Desert Daze kicked off its 2019 edition under warm sunny skies of Moreno Beach in Lake Perris. These are some of the highlights we saw on Friday.
// Jessica Pratt
As chill and low key as we imagined it. Pratt’s stage set up is bare bones; on one side piano accompaniment by Quiet Signs collaborator Matthew McDermott, and Pratt on the other sitting in a chair playing the guitar while signing her songs. The vibe was extra mellow, and those with a shady spot were in a prime location to soak up the ethereal otherworldly vibes of her tunes.
As we mentioned on our preview, Crumb has been hitting the road hard these past few years, and their live show is proof of the incredible musicianship they’ve been cultivating since starting their project in 2016. Their alt-psych-jazz blend of rock felt right at home at Desert Daze, and the entire band; from Lila Ramani’s hypnotic vocals, Jesse Brotter’s pulsating bass, and Brian Aronow’s ——- synth and sax, captured a big crowd. We expect big things from Crumb, and this could be
The first big conflict of day happened when 20 mins into Crumb’s set, the highly anticipated Faye Webster started playing on the opposite side of the grounds. We’ve been Crumb 3 times now, so we felt okay about leaving early to catch the Atlanta-based up and comer. Although she didn’t bring out her yoyo (apparently its been lost for the last 4 days) Webster’s set was entertaining enough that we didn’t need tricks to be enthralled. With a solid band that included a as slick steel pedal player named Pistol, her sweet genre bending alt-americana pop caught a smaller audience than she deserved. Still, even though she was playing at the same time as her “favorite band” Crumb, the few that left early to catch her were treated to one of the best sets of the day.
The sound at the Moon Stage, as the main stage at Desert Dazed is called, is amplified enough that its not 100% absolutely necessary to stand in front of the stage to enjoy the music. As the sun set on Friday night and the full moon rose, I found myself near the beach, watching people climb the installations, cuddling to keep warm, or dancing with their feet on the sand. Stereolab’s career spanning set, which including all their hits, was a blissed out soundtrack for activities.
We were not planning on catching the 1am set by Saharan rock artist Mdou Moctar, but when several friends told us they had heard good things about the guitarist, and based on what I heard during soundcheck, our curiosity was peaked and we braved the chilly temps to wait. It was worth it. With a innovative Tuareg that pushes beyond “world music” into full shred, those who waited were rewarded with a rare boundary pushing set by one of the most exciting artists comic out of North Africa.