Desert Daze Dried Out On Day 2 And Became Psych Rock Heaven

King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard (Credit: Dick Slaughter)

Desert Daze (Day 2) By the Minute Review

Nate Jackson, Cynthia Rebolledo and Nelson Rodriguez

2:30 With all the campers settled in and many disappointed Tame Impala fans gone, Friday’s three-hour wait to get in the festival turned into a three min wait on Saturday afternoon. Lake Perris: We out here! (Nelson Rodriguez)

3:00 Overheard at the merch booth: “Where are we gonna put another poster? Are we gonna move Tool for Chelsea (Wolfe)…we don’t have anymore wall space.” (CR)

3:05 Hand Habits hit the Moon Stage and greet the audience with a “What up Fyre Fest!” Judging by the lack of response of many campers–too soon! The comment thread on Friday night was pretty lit though. (NR)

3:15 There’s a lot of Indian food booths…hippies love curry. (CR)

3:30 Day Three’s musk won’t be so bad with all these people swimming in this cold ass water. (CR)

3:40 Hope you brought snacks into the campgrounds because unless you enjoy vegan cardboard or fries with mayo, the food options are non existent. I guess this tent serving CBD infused coffee will have to do. (NR)

Credit: Dick Slaughter

4:15 Boogarins recordings do not do them justice. Their songs are meant to be jammed out live and loud just like they’re currently doing with their song “Tempo”. (NR)

4:30 As I enjoy Boogarins’ set the couple next to me bust out a bag of pills, acid, and shrooms and start pairing which one to take with which band. Sounds like they’re going with acid for Mercury Rev. (NR)

4:50 Kevin Morby and his band hit the Moon Stage and jump straight into the beautiful guitar dueling “City Music” the crowd cheers as the sun simultaneously decides to come out and shine the stage. (NR)

5:10 Kevin Morby brought out the sun with his Lou Reed-like harmonies. (CR)

5:15 As Kevin Morby performs “Dry Your Eyes” I can’t help but think of Richard Swift who co-produced Kevin’s “City Music” and sadly passed away earlier this year. RIP Swift, you fucking legend. (NR)  

Credit: Dick Slaughter

6:00 Shout out to the artists that made this year’s installs even more immersive and entertaining. (CR)

6:30 Aside from a few mud puddles, the walkthrough Day 2 of Desert Daze is mostly dry and the people seem to be in good spirits. Yes, it’s fucked up what happened yesterday and things should’ve been planned out better for the rain. But I think the people that didn’t immediately take to social media to rage or DM ditch their weekend passes understand that festivals in the fall are always unpredictable. More importantly, to the people who’ve seen this fest grow from nothing since it started in 2011, it’s not simply about worshipping a lineup and posting on Instagram. It’s about spending time with the tribe. Bottom line: If you’re going to a festival after September, pack your poncho and your patience. (Nate Jackson)

6:36 I’m digging this Moreno Beach layout. Pretty easy to navigate and there’s a lot more open space for the art installations. I’m getting flashbacks of Irvine Lake back when they used to throw fests like Lightning in a Bottle and Juju Beat without hellish crowds. (NJ)

6:40 Ex-Cult are revving up for a revival in the Theatre tent as body heat from the crowd co-mingles with fog and the fiery punk energy in the mosh pit. (NJ)

6:45 As the sun dips out the art installations spread throughout the festival grounds come to life as they light up and become the Instagram worthy photo shoot people are always down for. (NR)

Mercury Rev (Credit: Dick Slaughter)

7:00 Mention Mercury Rev’s psychedelic rockets of sound and are super theatrical. Singer Jonathan Donahue is posing his body in time with the music people standing on benches rocking out. (NJ)

7:20 Looks like a group nap time in the big hippie turn down tent by the Theatre tent, don’t know how well they’re sleeping through all this feedback. (NJ)

7:22 The fact that Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrone has any strength to take the stage right now with his band JJUUJJUU is achievement. On stage in his element, he seems like he’s actually recharging with every thunderous note long hair swaying in front of galactic oil projections.  (NJ)

Credit: Dick Slaughter

7:25 The sound cuts out for a minute toward the beginning but comes back on (Edit: This will happen about a dozen times between now and the end of their set). These speakers weren’t designed to take this much punishment. (NJ)

7:35 In between songs with his band, Pirrone addresses the crowd at the Block Stage: “I’m really grateful for you guys. I’m very happy that we’re here today and we get to have a festival. Thank you so much for being with us and sticking with us and hanging in there and taking care of each other. You guys are Desert Daze and I’m happy to serve you and make this thing happen every year. I will work my ass off for you guys. I know it’s not perfect, but I’m here to for you and we’re gonna make this thing better every year. Thank you for sticking by us. That you everybody. We love you very, very much.” Well said! (NJ)

8:00 Desert Daze veterans and Fullerton natives Cosmonauts hit the Theatre Stage to perform their droning, reverb-heavy hits that continue to get louder and louder over time. (NR)

8:03 The addition of Nicole Smith’s mind-melting bass (from the Mad Walls) brings magic to the Cosmonauts sound. (CR)

8:10 Seeing a couple people rocking premature ponchos though it hasn’t rained a drop… but hey, you never know. (NJ)

8:20 This Bed Sheet Stonehenge in the middle of the fest looks like the perfect place for shroomin’. (NJ)

Chelsea Wolfe (Credit: Dick Slaughter)

8:25 Chelsea Wolfe is bathed in red light looking regal and magnetic, like a goth rock Adele howling over the beachside crowd…someday she should cover “Rolling in the Deep”. (NJ)

8:30 Although this year Desert Daze is providing an “Electric Sound Bath” at the Mystic Bazaar space, the real sound bath is happening in the Theatre Tent right now courtesy of Cosmonauts’ deafening stage volume and singer Derek Cowart’s introspective vocals. (NR)

8:37 DJ at Block Stage is playing “The Passenger” by Iggy Pop…nice call back to last year’s headliner. (NJ)

Credit: Dick Slaughter

8:40 I think this glowing eye camera portal has found its target audience–this stoned guy preparing to jump into it like he’s in the movie Stargate. (NJ)

9:08 The people watching gets better here at night time as their acid kicks in. The sight of fools on top of a flimsy jungle gym contraption shaking it wildly to see who falls first turns me into the popcorn eating Michael Jackson meme. (NJ)

9:45 Slowdive’s stage visuals are on point tonight. Not sure if it’s their own visuals or Desert Daze either way keep them coming! (NR)

10:00 Still amazed on how Slowdive reunited and released their best album 21 years after their last. Doesn’t get any better than watching them play “Star Roving”. (NR)

Slowdive (Credit: Dick Slaughter)

10:05 That moment when you realize everyone is in that shoegaze trance – Slowdive is bringing on the feels right now. (CR)

10:25 I inexplicably wind up standing next to my friends who all showed up to the same set separately to see Slowdive–the definition of a festival win. (NJ)

10:30 Slowdive’s visuals were perfectly curated until some old dude’s face appeared and then it got creepy. (CR)

10:35 The soft opening to Slowdive’s “When the Sun Hits” always gets the crowd going and tonight is no different. (NR)

10:40 The main stage crowd is so chill  here even the security guard is free to sway and get into the music. (NJ)

10:45 You ever make a perfect setlist for a band you like and then you see them perform it live right before your eyes. No? Well shit, Slowdive just did that for me. (NR)

10:51 To the girl whipping her hair back and forth in my face while I try to enjoy the show…You ain’t no Willow Smith! (NJ)

Credit: Dick Slaughter

11:45 Friday nights Aussie rockers Tame Impala got rained out after three songs. But have no fear, Melbourne’s King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard is here Saturday night fully loaded for a 90 minute set even though their song catalog easily has over a months worth of music. (NR)

12:00 a.m. King Gizzard goes on 15 minutes late but quickly make up for it by going warp speed on “I’m in Your Mind”. (NJ)

12:05 It’s hard to tell how many songs King Gizzard have played since they blend in to one another so smoothly. Instead of keeping track of songs it’s easier to count the many medleys they throw at you. (NR)

Credit: Dick Slaughter

12:08 One of the main things that separate King Gizzard from the majority psych bands who try to emulate the same vibe is the ultra-tight, dual drumming of Eric Moore and Michael Cavanagh. Listening to the two of them together with eyes closed is like listening to a Shiva who can shred on the kit. (NJ)

12:15 Into King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard second song, I think people are started to realize they didn’t need to partake in a trifecta of acid, shrooms and weed before the set…watching King Gizzz is a trip on it’s own! (CR)

12:30 After 40 mins of non-stop kraut rock the Gizzard boys mix things up with their free-jazz tune “The River” where they effortlessly show the crowd how a 10 minute jam should sound. (NR)

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