Mecca CA, April 20-21 – Reverb, feedback, and a sea of color against a desolate backdrop of the Coachella Valley nestled by the acrid shores of the Salton Sea; this is Desert Daze.
The music festival, held April 20-21, featured a lineup of psychedelic acts from all over the world, some traveling from as as far as Mali. The fest boasted three stages in a small area and had an uncanny “anti-Coachella” feel. A handful of vendors were scattered around selling T-shirts, jewelry, and all things DIY. The sound penetrated the area while festival-goers milled about haphazard art installations that were “inventive” at best.
Event organizers, Moon Block Party, put together a stellar lineup for the festival held April 20th. Given that Coachella was only a few miles away on the same weekend, they did encounter some challenges. The space was not exactly packed and lacked a energy. Possibly due to the blistering heat, putrid odor from the “sea”, and mosquitoes devouring peoples’ flesh.
Despite the less-than-ideal venue, the bands put on kick-ass sets.
The daytime acts featured a variety of bands that veered more toward lighter bands. Many had a punk sound woven into their music. Others had catchy melodies that got people on the floor.
Such was the case with the Cosmonauts. The band highlights a group of four OC-raised guys with a strong local following. They stopped by the festival before setting out for a two-month US tour. Their punk-psych sound coupled with an amalgam of hodgepodge aesthetic aggressively catch the eye and demand people to listen.
They described their music as a “release of energy” and fueled by “suburban angst”.
The night drew out the crowds, after being subjugated to their tents to escape the heat. The mood of the music changed, shifting toward more moody, ethereal acts like Chelsea Wolfe, Warpaint, and the Lumerians.
LA-based act, Chelsea Wolfe. She was decked out in all black and rocked a pair of Margiela boots with a cloven toe and clear heel. Her set was a beautifully epic, haunting cacophony. “I love the juxtaposition of beautiful and horrible things in life, I search for truth… I like my music to have a cinematic vibe,” Wolfe said. Her presence had a Mazzy star-esque vibe to it, with an edge. She kept a low profile and seemed to get into the moodiness of her art.
Another band that set the tone for the night was the Lumerians. The band featured heavy baselines, eerie loops, and percussion breakdowns.
The show had the potential to tank, but the talent saved the day. The bands put on a hell of a show that made up for the logistical issues or the stink shores of the Salton Sea and its blood-sucking residents.
– Jessica Jewell