The third day of the Desert Daze festival cranked the volume way up with My Bloody Valentine, Death Grips and Preoccupations going full blast on the main Moon stage. With music going on into the wee hours of the night thanks to Ty Segall & White Fence’s 1:30 a.m. slotting, the most impactful performance was a full 90-minute set from shoegaze legends, My Bloody Valentine.
Attendees crowded around in anticipation for My Bloody Valentine, earplugs in hand. Amps lined the stage, bracing everyone for what came next: constant, unrelenting sound. While the crowd cheered for songs like “Thorn” and “Slow,” the real test came towards the end of the set with “You Made Me Realise,” which featured a 12-minute “holocaust section,” or white noise coda, complete with spiraling yellow and red colors and dots as the backdrop. Some found the sound too much to handle, but others raised their arms, bathing in the wash of sound. It was an experience, to say the least.
A noteworthy act that followed My Bloody Valentine was Shellac at the Theater Tent. The trio consisting of Steve Albini, Tod Trainer and Bob Weston connected with the crowd, through expression of sexual favors and Q&As. “I’d like to thank My Bloody Valentine for opening for us tonight,” Albini said coyly. “If I were younger and my cock still worked I’d fuck all of you,” he said after noting how attractive the crowd was. During a Q&A session with bassist Tod Trainer, the crowd was given answers and three new songs. Albini played with his guitar strapped around his waist, performing songs including “Wingwalker,” “Compliant” and more. They ended the set with a drum solo from Weston, Albini and Trainer removing parts of his drum until there was nothing left.
No one was still for Death Grip’s blaring hip-hop/hardcore set at the Moon stage. The trio consisting of MC Ride, Zach Hill and Andy Morin played songs from a variety of their albums, opening with “Beware.” “Black Paint” was a prime example of their hip-hop/punk/electronic crossover, as the bass vibrated across the floor and MC Ride shouted the lyrics to the song. The group didn’t stop for anything, transitioning from one song to the next without saying a word to the crowd during their 19-song set. The crowd ate up every minute, jumping up and down and crowd surfing throughout the set.
Earth and Earthless were stacked between Death Grips at the Block stage, Earth performing slow, stoner rock jams such as “Miami Morning Coming Down II” and “Hung From The Moon,” to an attentive crowd. Earthless gave a jam set with much more energy than Earth that was mostly instrumental.
Canadian post-punk band Preoccupations, formerly known as Viet Cong, blasted the crowd in the afternoon with heavy post-punk songs. The loudness drew in quite a crowd to the Moon stage, as they played songs from their latest album, New Material, including “Disarray” and the dark wave “Espionage.” Their set ended in a loud, screeching jam that intensified before subsiding.
L.A. based indie band Goon shared their excitement for the festival, sharing “this is the first cool festival we’ve ever played.” They also thanked My Bloody Valentine for letting them open for them, which got some laughs from the crowd.
Julia Holter played a lovely afternoon set at the Moon stage, complete with strings and trumpet. She appropriately shared she was ready to jump in the water with her red poncho before “Sea Calls Me Home.” Her 45-minute set also consisted of some new songs from her upcoming album Aviary.
At the same time, L.A. based post-punk outfit Sextile performed to new and old fans in the Theater tent. The beating synth and krautrock beats had everybody moving along. They performed songs off their latest album 3 including the pounding “Spun.” Singer Brady Keehn danced around the stage, swinging his mic constantly.
It’s true, there was plenty more to see after the headlining acts on Sunday, and music ran into the wee hours of Monday with King Khan and the Shrines and Ty Segall and White Fence. The crowd wasn’t ready to pack up as several danced in full force with King Khan and the Shrines, whose politically charged doo-wop and psych rock act complete with horn section had the crowd feeling re-energized. Several of the songs were introduced with dedications, including “Bite My Tongue,” which was prefaced with a “fuck you, Kavanaugh,” and “Pickin’ Up The Trash,” a funky, soulful song about “something you gotta do with your government.”
“Thanks for staying up with us!” Ty Segall said to the crowd who waited patiently until 1:50 a.m. for their set to begin. The duo of psych/garage rock bands Ty Segall and White Fence played some songs off their latest album, Joy, opening with the gentle intro “Beginning.” Most of the songs were relatively soft, with some jams thrown in.
By this time, a chill drove in and most of the festival-goers were en route to their campsites or home. But all-in-all, despite its rocky start on Friday, Desert Daze came through with a stellar new location and some of the best acts around. The liquid light shows at the Block stage, unaffected blaring sound system at the Moon stage and endless post-punk at the Theater stage ensured that the festival-goer’s senses were amused on all levels. Rumors that a Joshua Tree and Moreno Valley event will happen next year are in the works already, and we can’t wait to see what else Desert Daze comes up with.
Photo Credit: Mauricio Alvarado