Beach House and POND Cap Off A Desert Daze’s 10 Year Anniversary CHECK OUT BLURRED CULTURE'S SUNDAY COVERAGE FROM DESERT DAZE!
LAKE PERRIS, CA- The Sunday Slowdown — a term we just made up for the tired-but-rallying feeling that pervades the last day of any festival — was thick in the air as the weekend drew to a close. Attendance seemed a bit lower and attendees were fairly less dressed, but those who committed to the full day were in for a worthy wrap-up.
The only rapper on the bill, JPEGMafia shook up the lineup and shook off everyone’s cobwebs with a high-energy set he carried out with only a laptop, complete with a foray into the crowd and an auto-tuned cover of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
Canadian instrumentals BadBadNotGood played a standout set of their characteristically hard-to-categorize music — they’ve been called everything from hip-hop to psychedelia, but their jazz roots show, especially live. This is fitting, considering that jazz is the root from which so many genres grow.
Britain’s Sleaford Mods kept the energy high on the beach, while Levitation Room put on a memorable set on the Block Stage. Their band dynamic was charming and infectious, laughing generously and generally looking like they were having the time of their lives onstage. It was especially good to see them in high spirits after they shared that lead singer Julian Porte, his girlfriend and another friend were kidnapped and robbed a week earlier in Mexico, also losing a car that held both band gear and personal belongings. (They’ve set up a GoFundMe to help recoup their losses.)
Following the lightness of Levitation Room, was Fuzz, another Ty Segall outfit. Basically a garage rock deity, Ty is no stranger to Desert Daze, appearing with other incarnations of his various groups, but with Fuzz he gets to flex his hard rock chops as drummer and vocalist.
Along with frequent collaborator Charles Moothart on guitar/vox and Chad Ubovich on bass, the trio filled their set with superb musicianship and tight songcraft from their three records under the blissed-out psychedelic projections of the Block Stage. Those in VIP who got there early could see Ty shredding the skins on the comfort of the area’s couches and loungers right next to the stage.
At this point in the weekend, you had to feel for Beach House. Before their set even began, it was affected by the knowledge that Iggy Pop was supposed to be in that slot, and it’s a scientifically certified brain exercise to try to name two more different artists. Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally’s dreamy synth soundscapes did fit the vibe of Desert Daze, though, and crowds of people swayed along to “Space Song” with end-of-weekend bliss.
One fan came to Desert Daze almost solely for Beach House — his all-time favorite band, whom he’s seen six times — and it’s no small thing to get to watch your ultimate favorite as many times as you can. This set during this slot, though, lacked the punch to take the festivities those precious last few feet over the finish line (sports!).
That task fell to Pond, who took the Block Stage right after Beach House ended on the main. They brought one last dose of top-notch Australian psych rock — elevated by one more dose of awesome stage visuals — and the crowd responded in kind.
“Your spirits for Day Three are amazing,” said bassist and keys player Jay Watson, whose energy was holding up remarkably, too, after playing with Tame Impala on Saturday and DJing with his solo project, GUM, earlier on Sunday. “You should see festivals in Australia by Day Three!”
Nick Allbrook is an endlessly watchable frontman as he grooves and struts around the stage, kicking beachballs back at the crowd and summoning some Mick Jagger flair. The band may share DNA with Tame Impala — several of its members are longtime bandmates, collaborators, and friends — but Pond stands on its own.
They took the audience on a tour of hits, from newer tracks like “Human Touch” and “America’s Cup” off their 2021 album, “9,” to older favorites like “Paint Me Silver,” “Sweep Me Off My Feet,” “Waiting for Grace” and “Giant Tortoise.” They closed with a raucous “Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind,” which had everyone jumping and crowd surfing like it was still Friday afternoon, totally unbothered by what tomorrow holds back in the real world.
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