new audience and playing field. Here’s hoping this success proves to be a catalyst year for the fesstival, crystalizing the Guinness Oyster and Music Festival standard from here on out.