By 4 p.m. Saturday, an EMT was already hauling away a teenage girl away in an ambulance (she wasÂ still donning dental braces by the way)Â and a few feet away a security guard was holding back the hair of a young vomiting woman. Although this sounds like your typical out-of-control festival scene, Burger Records ran an impressively tight ship on its first day of its fourth annual Burgerama. Despite the music festival’s attendance having exponentially grown each year and its three stages (including the outdoor “Rama” stage built in the Observatory’s parking lot) being in close quarters of one another, all the gallivanting, drinking eating and more didn’t seem to be a problem. Sets ran on time for the most part, there was no shortage of food or water, and security guards went the extra mile to keep things in order. In fact, the flow of bodies were so efficiently regulated that one couldn’t help but favor Burgerama when compared to other recent local festivals dealing with high traffic.
- ||| Photos by Samantha Saturday [another big gallery below]
The only downside of the festival was that the Constellation Room was nearly impossible to get into if you weren’t saving yourself a spot for two acts ahead. Trying to come up with some other festival woes is a delightful challenge in this case. Even with Burgerama’s second day actually bearing a superior lineup, Saturday was one big happy festival. There was moshing, there were robots, and of course, there were burgers. There was even Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon, if you caught her backstage. Performances from big names in the bill like Weezer, the Black Angels, Gang of Four were cherries on top of it all.
Here are five highlights from Day 1 of Burgerama 4:
Weezer makes it a family affair:Â “For the frist time in the universe, please welcome to the Weezer stage … my dad!” It was a very sweet moment when Rivers Cuomo invited his father to play drums on “Back to the Shack.” Weezer’s set was was a solid, straight-forward show that featured a guest appearance by the Coathangers’ Stephanie Luke on “Go Away.” Cuomo and company provided all the hits (kicking it off with “My Name Is Jonas” and performing “Buddy Holly” as the encore) for the crowd to sing along to. Never mind that most of these songs are older than some of the youngsters in the crowd. Even they seemed to know all the words, and that was a good start to breaking through to the heart of the this old, cranky blogger.
FIDLAR, Orange County and Jack In The Box: “I say this every time we play Orange County,” warned frontman Zac Carper. “I lost my virginity at a Jack In The Box on Harbor Boulevard.” Despite re-sharing this personal detail, Carper and the rest of the FIDLAR boys knew they could get a laugh fro of the crowd. Laugh, they did. Cheers also came when the garage punk quartet teased fans with a small snippet of Weezer’s “Undone â€” The Sweater Song.” There wasn’t a follow-through there but it didn’t matter when they opened the set up with “Cheap Beer” (while everybody drank PBR, mind you), “Cocaine” and more.
Gang of Four prove they still got it:Â In the massive sea of garage-punk, it was refreshing to hear some post-punk in the mix. Sure, there was still moshing but it was nice to have music you could actuallyÂ dance to. (None of the electronic artists even provided that option.) John Sterry and lone original member Andy Gill showed more energy than the kids participating in crowd-surfing, which is saying a lot.
Palma Violets and friends give it their all:Â Although Jeff the Brotherhood’s scorching set is a close-second, the award for owning the Observatory inside goes to the U.K.’s Palma Violets. With guests on backing vocals and harmonica, the trio’s infectious anthems like “Best of Friends” lit the room on fire. High jumps from guitarist Samuel Fryer and shout-worthy lyrics from bassist Alexander “Chilli” Jensen were executed in good fun without comprising their tight-knit sound.
Tomorrows Tulips hold down in their hometown:Â Technically, the Observatory is Santa Ana, but the Costa Mesa-based Tomorrows Tulips were basically playing on their own turf for Burgerama. Winning over fans old and new,Â Alex Knost andÂ Ford Archbold’s lackadaisacal pop and slacker rock had the crowd in the Observatory steadily growing. Not bad for a band whose members look like a cross between Kurt Cobain twins and these guys.