May 8, 2013

Burgerama II

Burgerama II

Burger Records’ Music Festival Is Woodstock For The Millennial Generation — In The O.C.

By Jason Tryp


un, fun fun! The Burgerama experience is like going to your favorite fast food or… (wait for it)… Burger joint, of choice, and having the most awesome burger and fries you can ever have and what the heck, let’s go into the kids’ playroom and go down the fun slide for what it’s worth while we’re at it. Party like its 1974… that tape hiss your hearing from your car stereo is not from your dad’s old Creedence Gold cassette, it’s some Californian band and the darn thing says it was released in 2012 and the record label on it is Burger Records! It’s 2013, Come on in kids, it’s time for Burgerama 2!

With the upswing of vinyl sales in the past few years, it’s good to see record labels that champion the cause but rarely do you encounter a label than not only champions not only vinyl, but its sometimes forgotten analog cousin… the cassette. Burger Records from Fullerton is one such label. Releasing a slew of vinyl records AND cassettes from new bands, and sometimes not so new, on its label over the past few years. The label has grown, gotten attention, seen success and started its own music festival  in Orange County, BURGERAMA.

On a March day that could have been ripped from the pages off of an August calendar day, my lady and I veer towards Santa Ana’s music venue The Observatory (formerly The Galaxy) for day two of Burgerama hoping to quench our thirst for the hipper sounds of today. Even though my gal and I are elegantly dressed in guy/girl 1969ish wear, we are here to be sonically refreshed and entertained with artists from and related to the Burger Records array of left field (mostly) guitar based pop, rock and psychedelic sounds of today.

We stand in line, are allowed entrance and head in and towards the patio a bit on the hungry side. Back there is a colorful young crowd, a mini-Woodstock in a small cramped Orange County facility for the post millennial generation, a kaleidoscope of fashions from ‘60s down to ‘80s new wave looks and all in between. Skinny girls with multi-colored hair, many not seemingly of legal age, then again, I believe tonight is an all ages extravaganza…

The two stages lend a surreal feel to the night’s proceedings. The large main stage echoed by the smaller yet classy stage in a room by the right hand corner leading up to the main stage, less claustrophobic in feel than the larger room, due to the amount of folks waiting around to see the main groups of the night.
It’s almost 7pm, some bands have played already on both stages, we head towards the main stage to see the critically acclaimed Allah-Las, the four lads take the stage, unassuming, almost country rock denim cool circa 1969 in appearance (without the hats), they begin to effortlessly churn out jangly strains of sound from their guitars, sounding like a prime band from the ‘80s Paisley Underground scene, kids are boppin’ to the songs, they must be familiar with them (I myself wasn’t though I had heard of the group, my girlfriend swears by their “Sandy”). Equal parts Brian Jonestown Massacre, Byrds, etc. Jangly heaven, cool guitar riffs, sunny delights for the ear. Towards the end of the set, singer & drummer exchange places, in this band everybody gets a chance to sing, they are one cool cohesive unit, the lead guitarist lets out a solo that would’ve made Sergio Leone’s cut on Once Upon A Time In America. They are one of the newer it bands and perhaps the highlight of Burgerama Day 2.

Next up are a band which represents an American journey of sorts for me. I first discovered them via a free promo I obtained of their first 45 single in 1997 when I worked at a Virgin Megastore in New York City. They are the Beachwood Sparks. They take the stage and begin to play their dreamy cosmic country pop songs, this is what the Byrds reunion of 1973 should have sounded like, Brent Rademaker, Christopher Gunst & Co. churn out pretty cosmic country dreams with psychedelic interludes with effortless grace, I doubt if many in attendance (or half the crowd) knew them beforehand but the band seems to win many hearts that night and make new fans. They are one of the best indie American bands of the past 15 years or so, no joke.

Next, we find ourselves in the smaller stage and room, bouncing back from stage to stage lends a hallucinatory feel to the night as if we are transporting ourselves from one foreign but strangely appealing region to another, to the smaller stage and room we proceed to listen to the Spacemen 3 meets Mogwai garage-y spaced out rock of OC’s The Cosmonauts. They don’t disappoint with their aggressive sounds, their effeminately attired drummer seems to confuse a few frat boys in the back of the crowd and a plastic bottle or two is hurled in his direction but he answers back any lingering questions with his powerful take no prisoners styled drumming. The Cosmonauts are intense and a highlight of the evening. We see other acts on the smaller stage, they come and go, we don’t remember their names but like comets they illuminate the night, fly by and we’re sure to hear from them again, just like Burgerama it leaves a beautiful trail behind sure to come back next year and light up our horizon again with a bevy of gleaming bands of the now and of the yet to come. Put it on your 2014 calendars, Burgerama 3 folks.


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