This Saturday and Sunday the deeply D.I.Y, deeply beloved Burger Records and their legions of fans will take over the Observatory in Santa Ana for their third annual Burgerama Festival; a celebration of fast, sleazy (in the best way), ripped from the garage punk/pop.
Everything about Fullerton based label/store Burger’s aesthetic supports the idiom that pop music is meant to be disposable.
Their preferred method for releasing music is limited run cassettes, and that’s what they’re most well known for.
The bands that most likely jump to mind when the label is mentioned; Hunx & Punx, the Black Lips, Nobunny, etc. all play gleefully irreverent garage pop where guitars are front and center, and the lyrical subject matter often focuses on being young, being broke, partying, and the occasional crimes and misdemeanors that result from these things.
Despite (or more likely because of) the throw-away nature of Burger’s aesthetic, the label has acquired one of the most dedicated fan bases I’ve ever encountered.
I’m excited to be among them this weekend to experience Burgerama first hand, and I suggest you do the same. Here are some of the things that I’m most looking forward to checking out at the fest.
This Brazilian psych-pop band was my biggest highlight at SXSW. They’re young, talented, and sing in Portuguese.
That coupled with the elements of Tropicalia, and R&B that add extra flavor to their tunes give them that little something more to help them stand out amongst the incredibly strong crop of psych-pop bands putting music out there these days.
Three local(ish) boys (they’re based in Long Beach) who write really solid songs, and play a really solid live rock & roll show. Two fun facts to further incentivise you to check them out:
1. Most of their lead vocals are done by the band’s drummer, and lead singing drummers are pretty much always awesome. 2. When I saw them play at SXSW, they covered “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays”, which is probably the best Buzzcocks song.
FIDLAR completely embody the spirit of everything I mentioned in my opening paragraph about what makes Burger so popular amongst the kids (of all ages). Their name is an acronym for F*** it Dog, Life’s a Risk, and they have songs called “Cheap Beer” and “Wake, Bake, Skate.”
The energy of their live shows is so palpable that, at the risk of sounding trite, you are almost certain to leave their set feeling almost 100 percent more alive.
Three brothers from Detroit who, with their 1974 demo were one of the first ever punk bands, and almost certainly the first black punk band. Only diehard punk rock afficionados seemed to know of their existence until the reportedly excellent documentary A Band Called Death was released a couple of years ago.
Yep, we all need to see this band play, immediately. Well, as immediately as Saturday.
Jonathan Toubin’s Soul Clap Dance Off:
Jonathan Toubin is one the best 45 DJs in the world, and these dance off parties (seriously, people get paper numbers safety pinned to their backs, and expert guest judges pick a winner) are the most fun. Toubin was the victim of a horrific freak accident in December of 2011 when a Portland cab driver suffered from a diabetic episode while driving, and crashed through the wall of Toubin’s hotel room where he was sleeping, pinning him under the cab and putting him into a month long coma. From all accounts he’s since made a full recovery, and is working harder than ever.
Soul Clap at a major rock and roll festival promises to be insane in the best possible way!
The Black Lips:
Their new album, “Underneath the Rainbow“, is start to finish great. Every song is short, sweet, catchy bliss. So much so that I listened to it all the way through four times in a row yesterday. Given the energy that they capture just on their recordings, and notably strong fan base, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume they put on a truly great show.
Cherry Glazerr (Saturday), Part Time (Saturday), Mozes & the Firstborn (Saturday), Allah-Las (Sunday), Cosmonauts (Sunday), The Tyde (Sunday), Summer Twins (Sunday)