Are you a Burger Kid? If some high schooler from the East Coast were curious as to what it meant to be a “Burger Kid,” they probably would not get it right away. Home grown in sunny Southern California, the independent record label Burger Records first made their way onto the music scene in 2008 by releasing high quality cassette tapes as a record shop. Fast forward six years, picking up a tray of awesome bands onto their label and growing a huge following – Burger Records is onto their third annual Burgerama III music festival at Santa Ana’s The Observatory. Fans of the label (who have dubbed themselves “Burger Kids”) helped make the two day festival a sold out shindig. This concentrated music scene of the Kids and beach goth vibe seems to only be in good ol’ SoCal, but bands on the label such as Cherry Glazerr and The Black Lips are grabbing the spot light nationally.
Spray painted lime green alien heads paved the path towards the entrance of The Observatory where Burgerama was exploding. Kids of all ages, dressed like they were the graduating class of 1993, lined up early to catch bands on the three Burgrama stages.
Up on the outdoor Rama stage, The Lovely Bad Things drew in a huge crowd, kicking off the festival. Originally all friends from high school with a brother duo included, LBC gave the crowd some immediate pop-punk spunk, opening up with “Darth Lauren” off of their 2013 album The Late Great Whatever. A huge circle pit engulfed the audience members as if they had their own sugar-high agenda. Guitarist and vocalist Lauren Curtius dedicated their song “Here or Anywhere” to her best friend in the crowd. Onlookers watched as The Lovely Bad Things proved their multi-instrumental skills by swapping instruments for different songs. The foursome delivered just the right amount of energy to get the festival-goers ready for the full day ahead.
With an OC Music Award under their belt, Audacity took the Rama stage and decided to share their award with the fans after warming up their set with an cover of The Adolescents’ “Creatures.” Taking things a little too literally, Audacity’s drummer, Thomas Alvarez, ran up to the stage and threw pieces of the destroyed trophy into the crowd. Confetti sporting the band’s name flew into the air while the crowd chanted with the trio, “We won!” before diving into their jam, “Hole in The Sky” off their 2013 album Butter Knife. In Burger Kid fashion, the band stayed true to their music, not getting too riled up on receiving recognition as the best punk band in Orange County. Because at the end of it, who really cares if we’re all in it for the music?
The Aquadolls had corralled more than enough fans into the indoor Observatory stage. Burger boys and girls of all ages piled themselves into any space they could to catch the charismatic blonde vocalist and the rest of her bandmates. While waiting for her to grace the stage, DJ Honey Power spun vinyl records and displayed them as a type of marquee of what was singing through the speakers during set changes. Almost immediately, guitarist and lead vocalist Melissa Brooks skipped on stage with blow-up floatation devices and confetti in hand. Brooks’ light pop vocals got the crowd rowdy, especially while their new song, “Tweaker Kidz.” Fans Danced and crowd surfed as surf-inspired tunes rang throughout the indoor stage. Brooks paraded up and down the stage while high five-ing and serenading her fans as they went completely wild. With all of the members under the age of twenty, it’s a sure bet tht we haven’t seen the last of The Aquadolls flirty antics.
Back at the Rama Stage, Hunx and His Punx were starting a riot. Several blowup dolls made appearances in the crowd and on stage. Fans of the street punk pop group held Westboro Baptist Church-like picket signs reading “God Hates Burgers” and “God Hates Coat Hangers” during their song, “Bad Boy.” It was more than apparent they were just making light of the passing of Westboro’s founder, Fred Phelps. All in all, it’s all about the music and good fun. Hunx and His Punx put one of the blowup dolls in a choke hold and paraded her on stage during “Don’t Call Me Fabulous.” Hunx can make any request he wants because their performance was fabulous and hilarious to say the least.
As the sun started to slowly go down, the freaks came out. One of Burger Records’ favorite freaks was the band, Nobunny. In their signature rabbit ears and kooky stage presence, the foursome took over the Observatory stage inside. Those in the crowd who were Nobunny first-timers were not disappointed. Decked out in his signature full bunny mask, guitarist and vocalist Justin Champlin stepped even further into his Nobunny persona by rocking a cropped leather jacket while shirtless and adding black lingerie for some festive flare. Towering over the crowd in five-inch black platform boots, Champlin strutted his stuff to their songs, “Bye Bye Roxie” and “Mess Me Up” off their 2013 album Secret Songs: Reflection From The Ear Mirror. By the end of the set and into the night, everyone was chanting for Nobunny.
Outside, crowds poured out from the indoor Observatory stages and made their way to the Rama Stage. The last two bands of the night were highly anticipated, The Growlers and the Black Lips. A sea of five thousand heads turned toward the brightly lit stage as fog machines filled the stage and The Growlers made their mark. Cigarette in hand and a humble nod to the crowd, vocalist Brooks Nielson hypnotized the crowd with his raspy, nostalgic voice during “Wandering Eyes” off their 2009 album Are You In Or Out?. The Dana Point natives and fathers of the beach goth genre possessed a seductive rock and roll vibe. The Growlers paid tribute to the Violent Femmes by covering “Add It Up,” which launched everyone into a frenzy. Who knows whether it was the warm Spring night or the clear Southern California sky, but The Growlers transported everyone back in time with their ’60s rock sound.
Making their way back from Austin, Texas after conquering SXSW, the Black Lips stopped by to destroy another music festival. The Black Lips performed a perfect set without missing a beat in their punk rock sound with Southern details. They warmed up with a few songs off their 2011 album, Arabia Mountain. Fans crowd surfed, threw their platform creeper shoes into the air and tried hopping fences in order to get back stage for the last few songs. The Black Lips also performed songs off their brand new album Underneath the Rainbow, but gave the crowd a real treat by wrapping their set up with the song “Bow Down Or Die” from their side project The Almighty Defenders with King Kale. The words “BURGER” shined brightly above the stage as the band bowed and waved a humble goodbye. Burger boys and girls shuffled off home, only to rest up for what day two of Burgerama III has in store.
Black Lips Set List:
Make You Mine
Boys In The Wood
Justice After All
Go Out and Get It
Bow Down & Die (The Almighty Defenders song)
More photos from Burgerama Day One:
SHANNON & THE CLAMS