Written by Adam Alloy
Photos by Debi del Grande
You may best know Ween for the inclusion of their song “Ocean Man” on the greatest movie of our lifetime, Shrek, but this set has the opportunity to be a once in a lifetime performance. Due to an aggressive dedication to outside artistry it makes sense that Ween never had a mainstream following, but out of every band on this list, if you are not listening to Ween you’re making a mistake. Apart from being one of the greatest bands in the history of psychedelic rock, they’ve released albums in a variety of styles ranging from butt rock to gospel, country to mariachi. Who else could pull off the steel drum island classic ‘Bananas and Blow’ one year and create the country staple ‘Piss Up A Rope’ the next year. Started by middle school friends who met in typing class, Gene and Dean Ween are about as related as Jack and Meg White. They are known for their zany on stage antics, ravenous cult following, hilarious sardonic lyrics, and most of all their godly music.
Ween doesn’t tour anymore. When they do tour the shows sell out overnight. Never heard of them? Get educated. They’ll be playing their 1994 breakthrough album Chocolate and Cheese in it’s entirety. This eclectic mix of alternative and psychedelic rock a la Ween is generally regarded as one of the most underrated albums of the 90s. Desert Daze may be your only opportunity to see it in your lifetime.
The Flaming Lips
Ever wonder what the fry cook at your local fast food joint is up to? The Flaming Lips, lovechild of avant garde wunderkind Wayne Cotte, was born of the psychedelic experimentation of a Long John Silver’s employee who spent the first seven years of his tenure with the band serving up sea food. Though now they are known for festival defining headline performances, with stage props that can include space ships and suits made out of beams of light, naked women rolling around in balls over the crowd, and Wayne’s philosophical pontifications about the meaning of everything, the Flaming Lips have always been groundbreaking. In the 90s they would record tapes with 40 different soundscapes and invite thousands of people to bring their cars to parking lots where the tapes would be played simultaneously from the car stereo systems. This collaborative listening experience later evolved to their album Zaireeka, which required four friends to meet up and bring separate sound systems to enjoy properly.
The Flaming Lips will be playing their 1999 breakthrough album the Soft Bulletin in it’s entirety. This is a rare opportunity as their next album, Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, often dominates their sets. Do not miss this classic album played by one of the greatest performers in the history of rock music.
Do they even need an introduction? Animal Collective (aka every hipster’s favorite band aka Pitchfork’s most acclaimed band of 2000s aka the soundtrack to your last trip into the inner reaches of your mind) will be taking to the stage of Desert Daze for a legendary performance. Panda Bear, Geologist, Avery Tare, and Deakin wield more musical talent between the four of them than most chamber orchestras. Together, as Animal Collective, they released such classics as Merriweather Post Pavilion, Strawberry Jam, and Feels. Unlike many bands, they still consistently put out golden groundbreaking music with every new album. The only psychedelic rock musicians who are more acclaimed than Animal Collective in in their generation are the individual members, with Panda Bear’s album Person Pitch stealing Pitchfork’s #1 album spot away from Strawberry Jam in 2007. Their music videos are what people wish psychedelics were like. Their lives performances are a glimpse of heaven. I’d tell you not to miss them, but who am I kidding, you’re gonna be camping out for their show all day.
There are no rising stars of the psychedelic rock world glowing quite as bright as New York’s Crumb. They are currently on a sold out tour of every major American city. When they added a second San Francisco show it sold out before my friend could reply back telling me he wanted to go. My newsfeed has been flooded with reviews from around the country. Here’s one from Houston.
“I went to see CRUMB last night @ Satellite with some friends. It was their first time in Houston and by far the best live band I’ve seen in a while. I danced the night away in bliss. My soul needed that.”
“Know anyone looking to part ways with a ticket to Crumb at Barracuda”
What makes this sudden success more remarkable is that what Crumb plays could more accurately be described as psychedelic jazz. Jazz is a genre that is notoriously underappreciated by younger people, but this with the psychedelic spin of Crumb it becomes downright addictive. The collective met at Tuffs University in Brooklyn and started working on songs that frontwoman Lila Ramani had written in high school. Check out their hit Locket off their first album, which is currently sitting at 10 Million views.