Desert Stars Festival 2015

Desert Stars Festival  ”Cuvee” 2015
Festival coverage by Mila Reynaud

Once again I found myself heading back to the wild-west atmosphere of Pappy and Harriet’s for the spectacular eight edition of the autonomous Desert Stars Festival, the psyche rock festival that exists thanks to Kickstarter campaign contributions and the hard work of countless volunteers. Just like last year (see coverage Here), and just like the similar event, Levitation in Austin, Texas (founded by the Black Angels), there is no corporate commodification of the music.

The 2015 edition brought together another eclectic lineup of thirty bands of some renowned that arose on three stages and a structure by Tommy Dietrick himself, dubbed “The Tee Pee” stage. Shoegaze, psych, folk, blues, punk and experimental genres were all represented.

The talent was all so good that it was extremely difficult to see all the bands in attendance and to make sound choices. Sadly, I missed some of the sets, sorry! The overall festival atmosphere was very cool, but also one of those occasions when you stumble in the who’s who of the local music scene, which at times can be a bit snobby.

Here are the highlights and high vibes I would like to share:

It was great to catch local Burger Records and Lolipop Records recording artists, Gateway Drugs, Mr. Elevator, Feels, Cosmonauts and Drinking Flowers. They all gave their raw potential in killer sets.

Alex Maas (Black Angels) performed a solo set that was a deep breath, a kind of meditation, bringing reflections that we really need to share in this world. Spindrift went on at sunset, which was the perfect time and place to enjoy their acid western sound.  And nothing better than their “Speak to the wind” to enter in the night transition, “entre chiens et loups” we say in French. The amazing performance by Dead Meadow, made me float, and I especially enjoyed their cover of the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows”.

Lou Barlow from Dinosaur Jr. and Sebado, blew me away with his ultra intimate set that caused a wave of emotions. Multi-talented, he played ukulele, acoustic guitar and keyboards.

The comeback of Lemonheads seduced a large part of the crowd. They played a medley consisting of a dozen of their favorite songs, but surprising to me, I didn’t hear Mrs. Robinson among them. In the middle of the show Evan Dando played alone with an acoustic guitar delivering folk versions of some of their popular tracks.

Matt Hollywood (Brian Jonestown Massacre) and the Bad Feelings played honest classic psych rock under a hard sun, brief note to remember the importance of the 90′s BJM’s sound in this place.

The Entrance Band took the stage after a never-ending sound check, finally delivering a stellar set and  Zodiac Death Valley touched my sensitive strings playing pulsive psyche blues, a pure dope. I also very appreciated Dead Leaf Echo from NY, a touch more experimental, dreamy, artsy and very refreshing.

Britian’s, Swervedriver, was the Saturday night headliner, wrapping up a US tour in support of their new album “I Wasn’t Born to Lose You”, their first new full-length album in 17 years. They were THE shoegaze reference of the DSF 2015 and they played a solid Rock&Roll set. Ah!!

More than last year, I felt a kind of 90′s sound and spirit throughout the air, and a big folk wave too. The icing on the cake of this incredible weekend was that it ended with a sublime super moon lunar eclipse, a magic touch in the Mojave Sunday night sky. Long life to the Desert Stars Festival and the open-minded tribe, and special thanks to you Tommy Dietrick for allowing me access again this year.

Here is an important link to support The Mojave Land Trust, an organization set up to protect the Mojave Desert ecosystem and its scenic and cultural resource values. Please have a look.

 DSF Spindrift






















Pappy and Harriets
Desert Stars Festival
Mila Reynaud