The legendary three-day arts and music festival in Joshua Tree, CA known as Desert Daze kept the sleepy town bustling with concert goers from across the globe hoping to catch one of many favorite acts. Many trekked to the three day fest to bask in the spiritual retreat that included epic artists, yoga sessions, art installations and food vendors galore. The crew at Moon Block Party had a lineup that put all other music festivals this year to shame. Headliners Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile set the tone on the opening night, with Iggy Pop on Saturday and Unknown Mortal Orchestra closing out night three. The local vendors had enough homemade crafts to choose from including several soft enamel pin vendors while campers roughed the camp grounds and star gazers had the open shy for wishing upon. The three main stages spread across the Institute of Mentalphysics had the crowd flowing past desert art installations, intricate designs and mystical enchantment at every corner.
The festival began with Los Angelinos Jesus Sons, a quintet with jangly guitars and a 1960s flair in the vein of The Velvet Underground. The larger stage centered in the middle of the desert maze was the Moon Stage which featured the thrilling lo-fi psyche-rock of Ty Segall. Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile have been touring as the duo Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile with the Sea Lice and crushed hearts with their euphoric rendition of Barnett’s “Depreston.” The night brought out dazzling neon installations and an iconic view of Joshua Tree.
The second day included bands from all across the nation including Detroit (The Gories), Tijuana (Mint Field), Brooklyn (Sunflower Bean) and local Pomona heroes JJUUJJUU. As the night skies darken, the freaks came out to play. Iggy Pop ripped out of the side stage with such speed that the fans were caught off. He immediately cranked up the volume to a 10 with “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” The mosh pit at the center of the stage was tremendous as swaying bodies created sonic waves in hues of gold and silver. The tough set caused the mosh pit to incite even more chaos as Iggy Pop dove into the crowd. His traditional skinny jeans and boots was all he was wearing and all he needed as he kicked major butt with “Search and Destroy.”
Night three began with the soulful folk-rock of San Francisco native and recent L.A. transplant, Miranda Lee Richards. The Death Valley Girls brought a whole new meaning to acid trippin’ with punk-rock songs that bled through the crate amps. Right behind them was L.A. Witch, whose psyche-rock sound exploded the Block Stage as Jesse Hughes and his Eagels of Death Metal were warming up on the Moon Stage. Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) is on tour in support of her latest release Until The Hunter with her band, Hope Sandoval and The Warm Inventions.
The communal experience of music in the desert was shared by the hardcore fans who will overcome all obstacles to watch their favorite artists redefine what going to a music festival is all about. The wide variety of art, creativity and spirituality at Desert Daze 2017 will be remembered for a long time to come. We can’t wait to see what co-founder Phil Pirrone will have in store in the upcoming year. This was truly a magical experience all concert goers are highly encouraged to participate.