Burgerama The Observatory March 22, 2013
Last night, Burgerama turned The Observatory turned into many things--a giant house party, a BBQ, perhaps even an old-fashioned kegger. For the sake of Burger Records, we'll just compare this to another independent event: Factory Records parties of the late '70s in Manchester.
The crowd, with the average age being no older than 19, snowballed into a huge punk rock party, with Burger Records and their cavalcade of bands from OC and beyond. Think Dazed and Confused but instead of the partying point being the water tower, it was a venue in a Santa Ana business park.
With last year's edition of Burgerama hailed has a success, the event added an extra day and with the strong lineup of both bands within the Burger extended family and outsiders, the event sold out pretty quickly.
Driving up to the venue, we saw a drunk girl stumbling across the parking lot already in search of a trash can to puke in. The place was bumping; there kids all over the place, there was hardly anywhere to move, but we wouldn't have had it any other way. There was a delicious barbecue set up on the far right patio that grilled delicious burgers (duh, what else?) and hot dogs.
For the sake of simplicity, we're going to keep the banter about the sets to minimum since there was so much ground to cover. But we've come up with a simple grading system and in honor of Burger Records, we're grading on a one cassette (pretty shitty) to a five cassette (best we've ever seen) scale.
Nick Waterhouse: Per usual, Waterhouse was dressed in his Sunday's best and his six-piece backing band along with two finely dressed backing female vocalists who were in peak form. The singer was crisp and led his band through 35 minutes of grooves that led some to crowd surfing during the set (crowd surfing to blue eyed soul? Hmm, ok). After he took his blazer off after the second song, things got serious and it was easily one of the best of the night. Grade: Four cassettes
Bleached: With the kinda, sorta Go-Gos-meets-Best Coast sound, the ladies were rocking pretty hard. With a new record coming out in a couple of weeks, it was easy to see that they were doing their best to round into form. It took them a while to find their groove, but once they did, it was solid. And yes, if you're scoring at home, there was some wild crowd surfing here as well. Grade: Three cassettes
Lovely Bad Things: Ah, one of our favorites. From what we saw of their set in The Constellation Room, the quartet was rockin' pretty hard. Bodies were flying and it was impossible to see them without the fear of losing a tooth or breathing in disgusting air or event someone's gross sweat in your face. That's the sign of a great punk rock show. Grade: Three and a half cassettes.
The Spits: Judging by their appearance, you would have thought that they were the bizarre Spinal Tap if they decided to wear black embroiderd robes when they recorded the video for "Stonehenge." They roared through an all-too-short punk set, squeezing as many songs as they could in a 35-minute period. Anytime you can teach a lesson of how to a be a kick ass punk band to a group of kids who aren't old enough to have seen The Ramones live, then it's a job well done. Grade: Four cassettes
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Black Lips: The evening's headliners were surprisingly well behaved (at least by their standards). They mixed up their set between early rockabilly tracks and their trademark garage-meets-psychedelic-meets punk rock. Backed by a banner that looks like it had been spray painted minutes before the show, the Atlanta-area native rocked and proved once again why they're one of the most dynamic bands in their genre. Too bad most of the kids had already gone home by the time the band hit the stage at 12:25 a.m. Oh well, curfew sucks. Grade: Four cassettes
Critical Bias: Being easily one of the oldest people at a punk show is both humbling and sad.
The Crowd: Average age 19
Overheard in the Crowd: "Can you take this picture for my mom?" asks girl from Vancouver, who subsequently poses as she's about to crowd surf with PBR tallboy in hand. Her mom must be real proud. Follow us on Twitter @ocweeklymusic and @danielkohn. Like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality and Daniel Kohn