As the crisp fall air descends with the seasons changing and summer music festivals seem like a distant memory, the best of festival season isn’t quite over yet. October brings the 2017 Desert Daze Festival located at the Institute of Mental Physics in Joshua Tree, California Oct 12-15. Equal parts mystical and otherworldly, the festival’s unique setting provides for an experience that is a welcome reprieve from more commercial fests that feel impersonal and generic. With unique art installations, a mystic bazaar, and other features that makes this festival for the discerning, Desert Daze transcends what comes to mind when the term music festival is mentioned. This difference can be felt in its careful curation of musical acts and the caliber of individuals that choose to attend it. The expansive and primordial terrain of Joshua Tree allows for the festival to feel more like a community versus just an event- there is an alluringly endless feel to the landscape that is complemented by the kind of music that is played.
Every year of Desert Daze has seen some amazing acts, with this year being no different. Ever growing, the lineup this year might be the best yet- with a variety of acts ranging from The Budos Band to Iggy Pop.
The three-day festival kicks off Friday, October 13th with the likes of Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile backed by their collective band “Sea Lice”. They will be playing songs off their new collaborative record, making this show a can’t miss. Their band “Sea Lice” includes an ensemble of talented members ranging from the likes of Sleator-Kinney, Warpaint, and Wildflag to name a few. Ty Segall and Ariel Pink are also some of the heavy hitters for the first day of the three-day event.
A couple bands to look out for include The Budos Band & Holy Wave. With their infectious afrobeat rhythms and driving horn section, The Budos Band provides dancey tracks that will be a taste of something different at Desert Daze, as they incorporate jazz elements and heady beats that are sure to kick off the weekend festivities. Texas-based Holy Wave sculpts ethereal melodies with reverb-soaked chord progressions, bringing with them the lone star state’s long tradition of psychedelic magic. Songs like “Do You Feel It” and “She Put a Seed in My Ear” rely on repetitive melodic lines that are propelled forward with fuzzy guitar riffs melting against a palate of pulsating percussion.
Spaceface is another can’t miss act on the inaugural day, with their glitter infused aesthetic that can be heard on songs like “Cowboy Lightning” off their new album Sun Kids. The frontman of Spaceface is The Flaming Lips’ synth player, and much like the Lips, the band engages the audience in interactive activities during their shows-hopefully they will do the same during their set at Desert Daze this year.
The second day of Desert Daze is arguably the biggest day of the festival with Iggy Pop, John Cale, and Sleep painting giant streaks of melodic color on the auditory landscape of this diverse lineup. Sleep will be performing Holy Mountain in its entirety, and both John Cale and Iggy Pop are poised to shake things up with their sure to be legendary performances. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard recently released their newest record “Sketches of Brunswick East” with Mild High Club and will be playing a set that is sure to get the party going with their unique brand of psychedelia that boasts long, distorted interludes interwoven with distinct talking-like vocal styles. Black Moth Super Rainbow, Frankie & The Witch Fingers, and Mr. Elevator are some of the other notable acts on day two that will put the festival into full swing.
Day three of Desert Daze sees acts like Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions that will be a welcome reprieve from the inevitable party hangover from the day before. Hope Sandoval’s dreamy, lush vocals are sure to mimic the serenity of the Joshua tree sprinkled scenery. The iconic and timeless Spiritualized is also sure to complement the third day’s mellow audio atmosphere with spatial harmonic lines that burst and shimmer with tangible electricity. With the California sunshine sure to be lighting up the fest, there may be no better fit for day three than Los Angeles based Allah-Las. Their distinct Southern California vibes through their twangy guitar riffs evoke technicolor sunsets and the carefree nature of beach culture. Having released their newest album “Calico Review” earlier this year and recorded it in Marfa, Texas, their newest record has a soundscape that is similar to their first two records yet channels a musical maturity that can be heard in songs like “Strange Heat” and “Famous Phone Figure.” Also in tune with the more subdued mood of the last day of the fest, Khraungbin will be rounding out day three with their instrumental tracks that pull inspirations from a variety of genres ranging from world music to surf rock.
So before you decide that you’re done with festivals for this year, make sure you catch this one as it is sure to not disappoint. Desert Daze will be happening October 13th- 15th. See the full day by day lineup above and be sure to get your tickets and camping passes soon!