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CVLT Nation Captures the DESERTFEST NYC 2023 Pre-Show

Text and Photos by Charles Nickles

It’s Vitus! It’s Desert! It’s Thursday? I honestly don’t know, hon. Been back and forth a bit these last few ticks so my brain feels like it’s been smashed out by a large gold brick wrapped in lemon and my gut’s more rot than man but who am I to say no to the opportunity to get my face melted at the old faithful?

Sonic Taboo

Opening the festivities for the heady hydra that is Desertfest NYC is no mean feat. Sliding in last minute to cover for Dunes who had to miss the gig on account of some Visa complications would be a totally unenviable proposition if Sonic Taboo weren’t on some hometown hero biker riff, ready RAWK shit all lean and mean, green machine power trio (GAG!) with no room for debate on the highway to HELL YEAH, BROTHER!


I’ve said it before and so I’ll say it again but louder this time for the faders in the back “OH DUDES, MY DUDES! DUEL FUCKIN RULES!” 

Like SO hard, dude. SO! FUCKIN! HARD!

Like panty stealin, pecker peelin, death dealin hard like beefcake mayhem if pecs were stacks and abs were riffs and those greasy sunmabitches hid wicked witches in their banana hammocks and all the world was a slave to oil and ether which I guess it kinda is but that’s beside the point.

Point is Duel FUCKIN rule so hard they kicked my balls back to the glory daze of two thousand teens when we had all our organs and teeth and the end of the world was still a steamy proposition.


Damn, man. Lo-Pan is a really good band.

Like REALLY good.

Their songs are tight and they’ve got thunder drums, gut-rudder bass, riff-heavy wailing and one hell of a singer belting that tenor out to the high heavens total fuckin package deal and all the heads here are eating it up like fistfulls of Wellbutrin which I appreciate and respect even though this clear display of tunefulness and talent just doesn’t reach me right now but I’m pretty sure that is 100% a testament to my cortisol levels being all kinda out of whack for years now so Ima just shut my big, sad mouth over this ten-buck beer and let the grand calgon of rock and roll take me to awaaaaaayyyy.

Colour Haze

Okay, now that we’re a few weeks removed from this event I feel like it’s safe to tell you that I have never listened to Colour Haze before Desertfest and though I’d like to play up the whole “I’ve never heard them but I’ve DEFINITELY heard of them” indie darling suicide trope it’s distinctly possible that Colour Haze’s name and wares would have fully eluded me on my longer than expected march to the grave save this night and holy shit am I fortunate because Colour Haze is a fuckin happening and there are bodies from all over North America packed in tight and eager to devour what I’m pretty confident is the band’s first visit to our turbulent shores. 

And damn, GODDAMN does this band kick out the jams like acid baths and I’m sure you know that just like every swole and smiling body her tonight whirring in abstracted delight knows that but being loose and late to the party my brain isn’t quite attuned to the sonic deluge just yet so I don’t really understand the magnitude of the band playing a 30 minute reinvigoration of “Peace, Brothers & Sisters” but being a Sunday lover of Ash Ra Tempel And Amon Duul II I am feeling acutely blasted by the sonic expanses and the more the band roars and revels the more I wish I’d known better, the more I wish I could be high as the Velvet sunrise coming down into oblivion but a body wants what a body can manage so let’s just kick this brain to the curb for a minute, an hour, a day or whatever it takes for Colour Haze to fully reveal their salvation.

Days 1 & 2 coming soon…

Written By

Meghan MacRae grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but spent many years living in the remote woods. Living in the shadow of grizzly bears, cougars and the other predators of the wilderness taught her about the dark side of nature, and taught her to accept her place in nature's order as their prey. She is co-founder of CVLT Nation.

Sentient 51423

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