Burgerama III – The Observatory – March 22-23, 2014

Burgerama III
The Observatory

There was more than just the smell of burgers in the air for this weekend's Burergerama III Music Festival at the Observatory in Santa Ana. This two-day, outdoor and indoor music extravaganza, thrown together by the local Burger Records (based in Fullerton) was host to well over several thousand music fans, and the area was swarmed with music fans of all ages, shapes, sizes and backgrounds, in what had to be one of the most diverse crowds ever to converge in Orange County.

Strangers traveled from all over the state, and many even flocked from out of state for the fest and bonded over BBQ, tall cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and a very eclectic mix of music throughout many stages, that included punk, psychedelic, emo, folk, funk, new wave, hip-hop and even stoner metal.

Saturday's show was headlined by fan favorites The Growlers, and Black Lips; both of which had fans going wild. Other notable performers included Tijuana Panthers, Hunx, Shannon and the Clams, DEATH, and The Dwarves and many others. Sunday's show featured headliners and fan favorites Fidlar, and also featured Together Pangea, Mac Demarco, The Garden, Kool Keith, Hindu Pirates, White Fang, The Tide, Sleep and tons of others. These were the highlights:

See also: Building a Better Burgerama


Best Stoner moments: 1. A few moments before the Black Lips played on Saturday evening, the well known pot smoking song 'Pass Da Dutchie' came on, and instinctively dozens of fans near the front all simultaneously lit up joints and began passing them to strangers 2.The entire set, by legendary sludgy, stoner metal band Sleep, on Sunday night.

Most lost shoes: The Growlers, Saturday night at the outdoor main Rama Stage
The Growlers had the crowd going wild, and people were very passionate about getting into the band, by dancing, flailing and moving around, in a huge' pit area. Fans bobbed around to the band's unique blend of 60s psychedelic surf rock, emo, pop, folk and punk, and tons of shoes were lost in the process. At the front near the photo pit, a collection of random lost shoes was seen on the ground, everything from sandals, chucks, dress shoes, tennis shoes and even a Doc Martin boot.

Most Crowd Surfers: SLEEP, Sunday night at the Observatory Stage
The Observatory's main stage indoors has seen its share of crowd surfers, but the slow, ultra heavy stoner metal legends SLEEP by far had the other bands beat when it came to the sheer volume of people literally jumping into the crowd and swimming though a sea of banging heads, bashing drums, sludgy riffs and pot smoke. The Observatory's security just stopped trying to stop people from blazing up joints and literally diving into the crowd as head bobbed and people rocked out to the only 'metal' band at the festival. Not too many words were said between songs, as guitarist Matt Pike, bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros and drummer Jason Roeder pummeled through an hour long set of some of the slowest, thunderous, Stoner/Doom metal known to man kind, including the songs 'Holy Mountain' 'Aquarian,' 'Sonic Titan,' and 'From Beyond.' Metal heads and music fans all packed into the Observatory Stage like sardines for this special performance.

Best attempt at a slam dance pit: DEATH, Saturday evening, at the Observatory Stage
The pace was packed beyond capacity for this band, DEATH the remarkable tale of an all black rock band formed in 1976, from Detroit, that might have still been obscure and forgotten had it not been for the random record collectors and traders keeping their forgotten LP after more than three decades. Arguably, this band's sound was 'punk' before anyone else. With a sound that brings together The Who, New Work Dolls, Thin Lizzy, The Clash and The Rammones, DEATH's protopunk, Rock N' Roll based sound got fans moving and in an attempt to create a circle pit, of slamming bodies, instead formed a blob of bobbing bodies which coagulated to form a mass of dancers who were jumping up and down and pogo dancing more than moshing but he level of intensity and passion rivaled that of Black Flag or Bad Brains. There was even a middle eastern fan, in a full on Turbin stage diving and crowd surfing.

Highest Energy Level: Kool Keith aka Dr. Octagon, Sunday at the Observatory Stage
This special old school hip-hop show at Burgerama Fest was one of the loudest sets of the entire event and exuded a level of energy that was one of the highlights of the entire festival, due to its volume and the stage presence of the MC & rappers, which got the crowd jumping up and down like it was the 1990s. Heads were bobbing, and some fans even attempted to form a pit, as things got heavy. The raw, and sped-up approach of Dr. Octagon's rhymes impressed the fans, and invoked tons of ladies in the crowd to all dance in unison, grooving to a set of rap music that spanned from two decades worth of hip-hop.

See also:
25 Greatest OC Bands of All Time: The Complete List
20 Greatest OC Albums of All Time
Best OC Musicians By Genre

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