Festival Review: Desert Daze

Dust and sand perform wonders on the mind, they scrub away the impurities of urban life leaving the brain raw and ready for renewal. Renewal was a core theme at Desert Daze this year as attendants left Joshua Tree as different beings than those who entered.

Between morning yoga, afternoon film sessions, nocturnal escapades, daytime dystopias, seventy nine music acts. and a glorious desert backdrop, Desert Daze had more to do than hours in the day. Each moment felt singular, unique amongst the endless singular moments occurring across the festival grounds. Every nook and cranny had a new experience waiting to be explored.

Phil Pirrone’s slow and steady approach to festival growth has lead to a savory delight of a weekend. The smattering of brain-busting psychedelic rock, garage punk and buttery smooth electro-goodies made for an auditory extravaganza that no attendee will soon forget. Let’s look at this collegiate reporter’s favorite acts of the festival.


L.A. darling Ty Segall came out absolutely livid at his guitar and rightfully tortured the poor beast into producing some of the most awe-inspiring technical shredding I’ve seen in a long long time.

At a festival replete with absolute killer finger-pickers Ty Segall’s set produced the most brain melting moments at a festival where hallucinogens were flowing like the Colorado river 40 years ago.


Flying Microtonal Banana, Nonagon Infinity, unstoppable albums.

King Gizzards set, those two albums.

Immense work from the Auzzies.


Festival’s attract all walks of the musical spectrum, the lunatics mix with the lovers while the misunderstood listen from afar. Oftentimes stages develop their own mad-scientist mix of fans that communally share the vibe of whatever genre that stage has been designated for the weekend.

Iggy Pop attracted every walk of life.

It’s a miracle of nature that Pop’s body can continue to exude the magnitude of energy required to appease an audience with endless expectations. When an individual is lauded as the inventor of the live punk performance, ears are gonna get perked.

Iggy might not be the taut writhing force of rock he once was--noone ever will--but his performance satisfied every curiosity one has coming into a show with the Iguana.

I won’t share too much, with Iggy it was always about ‘being there’.


As dusk fell on the second night of the festival the Moon Stage began to form its first real “you can’t fucking miss this dude” crowd.

Metalheads donned their battle jackets and stood shoulder to shoulder with tripped out psych fiends in multicolored spectacles. Anxious and excited nods of understanding were shared. A dreary calm spread across the desert as the warm fuzz of countless amps prepared the crowd for all out war.

Cheers rise as the bringers of DOOM walk out onto their platform for destruction.

The hour-long onslaught that is Holy Mountain has begun.

Heads bang and dust flies as hundreds experience the peak of heavy metal dipped in an LSD acid bath. The physical body fights its own limits while the mind explores the infinite vastness of reality. Melodic rhythms of distorted drones paired opposite the murderous intent of an axe wielding maniac drive humanity to insanity. Screams of uncertain fear cry out across the barren desert floor.

This goes on for some time.




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