Words by Justin Ward | Photos by Brian Ferguson
For the second day at Desert Daze 2019 music fest in Southern California, I honestly couldn’t even comprehend seeing the set of artists on the schedule that I had planned. Given that I was a huge Flying Lotus fan and knew he’d be headlining the main stage starting around 11:30pm or so, I knew I was in for a full day and kept endurance on the brain as I got moving. And I had a stacked schedule from note one, so I was excited to set my alarm the night before after day one.
I got ready and got to the fest as early as I could and started my 12 hour day off with the frantic jams of Trupa Trupa, which I really dug, but I also spent a minute getting more situated for the band I was super excited to see and had been listening to a lot, Altin Gün. Shout-out to Blackwater Holylight, though, they were super interesting and definitely have a future ahead of them. As for Altin Gün, though, the crowds really started to show up from the campsites in droves.
The band brings an ABBA like 70’s disco vibe and traditional Turkish folk music (and they’re from Amsterdam), so the whole thing just exploded from the stage as a Euro-disco dance party and a perfect start to the day for people looking to groove off their hangovers.
After that we moved one stage over and got to groove to the sounds of Klaus Johann Grobe, a different type of dance party but a perfect continuation of what the main stage sounds were kicking out just prior. Me and Brian hung out and chilled with our Los Angeles buddies and everyone caught up on the wondrous fun that was our first day at the festival and let the KJG guys provide the soundtrack.
It felt somewhat crazy to me that I hadn’t yet caught a full Parquet Courts experience, but their warm af daytime headliner slot on The Moon stage really brought out the best in them. This band was nothing but energy, and the experience got people kicking up dust right away and giving all of their energy back to the stage.
Solid shit. Plus the crowd-surfing dude that was tossing out jello shots and then did a headstand on a boogie board… that was definitely a moment. LOL.
Non-stop vibes contiued for me and was the predominate feeling during this festival day, given that JJUUJJUU started right up the moment that Parquet Courts stopped playing. This band could groove, man. I loved what was happening and I definitely need to dive in deeper.
DEVO was next up on the main stage and the only downside to what we saw came in the form of a way-too-long intro video that started to run before JJUUJJUU was fully wrapped up. After that, we got to see a band absolutely still in charge of their nerd-rock dance sensibilities and a perfect festival headliner for the nerds in all of us. Tons of crowd energy and some of the classic DEVO bits came through in spades. “That’s Good” was a monster and “Uncontrollable Urge” was pretty special, too. I was blown away.
Psychedelic P*** Crumpets was the interlude set between Devo and Ween, and incredibly they just kept the energy as high as they could and delivered a rad set while people were taking a break, grabbing grub and getting warmer clothes for the rest of the day. Loved that they were finishing off their U.S. and they thanked their team for the “brilliant” good times on the tour.
For the headlining set from Ween, the first full run-through on stage of their old album Chocolate & Cheese, the real deep fans were lining up early and the beach was packed by the time the band hit the stage with a celebratory start. Starting the album with “Take Me Away” and quickly finding themselves in a hilariously spun version of the album live, by the end having expanded in places (like the “Voodoo Lady” jam) and ridiculously goofed-off in others (like “Candi”), it was truly a special evening to take part in. You could really tell the band was having a blast, too.
I was told the set was not “super brown,” but it still got nice and weird. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
I took a breather and headed over to check out part of Pussy Riot which was wild af. I caught them earlier this year at FORM which was incredible, and this just couldn’t deliver the same ferocity as that main stage set. But I’m sure they blew some minds as a side stage act.
Temples followed the Ween main stage set right next door and felt like we all went back in time to the ’70’s. The musical sounds and vibes of some of your favorite, great psychedelic rock sound flowed from the stage, as if the sounds were familiar, but they were definitely playing their original material. I dug it and definitely need to check them out deeper.
With tables of 3D glasses parked behind the soundboard as people approached the show, Flying Lotus’ 3D show started with a reminder to put on your shades before the David Lynch assisted video for “Fire is Coming” dropped. FlyLo then blasted us with 3D fire and kicked off an hour or so of mind-bending visuals and mind-altering sound designs blasting us to The Moon and back. Nothing was straight-forward, everything took a left turn when you expected a right, and it was insane. What a perfect cap to my day.
Photos don’t do it justice, and really even the fans may have been lost on this one — Flying Lotus came to approach the set more about scaring people and blowing some minds deeper than just a normal DJ set. For some of my friends it was a bit too much, but I was in there deep with him.
This festival is so sick. I couldn’t even believe I had a whole ‘nother day left. Check out a few more shots from around the grounds on Day Two below and stay tuned for more stuff from Day Three coming soon…