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Live Review and Photos: Burgerama ft. Ty Segall & Wavves, March 24, 2012, The Observatory – Santa Ana, CA




All photos by Matt Draper / The Holloweyed for BPM

Burgerama is a one day festival put on at The Observatory in Santa Ana in Orange County by record store, label and local heroes Burger Records. This was the first year they’ve held the festival, and they drew in an impressive lineup, which in turn brought in an impressive crowd, selling out the venue. We were surprised that this had sold out without any problem since a lot of these bands play in Los Angeles, only an hour’s drive away, on a very regular basis, but upon entering the venue it all made sense – the crowd was surf-punk teens of Orange County, the kind of kids who can’t make it up to LA on a week day because it’s a school night, or maybe they don’t even have a car; the kind of kids who don’t get to see as much live music as maybe they’d like to; the kind of kids who, when a lineup like this lands on their doorstep, are going to go along and mosh the fuck out. And that’s exactly what they did. And it was pretty awesome.

The Strange Boys

We arrived a little late to the festival, and the fact that we had already missed high octane acts like FIDLAR and White Fence was clear from the sweat on the brow of each person in the pit area of the main room.

It was The Strange Boys’ turn to play, and even though their music isn’t exactly downbeat, it did seem like a relatively relaxed set on a day like this. Sensing the urgency for energy coming from the audience, the band played less piano-centric songs than the last time I saw them and focused more on their more garage-y sounding songs from their oeuvre. The crowd appreciated this and by the second half of the set they were finding just about any rhythm to pogo along to in unison.

Ty Segall

Ty Segall’s live show is something of a little legend; from basements, to garages, to clubs, to festivals, he and his band are known to tear things apart. This was my first time seeing him play, and he did not disappoint. The set veered wildly from straightforward pulverizing garage rock, to songs that were layered with destructive distortion. While his whole band (which included Mikal Cronin on bass) remained active throughout, nobody was as erratic and excited as Segall himself who thrashed his long hair around, got up on speaker stacks, went right over to the edge of the audience to provoke them on, and just seemed to have a serious bounce in his step everywhere he went. Segall even took the opportunity to play a new song, which seemed as instantly catchy as anything else he played – and was certainly as quickly mosh-worthy judging from the audience’s reaction.


Segall stage dived a few times, and one attempt to throw his guitar onto the crowd and catch up with it to play it was fairly unsuccessful, but unperturbed he tried something bigger. Firstly, he put his microphone stand into the crowd and tried to get them to hold it upright, and then he attempted to stand on the crowd alongside it and sing and play guitar. It wasn’t perfect, in fact it was rather lopsided, but nothing about this scene is about doing things cleanly or perfectly, so it was still pretty fucking awesome and a great way to end their performance.


OFF!

OFF!’s live performances come across in much the same way as their recorded material: in short, brutal bursts – except it’s much louder. Backed by his enthusiastic band, Keith Morris screamed his garbled-yet-awesome vocals consistently and precisely down the microphone. The backing of the bass, drum and guitar rambling along, slowing to a crawl and then re-shifting gear into pulverization mode as tight as ever, was repeated time and time again, but they’re just so good at it, it didn’t really matter. And each song, despite their brevity, made its own mark. All the noise coming from the band fanned the flames coming from Morris’ mouth, both during songs and when speaking between them about various things that he loves and hates. The band took the opportunity to air some tracks from their upcoming full length, and needless to say, fans of their First Four EPs will be deighted come May.



Wavves

The headliner for the evening was Nathan Williams’ Wavves, who maybe don’t quite have as much edge as the previous two acts, but it was evident that the crowd was down to mosh along to their more streamlined and catchy punk pop from the off, as all kinds of clothing from bras to shoes were thrown up onstage more or less from beginning to end. They kicked off with “King of the Beach,” which got kids moving and singing, and the volume and energy stayed consistent throughout. Williams somewhat annoyingly kept mentioning how drunk he was throughout the set, but he redeemed himself midway when he forced his band to replay a song against their will, because he thought they’d played it too drunkenly and could do much better – and he was right.


The set consisted almost exclusively of songs from King of the Beach and the recently released Life Sux EP. The highlight for me was “Idiot” from King of the Beach, but saying which was the highlight for the crowd is an impossibility since everyone down the front seemed to know every word to every song. By this point crowdsurfing had gotten pretty out of control too, with people jumping off ledges onto the top of the crowd – which only added to the fun.


Wavves rounded out their hour-long set confidently, and although the audience would have loved them to continue, it was nearing 1am – surely past their bed time?


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