March 24, 2012
Saturday night the Fullerton-based label/store hybrid Burger Records put together an impressive bill at The Observatory. The mini-festival took note of the garage-punk sound that is being heard all over Southern California as of late. It was an evening of mosh pits and general bedlam--the young crowd was full of piss and vinegar. On the sold-out event's Facebook page, a girl offered to trade her sunglasses for a ticket. With two stages and almost no break between acts, the energy level remained at a crazed sprint until the doors shuttered. Here's a rundown of some of the night's best acts:
King Tuff: The alter ego of Kyle Thomas, King Tuff brought a giddy, almost irreverently flamboyant change of pace to the evening. Tuff's sound has a whacky bizzaro-vibe reminiscent of his friend and fellow Burger family member, Hunx. Just shy of parodic glam, it's music that doesn't get in the way of having a good time. And last night everyone did.
- Fidlar Are Drunk, Reckless and Proud of It
- Fidlar on Hangovers, House Parties, and How They Came Up With Their Name
Greg Kuehn's Punk Rock Progeny, Fidlar's Elvis and Max
White Fence: When I saw White Fence at KXSC Fest in February, the band failed to impart the essential weirdness of their recordings; they were more by-the-book indie rock than flower-power bizarreness. But last night, perhaps because of the very different bill, they went two-steps weirder and three-steps harder. Their sound was big--they seemed to immerse the crowd with dreamy, rollicking guitar riffs. Even the mosh lost its primal intensity in favor of a zoned churn of contented bodies.
Ty Segall: Segall was, far and away, the standout performer of the evening. He opened his set by acknowledging the consequence of the show: "That was part of the reason I moved to SF," he said, "there was just nothing like this here. But now there is. So keep going to shows." He then launched into "Goodbye Bread" and followed with a bevy of beloved tunes including "Girlfriend" and "My Sunshine". Immediately the frenzied mosh re-erupted. Segall played with a full band, giving the set a full sound, but he commanded the crowd's focus with an intense charisma. It may be an odd comparison to make, but the dude had an almost Springsteen-esque vibe to him--he handled guitar, vocal, and frontman duties with an ease that allowed him to connect completely with the audience.
OFF!: OFF!'s drummer Mario Rubalcaba is one of the nastiest percussionists you can see live. He thudded out the intense back-beats of OFF!'s short, terse hardcore punk tracks. (Their First Four EPs collection brags that it's "16 songs in just under 18 minutes".) Perhaps because of the brevity of each track, the crowd didn't have the chance to connect with the punk super-group the way they did with Segall, but their set was solid. No-frills and no-holds-barred music interspersed with the occasional socio-political rant from vocalist Keith Morris, of Black Flag and Circle Jerks legend.
Pangea: After being less than impressed by the first couple of songs by the last act on the main stage, Wavves, I wandered down to the second stage to see slop-pop rockers Pangea play. It seemed that some of the bands had a similar idea--Audacity, FIDLAR, and Ty Segall were all watching their set. The four-piece slammed through distorted (both musically and thematically) songs like "Too Drunk To Cum" while the jam-packed room smashed each other. At one point Segall himself stage-dove, causing the security guards to lose their shit. For their last song, Pangea called the entire crowd up on stage with them; I followed the sweaty crush forward as the band valiantly continued playing as long as the laws of physics would allow.
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Critic's Bias: I've covered many of these bands extensively in the past and tend to like their music.
The Crowd: All ages punk show= teen skate-rats looking to get into shenanigans. A mix of Los Angeles and Orange Country music lovers wanting to have a rowdy time.
Random Notebook Dump: I watched part of OFF!'s set with Ryan Adams, who apparently digs on FIDLAR.
- Burgerama This Weekend: Not Bill Murray-fied, But You Can Still Pogo Til You Puke With Wavves, OFF!, Strange Boys and More
- The Burger Guys are Opening a Record Store Full of Vinyl and Cassettes. In This Economy?
- Burger Records Curates VICE Sampler, Becomes More Famous