Psyched Out At Endless Daze

As a local psych kid, Evan van Zyl thought he was psych enough for Psych Night’s Endless Daze. He was not. That didn’t stop him from having the time of his life at the niche festival.

 

Photo by Pierre Rommelaere

 

Endless Daze is an endless haze of psychedelic rock sprawled across a beach resort on the West Coast. Hundreds of bearded guys with ironically bad tattoos and girls with mircofringes and septum rings flocked to the second annual instalment of the festival. And as it turns out, I was there too.

 

My friends and I braved the unknown territory of this (relatively) new festival for one reason and one reason only: Thee Oh Sees. Of course, I take into consideration the fact that everyone had good things to say about the first festival, the fact the venue looks like a dream and the fact that rest of the line-up was actually interesting. But let’s face facts: It’s in Cape Town, I’m in between exams, I don’t know a lot of the acts and IT’S IN CAPE TOWN. I was open to experience new things and also, Thee Oh Sees.

 

I won’t try and review all of the acts, because that will prove irrelevant for what exactly I’m trying to do with this article, and that is letting you know what the festival was like.

As much as this might sound like hype, I will start by only stating facts:

  •         Practically on the beach
  •         REAL toilets, enough of them
  •         REAL showers
  •         A merch tent open throughout the day with everything ranging from shirts, vinyl and handmade purses (Heroine)
  •         A Vans tent, giving away free festival-related content all day
  •         Multiple food trucks, vegan options included
  •         Relevant local and international psych-rock acts from 12:00 – 03:00

 

On paper, it sounds perfect and I honestly suppose it kind of was, but to say that I had no complaints would be a lie. In Durban, I consider myself to be one of the psych-kids. I feel like I broke in a few pairs of shoes watching almost every The Sisters, Black Math, and MOUSE show ever played. I naïvely thought I was ready for a Psych Rock festival, but I soon learned that I was never ready for the sheer volume of Psych that Cape Town has to offer.

 

For this reason, it was all the acts that somehow drifted from the Psych label that really stood out for me. Bands like Medicine Boy, Runaway Nuns, The Sunflowers and BLK JKS served as a breath of fresh air between the torrent of phaser-orientated acts.

 

Prior to the festival was Endless Blaze, a Spacecake “pre-party” the night leading up to the festival. I cursed myself for not being there to witness The Sisters, Hadeda, Darryn the Wizard and Thee Loopholes, and I’m bummed that we never got any stage time from these acts at the festival. (Even though I am aware that Thee Loopholes did play the actual warm up show with Sannie Fox, Sol Gems and Yndian Mynah on the 27th. But I’m allowed to be upset that I missed shit, okay?)

 

My time at the festival was wild, to say the least, with Friday afternoon largely consumed by traffic and tent erection. It sounds simple enough to the provincial Durbanite, but I have come to learn that Cape Town and its wind are a force not to be fucked with. After our battle with the elements we only really had time to grab a surprisingly well put together dinner in time for Medicine Boy and the night’s headliners, Moon Duo. With a modern spin on 60s psychedelia and striking visuals, Moon Duo entranced the crowd for their entire set. As to be expected, they fell snugly into the genre of the event, but they possessed a certain level of individuality and professionalism that only years of experimentation and experience could achieve.

 

 

Waking up on the floor is never a pleasant experience, but it’s a lot more bearable when you’re on the beach. We finally had some free time, so we ventured down to the picturesque scenery just after sunrise. For some, the ocean was a welcome hangover cure, but I saw it more as an attractive invitation for water-related PTSD. For those unaware, Cape Town water is well, a little bit colder than ours. Music started at 12PM sharp and people were surprisingly keen to watch bands throughout the day. The festival space was arranged in such a way that you could grab a drink, relax in a hammock or shuffle to the stage all in a space of about 60 meters, so it was easy to feel like part of the vibe. In talking to some of the local festival-goers it became clear that a lot of people really enjoy supporting these kinds of parties. Whether that’s because of the music I’m still a little unsure, but people were buzzing nonetheless and no one looked unhappy about where they were.

 

The rest of the day kind of droned along with a lot of bands playing through the stretched out sunset of Cape Town. The reality of watching one of my favourite bands was starting to set in, and the excitement was palpable in the air. People started bustling to the front of the stage at around 10PM, two hours prior to the night’s headliner to eagerly secure their spots. BLK JKS were assigned the opening slot and they were fantastic, providing a little more diversity of South African music onto the stage.

 

Thee Oh Sees prepared the stage for what seemed like an eternity. But after about twenty seconds of their first song, the crowd turned into an entity I had never been faced with. For about two solid hours a few hundred people packed tightly together turned into a blur, a shirtless crowd-surfing blur full of sweaty mosh-pits so intense I could barely stay on my feet, let alone in the same place. The band played nothing but favourites, keeping the crowd in a constant frenzy from start to finish. For a few moments in the show, I caught front-man John Dwyer quickly smirking at the madness taking place a few meters away from him. With an immaculate performance and a set-list that you could practically title “Greatest Hits”, the show felt like it ended faster than it started and it left us in disbelief.

 

Sunday morning came surprisingly quickly and what was even more surprising was the fact that most people were ready to leave. It seemed this collective were party veterans and possibly witches, eager to find their way back into town by 9am, despite the final act only having started at 3am. I found myself soaking in the scenery just a little longer and drinking in the now-almost-empty festival grounds before heading home.

 

Approaching this review I honestly considered taking a lot of jabs at the similarities within the psychedelic genre and what it would be like facing it for an entire weekend. I had bad jokes prepared about effect pedals and echoing vocals, but then I realized something: This festival doesn’t need me, and it doesn’t need you. As a growing community in Cape Town, Endless Daze has seen nothing but increasing support from all over the country. It is up to you to decide if you want to be a part of it.

 

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