The second day of Desert Daze Festival ran just as smoothly as the first. Getting in was a breeze, and there were no wait times at about 1:30 p.m. Early sets from Automatic and Trupa Trupa brought in some festival-goers, but most campers were to be found swimming, lounging by the lake, or heading there with their floaties. With another full day of must-see acts, the people came in droves by the time Devo took the stage.
Several Energy Domes were spotted in the crowds, including one sported by Parquet Courts frontman Andrew Savage, who donned one during their set earlier. A few videos beckoned the crowd to the Moon Stage, and when the band entered, the crowd went wild and started dancing at the first song, “Don’t Shoot (I’m a Man). ” For “That’s Good,” frontman Mark Mothersbaugh marched in place and gestured shooting a gun up to the sky during the “bangs.” They put their domes on and cheekily said, “here’s a little ditty we’ve been working on” before going into possibly the most popular song of the night, “Whip It,” which had the crowd dancing and singing along. A dramatic video starting with the milky way galaxy, zooming into Earth and stating in a deep, announcer voice, “on Earth there is Devo” had the crowd giggling.
After a costume change into orange jumpsuits, they were ready to continue their set of hits, going into their cover of “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction” and moving right into “Secret Agent Man.” During the rocking, “Uncontrollable Urge” the crowd waved their fists in the air and jumped around during the “yeah-yeah-yeah” climactic section. Mothersbaugh said, “How many people think de-evolution is real? …What are we gonna do? Are we not men?!” “We are Devo!” the crowd responded. Before“Freedom of Choice,” the band had another message to share with the crowd about “Freedom of Choice,” “either you use it or lose it. Devo is a state of mind.” The band brought Boogie Boy to the stage for the final song of their set, “Beautiful World.”
Flying Lotus’ 3D experience was a blast for all the senses. Standing up front with 3D glasses on was sure to be an ear-ringing, body-vibrating, and visually over-stimulating time. The set opened with the video for “Fire is Coming,” featuring wolf-humans, setting an eerie tone for the set. When the 3D visuals kicked in, it was like there was pyrotechnics on the stage, but instead, we were traveling through them. Fans cheered when Flying Lotus took the stage behind his futuristic DJ station and got right into “Heroes” off his latest album, Flamagra. He stayed behind this station the majority of the time, coming down to take the mic for just a few songs.“Listen carefully MCT Murphy is about to speak,” he said before taking the mic. “Y’all might know this,” he said before going into his Soulja Boy “Crank Dat” remix. A Mac Miller dedication was a touching note, and everyone really got down to his Thundercat cover, “Them Changes.” His set was truly an experience from the 3D visuals to the booming bass and innovative beats.
Ween took the stage to perform the album Chocolate and Cheese in its entirety. “It’s just hits after hits on the same record… left and right!” Gene Ween said jokingly to the audience. The hour-long album was paused every now and then for some crowd banter. The band finished with about 20 minutes to spare, so they took the opportunity to play some bonus socks including “You Fucked Up,” which had everyone giggling and head-banging along. They ended their set with the ’70s rock-inspired “Buckingham Green.”
While Ween was getting things going, so was Nick Hakim who played some soulful psych tunes in the Theater tent. “Where will we go?” He sang longingly above the sultry instrumentals that led into a surprise wailing guitar solo for “JP.” But the last song took the cake with the intense buildup “oh-oh-oh-oh” which ended in him smashing the mic stand on the stage. He was definitely the winner of the “most intense singer award” of the night.
JJUUJJUU, Desert Daze founder Phil Pirrones’ band brought their heavy psych sounds to the Block Stage, complete with liquid lights show. “Who was here last year? Feels pretty damn good right?! …We worked all year for this….my names Phil and I work for you. Love you guys,” the fest founder said to the crowd, who cheered loudly.
Parquet Courts got the crowd pumped by opening their set with “Total Football,” with singer Andrew Savage sporting a Whit It Cap himself. “It feels good to scream… I start every day with one!” The guitarist said before they went into “Before the Water Gets too High,” in which Savage employed the omnichord. “No City” turned into a long jam, and then the guitarist brought out the whistle. More whistle was brought out for the funky “I’m Wide Awake,” during which a guy decided to crowd surf, literally on a board, and do a headstand, but not before slingshotting jello at the crowd. Meanwhile, Big Business was playing to a more intimate audience at the Theater stage. The duo played some heavy songs that featured metal rhythms and plenty of cymbal hits and had everyone headbanging along.
Turkish psych-rock band Altin Gün beckoned a crowd out to the beating sun with their danceable world music. Some even brought their floaters, propped them down and laid on them with a beer. It was the ultimate “chill” and good vibes session for the afternoon. Many were dancing to songs off their latest album Gece and more. “You all ready for the Turkish Dance?” Singer Merve Dasdemir showed the crowd how to do a hip shake and finger snap.
Klaus Johann Grobe drew the crowd in with some enchanting synth and bass and kept the dance party going after Altin Gün. Plenty of pulsing synth, cowbell and dreamy sounds emanated from the Block stage during their set. They didn’t stop for anyone or anything, and the entire 50-minute set was a full-on rager. “Looking forward to seeing Devo tonight? We are too!” For their last song, they played a brand track that was very Toro y Moi-inspired.
Anika’s early set ran a bit behind due to soundcheck issues. The German-British singer, poet and activist started with solo vocal and synth poem/song about a deceased lover. “Love Bells” was dark and danceable. “He Hit Me” featured a slow pulse of bass. She took the time to connect with the crowd by jumping into the photo pit and looking directly at members in the audience, who gazed back transfixed. But her electronic cover of “White Rabbit” was a show stopper, transforming the song into the future.
Additional highlights included a darkwave, post-punk set from English duo, the KVB, who transported the Theater Tent into a gothic rave. Psychedelic Porn Crumpets shared about tripping out to Witch and Wand on Friday and getting to meet Tony Hawk, who was apparently at the festival. Temples blared their psych-rock complete with full liquid lights show at the Block Stage. Pussy Riot got political in the Theater Tent. Trupa Trupa got the early crowd going with fast-paced songs like “Ten” and “Long Time Ago.” The Locust blasted everyone’s senses in the wee hours of the night, providing an additional outlet for any aggression that was left.
Sunday boasts another full lineup, with RIDE filling in for Shintaro Sakamoto, Khruangbin, Wu-Tang Clan and many more.
Photo Credit April Siese