Feature Opinion

In Review: Endless Daze Festival 2017 Day 1

Effortlessly retro and oozing ’60s and ’70s influences right down to their posters, pin badges and sunflower merch, Endless Daze is a gorgeously gritty, surf-soaked encapsulation of the psych-rock scene.

Not quite beating the Friday Cape Town traffic, we arrive at Silwerstroom Resort in the late afternoon. Far enough from the Mother City to feel like a decent getaway, but close enough for an easy drive and the corner of Table Mountain to peep around the corner of the bay, the venue is tucked along the wild Atlantic coastline. A broad beach fades into a vegetated dune over which psych rock tunes are oozing.

Small but far from lacking, Endless Daze is a festival put together by seasoned professionals in this regard, and the tiny venue is as polished as they come. The stage is small but raised just a little higher than usual to maintain a pleasingly imposing stature. A couple of food trucks are tucked alongside the pathway, while a kombucha and gin bar nestles to the left of the stage. The crowd is decked out in black and denim – it’s like Mercury during the day and its great.

Hyroine has just taken to the stage and it’s girl power at its finest. The Cape Town hailing duo are a careful balance of vulnerability and stoic cogency. Roxy Caroline and Helen Wells share the stage with ease and quiet confidence as their floaty, albeit rock-rooted sound bleeds into the venue. The addition of whiz kid Tyla Burnett (Black Math) on bass doesn’t hurt either, elevating their polished performance to a whole new level. A wander over to the merch tent the following day results in the discovery of their handcrafted, up-cycled line of caps and pencil cases each simplistically embroidered with the band name – and it epitomizes them to a tee.

Mr Cat and the Jackal are armed with an accordion and a grooving, folk-infused repertoire, which brings on the seaside sunset and simultaneous full moon rise in the dusky purple sky. A perusal of the food court leaves us armed with with beer and falafel in hand as Retro Dizzy careen onto stage.

It’s been some time since I’ve caught these surf rockers live. The release of “Just Relax” earlier this year has seen their sound navigate far more psych-saturated waters and their pulsating live show echoes their ever-maturing sound with ease. With their bassist and guitarist decked in billowy tunics, a heady dose of zesty guitar and lulling baselines, they power through their set with chiseled momentum.

Medicine Boy deliver a polished yet gritty performance, while Moon Duo follow up as the first of the weekend’s international headliners to grace the stage, bringing the tempo down just a notch with with their polished, floating, endlessly psychedelic tones. The synth-driven San Francisco hailing pair released their two part “Occult Architecture” earlier this year – a project which they dubbed their “psychedelic opus” and features strongly in the set. Sanae Yamada floats across the keyboard, conjuring looped, spacey strains, while Ripley Johnson – bearded and bespectacled – keeps taught guitar rhythms gritty and raw. They are an artful combination of both the rock-rooted and the dreamscape aspect of the prevalent genre and it’s a treat to behold.

Fever Trails follows on with a gently grooving set which is just a tad underwhelming, while Hello Beautiful wraps up the evening with style. The Pretoria four-piece have been doing the festival rounds this year and aren’t stopping any time soon. Electro stylings take the place of prevalent synth in this performance, right on time for their late night shift. A solid baseline undertows their rockier sound, providing a dose of good old alternative dance, turning up the party tempo of the festival with a dynamic performance. Its bold, its bristling, but now it’s time for bed.

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Check out our exclusive gallery from this event.