Television, Primus, Brian Jonestown Massacre Bring The ‘Cool Factor’ to Hot Desert Daze Festival

In Its Fifth Year, Desert Daze Growing in Status

The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze - Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia
The Black Angels were among the bands at Desert Daze – Photo © 2016 Donna Balancia


Desert Daze 2016 brought a top lineup of bands and a wildly eclectic, 3-day fashion show to the normally low-key Joshua Tree, and the desert might never be the same.

In its fifth year, Desert Daze brings out the best in music and desert fashion as well.

With thousands of attendees kicking up dust in work boots, shorts, caftans, scarves and western garb.

“It’s like bedoin-style meets western wear because you’ve gotta protect yourself from the dust,” said one lady concert-goer who sported dyed red hair, shorts, leather work boots and knee-high socks. “It’s all worth it for the music.”

With Television headlining the event, the 1970s-era band cranked out some of the tunes that made them famous in the hazy days of Greenwich Village, including “Marquis Moon” and “Elevation.”

Tom Verlaine - Photo © Donna Balancia
Tom Verlaine – Photo © Donna Balancia

“It’s amazing they got Tom Verlaine out of the big city,” said concert-goer Corey, who in his days off from festival-going, practices with his band. “I’m sure he was amused by this experience.”

Not in recent memory can anyone remember Television playing a desert festival, so score one for the the Desert Daze bookers.

Saturday night headliner Primus, was in prime shape.

Les Claypool and his band of alt-rockers took the stage late night and played the tunes they’re known for. Primus opened with “Those Damn Blue Collar Tweakers,” then going into “Last Salmon Man,” and “Groundhog’s Day,” and wrapping with “Mr. Krinkle,” “Jerry Was a Racecar Driver,” “My Name is Mud,” and and “Southbound Pachyderm.”

Sade of LA Witch - Photo © Donna Balancia
Sade of LA Witch – Photo © Donna Balancia

And leading up to the headliners were some of the best in local and not-so-local talent, but those who would be familiar to Echo, Echoplex and Regent Theatre-goers. Thee Oh Sees, Radio Moscow, Brian Jonestown Massacre, LA Witch, Cherry Glazerr and Mind Meld brought out their best for the festival.

Of special note: Thee Commons, a Mexican-American alt-punk band, got physical, dropping to their knees stage, and taunting the audience with their pink gorilla pal.

The Bodegas kept their cool through the afternoon wind bringing their punk style to the fans. The bands were hot and Desert Daze 2016 was cool.