Last year I went to Desert Daze – the one where a storm chaotically blew away camper tents and shut down the fest. I walked around and saw people enjoying themselves and the music, but it looked like a ghost fest of sorts. Folks had taken off and whatnot. I (in typical pessimistic fashion) was convinced that this situation had laid the Daze asunder. My heart was broken that I was witnessing "The Last Desert Daze" and that this glorious new desert fest was gonna be washed up because Mother Nature herself had stomped her foot on the dust and told everyone to go to their rooms.
Well...I was wrong. And so was Mother Nature, because the Daze is BACK! And BIGGER! AND BADDER than before. It's like everyone went to their room...and hung up black light posters and took hallucinogens. This year's line-up is dizzyingly spectacular. Even the WU is gonna be there...check it. If you're Daze-ing, here are a couple of artists I'd make sure to not miss.
Jessica Pratt - Friday @ The Block @ 4pm
Singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt gets pigeonholed as "freak-folk" but it is truly only by virtue of her astounding etherealness. Her recent Quiet Signs LP is one of the most beautiful, intimate sounding records I've ever heard and “This Time Around” is the closest thing I've experienced that legit feels like a kiss from an angel.
Jonathan Bree - Friday @ The Theatre @ 2pm
Whoever or whatever Jonathan Bree wants to be perceived as is an absolute mystery. He and his band perform stunning 60s indebted baroque-pop in super weird bodysuits that obscure them completely. As shrouded as he/they may be, the songs elevate and speak for themselves. "You're So Cool” is a stone cold emotional juggernaut to me, and I can't wait to hear it.
DEVO - Saturday @ The Moon @ 6:15pm
DEVO are not men. They are DEVO. But, they are actually men. And they are touting this as their last LAST hurrah, The Beginning of the end. So outside of the fact that this may be your last chance to see DEVO live, THIS IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO SEE DEVO LIVE.
Yeah yeah yeah yeah YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH YEEEEEEAH
The Flaming Lips - Friday @ The Moon @ 11:30pm
The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin is without question a monumental album that cemented their mainstream legacy while (re)introducing the mainstream listener to symphonic psychedelia. The album (to me) is a perfect thing, like a kind of life-changing existentialist space opera that plays out like this: you stub your toe in the kitchen and consequently drop your favorite mug on the floor and watch it shatter into a million little pieces and your coffee pools into a perfect deity image with arms extended towards you and the mug shards line up and vaguely resemble Mickey Mouse. Cool? Cool.
Shintaro Sakamoto - Sunday @ The Block @ 7:45pm
Back in 2012 I was suuuuuper sold on the former Yura Yura Teikoku member's How To Live With A Phantom LP. It, like all of Sakamoto's work, teems with overwhelming love and care for a warm sound that is exactly like the radio from a not so distant time that people (most certainly my generation) may remember. I can only imagine that he is a kind of 'Back To The Future' type time traveler who back then was way ahead of the current retro Soft Rock curve we're living in now, while sounding completely late 70s/early 80s.