March 23, 2013
Beer was flowing, burgers grilling and music blaring as day two of Burgerama picked up where Friday left off. By the end of the night, the walls of the venue were moist sweaty and the concertgoers were sweaty and smelly. Both hallmarks of a good punk/garage/indie rock show.
Starting an hour earlier, Saturday's bill was deep with talent. By the time dusk was settling in, the music kicked into high gear. Enough of the jibba jabba, here's what happened (note: we're using the same one cassette to five cassettes formula to grade the performances):
Beachwood Sparks: As nice as it is to listen to their latest album while smoking a joint while sitting on your back porch with summer in the air, this was by far and away the most awkward fit on the day two bill. The band may have kicked things into a high gear, but the kids weren't feeling them. There was a mass exodus either to The Constellation Room, the merch area or outside to smoke or eat. Not a terrible set by any means, but not being able to connect was a big strike.
Grade: Two cassettes
Hunx and His Punx: After Beachwood Sparks, the crowd was looking for any reason to go nuts and Hunx managed to do that. Never in a million years would we have expected for the crowd to go batshit crazy for this band to the point where it was by far and away the most engaging and wildest set of the two days. Kids were being tossed around in the air like rag dolls and the crowd surfing was literally out of control. Girls managed to end up on stage before taking the leap of faith into the crowd, and let's not forget the chick who got her Britney Spears on and allowed Hunx and a friend of hers to shave her head on-stage. With music and a get up that would be at home in a John Waters movie, it's going to take a while to fully comprehend this set and how a punk meets bubblegum sound can resonate with so many.
Grade: Four and a half cassettes
Fidlar: This L.A. quartet is as punk as punk gets and their live shows have become stuff of legends. But, there was an interesting addition to the band's set: polish. Perhaps touring with The Hives and Delta Spirit has helped their cause but for the first time, the boys were able to connect their wild energy and their sound to create a cohesive live show. That said, Fidlar showed yet again why they're one of the most exciting bands in the area and also how they have the potential to be one of the biggest acts to emerge from the Burger family. And a Fidlar set wouldn't be complete without singer Zac Carper singing while crowd surfing and egging on fans to do the same.
Grade: Four and a half cassettes.
White Fence: An old school, heavy riff, classic rock sound that was strong, but it was hard to comprehend why they played after Fidlar . That was the only thing holding them back in another wise strong performance that showed with some stronger songs, they could be onto something.
Grade: Three and a half cassettes.
King Tuff: The best thing to come from Vermont since Ben & Jerry's, the gentlemen of King Tuff showed off the best aspects of lo-fi garage rock. The pit was raging and the bodies were flying (this was a theme over the two days) but simply put, the music kicked some serious ass. It wasn't as over the top as the Hunx set, but seeing these guys live for the first time reminded me of watching video of some of the early grunge shows and the connection between band and fans. It was fun to watch and when the bassist looks like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused, that adds to an already winning formula
Grade: Four and a half cassettes
Ariel Pink: Beautiful and bizarre, obscure and head scratching. If those phrases don't describe the man who can only be described as a cross between Brian Wilson, Mark Mothersbaugh and Frank Zappa, then nothing can. Along with Haunted Graffiti, people who stuck around for the 12:25 start time were able to enjoy Pink's strange sounds, which was the perfect way to end an eventful two days.
Grade: Three cassettes.
Critical Bias: I bought a Fidlar vinyl and am a better man for it.
The Crowd: From the end of White Fence through the beginning of Ariel Pink, this horrible couple stage left next to me was so distracting and irritating that it took away from these sets. Probably in their early '20s, the girl was either drunk and couldn't stop crying and the boyfriend was screaming along to the music barely paying attention to her. If that doesn't drive you crazy, I don't know what will.
Random Notebook Dump: I was asked if I had cocaine three times. Not sure what screams cocaine user about me, but I guess that's a compliment?
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