Desert Daze 2017 | Cool-Tite

Desert Daze 2018 is set to commence THIS weekend. From October 12th to 14th, far-out heavy-hitters like My Bloody Valentine, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, Warpaint, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, Slowdive, and Shellac will converge on the mountain-rimmed valley between Perris and Moreno Valley for the latest installment of Desert Daze.  With the event’s founder/organizer re-affirming the mission to create a “multidimensional, multilayered and profound experience,” Desert Daze seeks to immerse attendees with an array of music, art, projection art, films, workshops, lectures, and more.

And if our past experiences are any indication – whether it be wild’n out with Iggy Pop and reaching the peak of Sleep‘s Holy Mountain or defying the laws of tradition with Primus – we have little doubt that Desert Daze 2018 will again ascend to “Best Fest” status.


The Setting

After spending the past two years at the Institute of Mental Physics in Joshua Tree, the three years prior to that in Mecca, CA, and its inaugural year in Desert Hot Springs – Moreno Beach at the Lake Perris State Recreation Area will be the new frontier as Desert Daze transitions into yet another new location.  Dubbed “the Valley of the Unbroken Horizon,” the lake-side campground will serve as this year’s foundation for the profound ritual (“music fest” if you wanna be be a jerk about it) known as Desert Daze. As the location is an established campground, the amenities for camping sound to be much improved, including flushing toilets and real showers.  Oh, and the lake! The lake is said to allow for swimming, boat rides, and the exclusive Moreno Beach Club (“an Italian style beach club, complete with hammocks, loungers, towel check, shade, premium bar and snacks”) for VIP ticket holders.

Looking forward to checking out the improved Lake Perris, which had been mostly closed since 2014 as the area underwent some major improvement, as we each seem to have memories going their as kids and either boating or fishing from the shore.


The Outer Space

Beyond the killer lineup of musicians, Desert Daze 2018 will feature a grip of other “extracurricular leisure programs” as part of what had been dubbed “The Outer Space.” In addition to yoga, sound baths, Reiki, “mushroom medicine,” tea ceremonies, and meditation, activities of interest include:

  • In conversation w/ Steve Albini (whose seminal Shellac should not be missed on Sunday);
  • Damien Echols in Conversation – High Magick (yes, THAT Damien Echols, of the West Memphis Three; discussing what he calls “High Magick” – “an occult spiritual tradition that incorporates Gnostic Christianity, Taoist energy practices and esoteric Judaism” that helped him survive his time on death row);
  • Non Plussed Fest Shorts (film screenings from the beloved LA DIY institution); and
  • An Optical Retrospective w/Gerald Casale of DEVO.


The Music

All that other stuff is great, but if it wasn’t for Desert Daze’s remarkable, unique lineup of incredible musicians, then I’m not sure we’d all be trekking out to Perris.  That being said, to help navigate all the sounds of the weekend, we’ve once again assembled our MUST SEE acts for Desert Daze 2018:


Is That a Joint, Man? – Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats (Fri. 9pm; The Block Stage)

Good ol’ Uncle A!  The English stoner doom band do tend to lean more towards the occult than some of their dank-minded genre contemporaries (e.g. Sleep), but they rip nonetheless!  We’ve had the pleasure of catching the sonic haze of Uncle Acid a few times in the past, so we were pumped to see Desert Daze 2018 as their only US performance for the year.  With their appearance on Friday night marking the release of their latest album, Wasteland, I expect this to be a pretty special, far out experience.  Not looking to stress out but also not looking to fade out, so I’ll have them hybrid doobies on deck.  – Mat

+++ Honorable mention: Earth performing The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull (Sun. 6:15pm; The Block Stage) +++

Dylan Carlson’s Earth is set to perform 2008’s droning doom opus, The Bees Made Honey In The Lion’s Skull.   It’s one hell of a journey; one that elicits a feeling of slow, aimless wandering through a vast stretch of Americana.  Lets go indica on this one.  – Mat


Cumbia Psych-Out – Tropa Magica (Fri. 2:15pm; The Moon Stage)

Thee Commons made a name for themselves in East Los and throughout LA with their unique blend of psychedelic-cumbia and surf rock. They are also known to put on one of the most energetic live shows you’ll ever see. After a metamorphosis that saw them clean up their sound, add more instruments and focus more on their songwriting, Tropa Magica was born. If you want to get the party started and dance along to a cumbia psych-out with an entire crowd by your side, don’t miss Tropa Magica!  – Sergio


Under a Spell – Warpaint (Fri. 8pm; The Moon Stage)

Warpaint at Desert Daze 2015 was such a magnificent, memorable experience and I have no doubt this year’s performance will be no different.  You’ll be sucked right in by the band’s rich textures and warm, lush harmonies.  There is something inexplicable about Warpaint’s ability to make you feel like nothing else matters beyond their sound; one of those things you’ll never truly understand until you vibe it yourself.  But for serious, Warpaint should be headlining IMO.  – Mat

+++ Honorable mention: Death Valley Girls (Sun. 5:15pm; The Theatre) +++

Bonnie, Larry, and Co. return to Desert Daze hot off the release of their latest LP, Darkness Rains.  The new DVG record is basically the TV set in the Poltergeist –  an earth-shaking portal into a garage rock dimension filled with demon beasts, killer clowns, and plenty of headstones; only difference is you will want to be sucked in!  – Mat


Flower Power Trippin’ Hour – Kikagaku Moyo (Sat. 8:45pm; The Block Stage)

Kikagaku Moyo are a Japanese psych band who take some aspects of traditional 60s and 70’s Japanese psych, mix it with Krautrock and add a little hard rock edge. Their name translates to “Geometric Patterns” and while their repetitive drum beats will keep you in the groove, their songs can take you from heavy, fuzzed out riffs to mellow, beautiful moments in the blink of an eye. You won’t need any chemical help to expand your mind during this one, but it probably wouldn’t hurt either.  – Sergio


Doo-Wop Me – Shannon and the Clams (Sat. 1:15am; The Block Stage)

I’m sure you’re familiar with the Oakland based doo-woppers by now. I’ve been a fan of Shannon and the Clams ever since I first heard the song “Troublemaker” off their 2009 album I Wanna Go Home. Onion is their latest full-length and has become one of my favorite albums of the year. It has a sadness throughout, with bursts of upbeat garage guitar riffs. The album deals with inner reflection (“Onion”), the pains of love and loss (“It’s Gonna Go Away”), and tributes to the Oakland Ghost Fire (“Don’t Close Your Eyes”). I’m a fan and can’t wait to hear new and old jams performed live. They have a cult following that’s worth the Kool-Aid.  – Crystal


Feelin’ Folksy – Kevin Morby (Sat. 5:10pm; The Block Stage)

Kevin Morby holds a special place in my heart. I walked down the isle to “All of my Life” on our wedding day. Looking forward to feeling folksy and sappy with Sergio (that my Cool-Tite husband and husband IRL).  Also, very excited to hear “I Have Been to the Mountain” played live. In researching Kevin Morby and this song specifically (also featured in the Netflix doc Wild Wild Country), I discovered that it was inspired by and dedicated to Eric Garner, the black man who was choked and killed by police in New York City. It’s a beautiful and powerful song, “That man lived in this town / Til that pig took him down / And have you heard the sound / Of a man stop breathing, pleading?”. Hoping they bring on the choir and trumpets for this one.  – Crystal


Punk in Perris – Death Grips (Sun. 7:30pm; The Moon Stage)

Death Grips are an enigma in music and you never really know what they’re going to do. The experimental hip-hop group will be at this year’s Desert Daze having recently released their sixth studio album, “Year of the Snitch”. They’re loud and aggressive, and what should sound like mayhem–like you’re just playing shouting hip-hop vocals over blastbeat drums–somehow sounds cohesive. They’ve been known to just not show up at festivals, or have their album play from a boombox over the PA system, and that only adds to the intrigue. I’ve had countless friends say, “If Death Grips actually show up they’re going to be so good!” and I couldn’t agree more.  – Sergio

+++ Honorable mention: Ex-Cult (Sat. 6:30pm; The Theatre) +++

Ex-Cult are the simplest definition of a punk band. They play fast and loud, but sharp. Their frantic, fuzzy guitar riffs slap you across the head while frontman Chris Shaw flails about the stage yelling in your face. This one will be fun, aggressive, and you won’t want to miss it.  – Sergio


Straight Gazin’ – My Bloody Valentine (Sun. 9:30pm; The Moon Stage)

It’s taken me over thirty years of existence to finally being to understand and appreciate the vibrantly dreamy, feedback laced psychedelia of the genre called Shoegaze.  I just couldn’t deal with the lack of express attitude in the music.  While I am still far from the ultra-fan status of so many out there, I have grown increasingly fond of the ear-splitting dissonance pioneered by bands like My Bloody Valentine (and Slowdive, infra).  I have made this comparison before, but in the same way doom/stoner bands can lift you to the outer dimensions of you mind, albums like 1991’s Loveless accomplish much the same.  I’m ready for liftoff.  – Mat

+++ Honorable mention: Slowdive (Sat. 9:45pm; The Moon Stage) +++

I mean, MBV and Slowdive on the same bill?! So rad.  After releasing one of our fave albums last year, Slowdive have returned only to display their serious prowess for the dreamy side of life and music.  – Mat


Dancin’ in the Desert – Sextile (Sun. 4:15pm; The Theatre)

Are you ready for some Sextile in the desert? Los Angeles based post-punk band has been around the underground since 2015. They have a new EP that just came out called “3”. The last few weeks have been exhausting. With work and Kavanaugh and the news and the life. I’m very ready to hang with my friends, dance, and feel good this weekend. I think Sextile can take me there.  – Crystal


The Posters

There’s been some pretty rad merch the past few years to help keep the memz of Desert Daze alive, but its the posters that always stand out!  I mean, this year they have a design to commemorate Earth’s performance from fuckin’ Arik Roper!! So far our other fave designs include Jarvis Crocker, Uncle Acid, Slowdive, and MBV – take a look for yourself!  Pro tip: you can pre-order posters now so you don’t have to worry about missing out on the one you want or having to carry it around all day.


The Dirty Details

Single day, weekend, and VIP options for Desert Daze 2018 are still available, but we’ve been hearing the phrase “sold out” creeping up! If you don’t have accommodations figured out yet, camping passes are currently still available (but are in limited supply) and may be your best bet as AirBnB’s look almost non-existent and hotels… meh. Look over the list of what you CAN and CANNOT bring, and be sure to wear layers as weekend temps look like they’ll be dropping to the low 50’s at night with possible thunder storms on Saturday.