THE SPIRITUAL ESSENCE OF DESERT DAZE

TEMPLES shot by Lindsey Price.

 

PHOTOGRAPHY Lindsey Price, Nicki Contreras, Ryan Hackbarth
Mauricio Alvarado, Bri Lien and Nana Taimour
WORDS Julian de la Celle


 

     No excuse is necessary for a road trip out to the spiritual and beautiful desert of Joshua Tree so when you add to that a three-day festival with some of the best bands in the music scene right now, it would surely be a sin to stay at home. Temples, King Gizzard, Wand, The Coathangers, Thee Oh Sees, Black Angels, Primus, METZ, Night Beats, Brian Jonestown Massacre… it’s a never-ending list of the shear talent that presented itself last weekend at Desert Daze. The staff were incredibly kind and helpful and I rarely found myself speaking to anyone who took their job too seriously, in fact, they too were genuinely enjoying their weekend!


     For this years Desert Daze the venue was moved to the Institute of Mentalphysics and I think everyone would agree that it was a fantastic decision! The venue, the bands, the people, along with the genuine kindness and love for music, is what makes Desert Daze the best festival I have ever attended. I'm tired of going to festivals and seeing frat guys/bros and girls wearing head to toe Urban Outfitters and those annoying pre-made flower headband things or when you overhear the person behind you say something like "So where are all the parties going to be, I don't really like live music..." I could go on for a while, but festivals have become something else entirely. It's almost never solely about the music or the happiness that it brings when you've just discovered a new band, or the silly stories you can tell afterwards about that time you got backstage and met your favorite artist, but Desert Daze embodied that completely and I'm so happy I went! HUGE shoutout to Mad Alchemy for creating some of the best liquid light shows I've ever seen!! They really were a huge part of why Desert Daze was so beautiful and so visually pleasing. Now, here are some highlights from our favorite sets of the weekend:

 

 

DEATH VALLEY GIRLS

DEATH VALLEY GIRLS shot by Nicki Contreras.

 

I freaking love Death Valley Girls and Bonnie is one the kindest, sweetest people you'll ever meet! I was so sad to have missed their set due to traffic, but every time I've seen them play in the past they've expanded my mind to the true beauty of Rock 'n' Roll. I could go on forever about how great all of them are and how far they've come as a band, but just go see them live and you'll understand what I mean!

 
  DEATH VALLEY GIRLS shot by Mauricio Alvarado.

DEATH VALLEY GIRLS shot by Mauricio Alvarado.

 

TEMPLES

 

Shot by Lindsey Price.


Finally, Temples had returned to play their second show in California since 2014 and they still sounded as amazing as ever. It felt like an eternity since I had seen them play at The Roxy two years ago so I was extremely excited to catch them again on Friday night. They're at their best when playing songs off Sun Structures like "Shelter Song" and "Keep in the Dark" where you can't help but sing along and get lost in James Bagshaw's voice and even though the newer songs may require some getting used to, they still embody what makes Temples great. 

 
 

 

THE SONICS

 

Shot by Mauricio Alvarado.


The Sonics are 60s legends from Tacoma, Washington and I had always heard that, even though they had been trucking on for 50+ years, they didn't let their age stop them from completely rocking out and the packed crowd showcased that it's not just about the young-ins! 

 
 

 

KING GIZZARD & THE LIZARD WIZARD

 

Shot by Lindsey Price.     


Hands down one of the best sets of the whole festival. The live presence and the incredible musicianship that these guys have blows most bands away. The dual-drumming, as seen with Thee Oh Sees and The Dirtbombs before them, worked flawlessly and I couldn't help but watch in awe their impeccable timing. This was the first time I'd seen King Gizzard live and they completely exceeded my expectations. I would definitely recommend seeing them live if given the opportunity.

 
 

 

LA WITCH

 

Shot by Mauricio Alvarado.


LA Witch have come a long way from the first time I saw them live a few years back - they've opened up for The Kills (twice) and have become even better musicians with a strong connection between the trio. Unfortunately I also missed their set having thought they were playing later on in the day, but I'm sure they were fantastic as usual!

 
 

 

WAND

 

Shot by Nicki Contreras.


I really love Wand. They're simply just great musicians, so much so that vocalist Cory Hanson and drummer Evan Burrows just finished touring with Ty Segall & The Muggers. Check them out if you get a chance!

 
 

 

JJUUJJUU

 

Shot by Lindsey Price.


"JJUUJJUU is a psychedelic, dreamy, spacious band that also holds a certain darkness and mystery. Their music identifies with the idea of altered space and time and magnifies your perception with sensory experiences." - Lindsey Price

I unfortunately missed their set, but I've always heard great things about them! Phil Pirrone also founded the festival along with his wife Julie Edwards (Deap Vally)

 
 

 

VINYL WILLIAMS

 

Shot by Lindsey Price.


"Vinyl Williams has a complex. celestial sound. Their music is about expanding beyond the human eye and pushing the mind to see from another dimension of the Universe." - Lindsey Price

This was another set I missed but Lindsey so gracefully helped describe their sound! They're also currently on tour with Temples for the remainder of their US tour.

 
 

 

THE COATHANGERS

Julia Kugel of THE COATHANGERS.

 

Shot by Nana Taimour.


If you're looking for a band that truly radiates the soul and live presence of Rock 'n' Roll then you've seriously got to see The Coathangers live. The first time I saw them play was at last years Beach Goth and they took my by surprise then, but this was really an amazing set. All three of them are multi-instrumentalists and will rotate positions between vocals, drumming and guitar playing, it's amazing! Julia Kugel, or Crook Kid Coathanger as she's penned herself, is such a captivating frontwoman and even used a squeaky toy as an instrument for their closing song "Squeeki Tiki." If that doesn't send you off into the abyss of the interweb to find where they're playing next, I don't know what will!  

 
 

 

THEE OH SEES

John Dwyer of THEE OH SEES.

 

Shot by Bri Lien.


John Dwyer is a legend. Thee Oh Sees have been around since '97 (almost 20 years, people!) and they NEVER get stale. He puts 150% into every performance and is one of the most talented musicians in LA. I was practically on the stage watching them perform and couldn't stop dancing the entire set! Dual-drumming has become one of my favorite things to watch because it's just so interesting and with Thee Oh Sees it's not just simple synchronization, this is hard, loud drumming with a lot of energy behind it. Can't wait to see them again!

 
 

 

THE RAVEONETTES

THE RAVEONETTES shot by Bri Lien.

 

Shot by Bri Lien.


This was another one I was super excited to see live after being a fan of for a long time! They aren't the kind of band that has an insane amount of energy or a crazy stage presence, but they're still very enticing to watch. They have a subtle calm that clashes with the sound of their instruments and it happens so naturally.

 
 

 

PRIMUS

 

Shot by Bri Lien.


I've been wanting to see Primus for years and my wish finally came true! I had just seen Les play with Sean Lennon at The Fonda a few months back with their group the Claypool Lennon Delirium and it was fantastic, but seeing Primus Saturday night was just so fucking cool. In my opinion, he's one of the best bass players in the world and he makes it look so god damn easy. All three of them are extremely talented musicians and their sense of timing is perfect. When Les came out with the pig mask towards the end playing "My Name Is Mud" it was epic. 

 
 

 

NIGHT BEATS

NIGHT BEATS shot by Lindsey Price.

 

Shot by Lindsey Price.


I've seen Night Beats a handful of times now and they're always such a damn good band. They work with each other and off each other and it feels like a real partnership when they come together on songs like "No Cops"  or "Power Child." I ended up hanging out with Jakob Bowden (bass) for most of the weekend and he's truly one of the nicest and most welcoming people I've ever had the privilege of meeting!

 
 

 

NUMB*ER

 

Shot by Nicki Contreras.


Numb*er is probably my favorite emerging band at the moment and maybe I'm biased by the fact that Jeff and Laena are just such sweet souls that they light up the room wherever they go. They're doing something different that mixes an 80s gothic sound with a bit of new wave wheras a lot of newer bands float towards the psychedelic revival or garage sound. Go. See. Them. Live. 

Also, HUGE congrats to Jeff and Laena for their engagement on Saturday night. Sending all of our love!

 
 

 

MEATBODIES

 

Shot by Nicki Contreras.


These guys have THE best energy! Vocalist Chad Ubovich plays bass in Fuzz with Ty Segall and Charles Mootheart and guitarest Patrick Nolan is the vocalist in WALTER so it makes sense that when the two came together they would create something equally amazing. Everyone in the band loses themselves completely in the music and it's so satisfying to see them having as much fun as their audience!

 
 

 

LA LUZ

LA LUZ shot by Ryan Hackbarth.

 

Shot by Ryan Hackbarth.


I ended up missing their set, and unfortunately I haven't had the chance to see them live yet, but I'll make sure to catch them the next time around! For now, enjoy the beautiful photography by Ryan Hackbarth!

 

LA LUZ shot by Ryan Hackbarth.

 

 

WHITE FENCE

 

Shot by Nicki Contreras.


Last time I had seen White Fence was at Lollipalooza at The Echoplex and it was incredible. Unfortunately the sound in this particular stage wasn't the best it could have been so it didn't give a great impression of how great White Fence really is, but even with those issues, Tim Presley and the band still managed to completely pack the tent full of dancing bodies and bobing heads!

 

 

DEAP VALLY

 

Shot by Ryan Hackbarth.


This duo made up of vocalist/guitarist Lindsey Troy and drummer Julie Edwards make Deap Vally one of the truly great Rock 'n' Roll bands in Los Angeles. Their soul and their shear talent is palpable every time I see them play. Julie founded the festival along with Phil Pirrone of JJUUJJUU and I just want to say how happy I am that they decided to do so because they've created something so genuine and you can feel the love, sweat and tears that they must have put into it to make it perfect!

 

 

METZ

 

Shot by Lindsey Price.


This was my first time ever seeing METZ and I had been told by a lot of friends that they were one of the best live bands they had seen and they were right. The energy these guys have on stage is astounding and they have this heaviness to their music that just makes you want to jump off the stage and into the mosh pit below. I'm eagerly anticipating the next time I have the chance to see them again! 

 
 

 

POND

 

Shot by Ryan Hackbarth.


This was one I was super excited to see live after just recently getting into Nick Allbrook's former band Mink Mussel Creek which is a much more psychedelic/garage influenced group with former Tame Impala bandmate Kevin Parker on drums. There's something about frontman Nick Allbrook that instantly makes you feel like you've known him for years and that you just wanna go grab a drink together and talk about the to and fros of life. They just seem to have so much fun together on stage, like they don't try to take themselves too seriously and I enjoy that.

 

 

FOXYGEN

 

Shot by Nicki Contreras.


I had never really had the chance to listen to Foxygen beforehand so I kind of didn't know what to expect, but from the first song (after a 30 min wait due to technical issues) I saw the obvious influences of frontman Jonathan Redo - Iggy Pop, Bowie, Mick Jagger. It's definitely a cool vibe, but I ran over to see Television having thought I was missing them... but I then found out they were starting late as well!

 
 

 

TELEVISION

 

Shot by Mauricio Alvarado.


Of course, the talk of the festival was the anticipation and excitement everyone had for Television's set on Sunday night. I myself was super excited, even though I wish they had brought back ex-member Richard Hell. Maybe it's because I'm just used to more energy on stage or a more powerful performance, but I found myself getting a bit bored with the set. With that said, I still appreciated the fact that I was watching them live and that the crowd seemed to be really into it!

 
 

 

BRIAN JONESTOWN MASSACRE

 

Shot by Ryan Hackbarth.


This was it, people. This was what made me realize how absolutely amazing the entire weekend had truly been. Granted, I was FREEZING the entire set and at one point had to go warm up in a friend's car, but I was able to catch the very last 15 minutes and had an incredible spiritual experience, and I wasn't even on any drugs! I was up front, in the photo pit watching Anton and the boys make unbelievable music when all of a sudden a flood of overwhelming joy, enthusiasm, sadness and longing poured over me all at once. I finally understood what people had told me about BJM and their live shows. I had seen them twice before this, but nothing like this had happened where I felt so completely connected. Thank you, Anton. It was really an amazing feeling and an incredible weekend with old friends and new and I can't wait for Desert Daze 2017!

 
 
 

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Ryan Hackbarth (@rhack)
Mauricio Alvarado (@alvarado6411)
Bri Lien (@bri.lien)
Nana Taimour (@nanataimour)

Desert Daze (@desertdaze_official)
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