Burgerama: The Observatory, Santa Ana, California – Day Two March 29th

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If you think you hadn’t had enough yesterday, it was time to do it all again. Hope you had a good rest, because you’re going to need that energy for today!

A more streamlined entry into the Observatory just short of midday, giving plenty of time to grab a great spot to see singer-songwriter Colleen Green open proceedings on the Observatory stage. With her trademark black sunglasses and crunchy guitar/drum machine set up, she stood alone on stage to blast out songs from her recently released I Want To Grow Up album plus a few older favourites. For a one-woman show, her pop-garage tunes gave a perfect introduction to a massive day ahead.

Running outside to catch the last half of The Garden’s set out in the sun on the Rama stage, it’s easy to see why everyone is talking about them. Mostly known as a bass and drum, high energy garage band, the Shears twins took an interlude from their instruments to both take to the mic’s in a Death Grips style heavy hip-hop break, before returning to their positions to pump through crowd favourites I’m A Woman and What We Are. Back inside, with great anticipation the crowd waited patiently for psych pop outfit White Fence, fronted by songwriter Tim Presley. With his Lennon in Revolver-era vocal style and fantastically talented band, each track felt like a lush journey through some of today’s greatest psych leanings. Not to be missed.

Back outside for the endlessly entertaining King Khan and BBQ (to their friends Erick Khan and Mark Sultan), who of course were sporting their well known bizarre outfits and lo-fi two piece guitar set up. With BBQ providing some one-man-band style percussion, the duo ripped through a selection of their catchy-as-hell garage/do-wop and soul tinged guitar-drums fuzz. With a new album Bad News Boys out last week, their mix of old favourites and new tracks all went down a treat, with a little hip-shakin’ to boot.

Not a single soul moved an inch after Khan and BBQ, if they knew what was good for them. They were all here to see the one and only John Dwyer in what is arguably today’s greatest garage band Thee Oh Sees, who had previously stated they were on ‘infinite hiatus’ only to make an appearance for a number of shows including this, the fourth instalment of Burgerama. Sans his original band, Dwyer battled through technical difficulties and the driving LA sun to not miss a beat, tear through the favourites at a ridiculous pace and send the kids into a flurry of diving arms and legs. Many people we here just for this set and were surely not disappointed.

Next up, J. Mascis (of Dinosaur Jnr.) and his new band Witch, who’s shifted from the 90’s guitar sounds we all know to a much heavier, sludgier sounds with the help of King Tuff (aka Kyle Thomas) on guitar, while J. took to the drums. A fairly familiar vibe flowed through the whole set, but in turn was an enjoyable mash of long hair, head-banging and riffs.

IMG_5281Heading back inside for buzz band Twin Peaks, who’ve recently put out album number two Wild Onion, you can tell straight away that these guys know how to party. It definitely made it’s way through to their live set, a wild ride through a modern take on the garage sound the punters here know and love. Not a frown in the room remained, with a ridiculous energy and powerhouse of great songs meaning Twin Peaks certainly impressed a number of new fans at Burgerama day two.

One of the great things about Burgerama is that the curveball of lineup additions made for a great weekend, leaving it impossible for you to get bored of the same thing. A great example of that was the set from 90’s west coast hip-hop group Bone-Thugs And Harmony, which impressed many and left just as many confused. It was pretty hard not to get into it though and it provided a great mix up to the day. However, the crowd was anticipating the appearance of Black Lips up next, and pushed in further as soon as Bone-Thugs left the stage.

IMG_5293Bouncing through a set of favourites like Oh! Katrina and Family Tree as well as new singles Boys In The Wood, it’s always an enjoyable experience to be witness to a Black Lips set. The Burger favourites and Atlanta, Georgia heroes were always going to be a highlight of the day, and with the addition of guest sax player adding an extra element of fun. Smiles all around.

But those smiles were soon pushed to cheers, because headliner of day two, California local and all around favourite Ty Segall was here to impress. With his band (Mikal Cronin on bass, Charlie Moothart on rhythm guitar and Emily Rose Epstein on drums) in fine form and a rabid crowd here to hang on to every note of this set, the excitement levels were off the scale. Showing his dedication to glam rock, Ty proudly hung a T.Rex flag from his amplifier and also covered David Bowie to the greatest degree. The crowd hung on to every song and sung every word, with the majority of the set coming from the Slaughterhouse album, a few cuts from new LP Manipulator and a few old favourites. Screaming for an encore, Ty and band took a very short break to return to the stage to bust out Black Sabbath’s Paranoid, which he is well know to play in encores and a personal favourite of his. Not once, but twice. Then a venture out into the crowd, surfing out and back and jumping back on stage to play it for the third and final time, with amazement in everyone’s eyes. Without a doubt, the undeniable highlight of the weekend.

Not really knowing what to do with ourselves after that ridiculous experience, the only right thing to do was to head back inside to catch the last of the bands for the weekend. Which was the best option, because not a drop of energy was lost for Meatbodies, a powerful garage rock band who’ve recorded with Ty Segall and guitarist Chad Ubovich also plays in Ty’s other band Fuzz. With their debut self titled album of last year gaining attention all over the world, their was a lot of anticipation in the room. And they certainly lived up to the hype. A healthy dose of crunchy guitar tone, pop melodies and a crazy, cape wearing live performance, Meatbodies get the Ty Segall tick of approval.

IMG_5318Following that experience, The Aquadolls lacked substance but the kids seems to love them. An unfortunately forgettable set. But Burger stalwarts and making their fourth appearance at the fourth Burgerama, Audacity most certainly brought the vibe back to where it needed to be. Pop-garage jems, sing-a-longs and good times, Audacity are a Burger guaranteed experience.

Winding down the weekend in a cruise-y fashion, new-wave electronic tunes from resident Burger dude Gap Dream. A smaller crowd admittedly, as most people we obviously exhausted from a full on weekend, but it made for an intimate setting and perfect wind down.

Burgerama is undoubtedly a ridiculously full on weekend for any fans of the labels’ releases and associated acts. After four years, they know how to do a festival the best way possible and here at Santa Ana for this instalment, it certainly did not disappoint. Highly recommended for any fan of the garage genre, you can be sure that even if you aren’t familiar with any of the acts, you would be certain to find if not one, but many of your new favourite bands.