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Coachella 2012: Desert Daze Festival, the opposite of Coachella

April 17, 2012 | 12:43 pm

Guy Blakeslee of Entrance Band
This post has been corrected. Please see note at bottom for details.

The sun that's hitting the shoulder off the 10 freeway could bleach the skull of anything that's stopped moving. In the distance, there's a head-high edifice of planks ringed with gravel and beer signs. Its neighbor is a store advertising "Lost Surplus."

This is the parking lot of Dillon Roadhouse in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., and it's the best bar in the Southland this week.

Coachella has never had any competition in its weight class as far as L.A. music festivals go. But all last weekend (and continuing through next), a team of promoters is hosting an elite swath of local rock acts, with a donation-ticket suggested at about the price of a Coachella falafel.

Bleached, Vanaprasta, No, the Soft Pack and Audacity are among the dozens of bands the Desert Daze Festival is hosting at this biker-style oasis in a dessicated hellscape.

Naturally, we stopped by for a drink on the way home from Coachella. This is real-deal dive, with car-racing paraphernalia, a wan pool table and black walls that are a veritable fortress from all sunlight. Around 1 p.m. Monday, the music hadn't started yet. Indeed, the only things that had started were the lead wrists of a few seasoned fellows who beat us there.

Bartender Nancy Nelson said the crowds had been at 400-person capacity all weekend so far, a mix of wandering Coachellans and L.A., O.C. and Riverside locals. For more info, she referred us to the manager named -- we kid not -- Jameson Walker, a man clearly destined for a job in barkeeping. That's like being an astronaut named "Atlantis Voyager." 

Tonight's bill features the Fresh & Onlys, Crystal Antlers and Young Prisms, all of which could play clubs in L.A. to full houses. Upcoming nights feature sets by Free the Robots, Dead Meadow, Nocando, Entrance Band and Akron/Family. Throw in a couple of $3 well drinks, and it's enough to make a hologram Tupac stick around in the desert all week.

[For the Record,1:35 p.m. April 17: An earlier version of this post said a show featuring the Fresh & Onlys, Crystal Antlers and Young Prisms was Monday night, instead of tonight.]


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-- August Brown


Photo: Guy Blakeslee of Entrance Band. Credit: Sophia Amoruso.