Day two of the filthiest festival in California ended this year with Buzzcocks as the final act who closed out the 2017 edition of Burger Boogaloo, a two-day-long event. There’s no saying whether day two was better, but it was certainly bigger as people stretched across Mosswood Park from VIP, through the beer garden, and around Butt City’s entire GA section to watch the British punk group perform on the last night. It was arguably the loudest and brightest set of the weekend, with the help of the stage lights that flashed the audience and paced along with the guitar strums.
The Buzzcocks had a smooth flow from song to song, briefly pausing in between tracks every now and again to make a quick shout-out, such as before “Autonomy,” when Pete Shelley shouted, “It means fuck the government!” The group also performed songs like “Fast Cars,” “Sole Survivor” and “Why She’s A Girl With the Chains On.”
Before they came onto stage, John Waters took the mic in his crazy colored suit, and gave his final words as the festival host. He began with his sentiments about Burger Boogaloo closing, saying, “It’s always a little sad.”
He continued with, “There’s been an elephant in the room the entire weekend,” and the crowd fell silent. After he proclaimed, “Donald Trump,” the crowd started up again, especially during the call for a punk president, instead of a Republican or Democrat. Following the political side-note a few words were given on the Buzzcocks, and a little background information on British slang, with the explanation of “cock” meaning “mate.” If the crowd didn’t already know, they also learned that the band opened for the Sex Pistols 40 years ago and were banned from the BBC, naturally making them perfect contenders for a headlining act at Burger Boogaloo.
Those before them at Butt City were X, one of the bands who were involved in the first wave of American punk. Their introduction included a claim that they “sound better than they did 30 years ago,” and that the audience would also agree. It was obvious that they did; everyone was either jumping up and down, swaying back and fourth or head-nodding — either because they didn’t like dancing or were too tired to dance after jamming out all day, but still wanted to move. At least three-fourths of the crowd even did a glorious collective fist bump during the starting beat on “Los Angeles.”
X took a break during their set to take notice of the “fantastic set design,” with additional comments on how everyone working the festival was so kind and pleasant. They also got sentimental during that moment in between sets when they dedicated a song to passed love ones and to those who have recently lost someone special to them. A band member softly mentioned “maybe in a fire” to remember those lost at the end of last year in the tragic and deadly Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire. After a moment of silence and brief pause, they began to play “Come Back to Me.”
Several other songs the band played included “The Hungry Wolf,” dedicated to Iggy Pop, and “I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts.” X transitioned from song to song more swiftly than most bands on stage, mentioning how they “only had a little bit of time so they were gonna play, play, play.” And that they did, playing as many songs as possible and doing a little dancing while doing it. Lead singer Exene Cervenka was dancing in place and doing a little shimmy, while the lead guitarist gave the fans a dose of the windmill.
A big surprise of day two was the incredibly different approach that Quintron and Miss Pussycat took in their opening set. Instead of giving a thank you to the crowd, fans were greeted with monster puppets inside a castle, interested in giving a fashion show. Miss Pussycat came out on stage in a brightly colored ensemble and showed off the clothes the monster made to the fans, including a fedora type hat and a fur coat. It wasn’t until the puppet fashion show was over that they took to their instruments and began to play, including Miss Pussycat on maracas. Soon, a ton of multi-colored balloons were bouncing around the audience and everyone was gathered around the “Gone Shrimpin” stage to see the elaborate and colorful set.
Sacramento, CA punk band FM Knives took on the Butt City stage earlier that afternoon and were enthusiastic as could be, creating an explosive energy on stage. Their lead singer screamed his lyrics into the microphone during “Down the Street.” He paced around stage before his lines, looking as if he was working himself up to make every word sound intense. He even threw off his leather jacket in the middle of his set after jamming so hard. The female bassist also added an extra sound to the mix, while maintaining a beaming smile that kept good energy flowing from the fans to the stage.
Right before FM Knives came on to perform their set, the weekend may have seen one of its first hecklers after the announcer told a joke involving butt cheeks and “keeping your shit together.” Even though it was the Butt City stage, fans weren’t having it, especially after he complained about the toll bridges that the Bay Area is known to have. People booed, yelled “get off the stage” and someone with a big, blow-up balloon hand came and pulled him backstage.
What didn’t make fans unhappy, however, was all-women band La Luz who gave a refreshing and relaxing break from the hardcore punk that festival-goers had listened to all weekend. They were also the youngest band to be at the festival, having formed in just 2012. It was definitely a good place to be after hours and hours of head banging. The group’s soothing voices paired with the soft tones of the tambourine made the audience clap and sway along. La Luz also seemed grateful to be there, as the lead singer continuously thanked the crowd with a genuine tone in her voice. They lost themselves in the music they played, proving to be truly passionate about their instruments and music.
In the beginning of the day, punk rock band NRBQ who began their career in 1966, performed on the Butt City stage and gave fans a flashback to the past with their song “Don’t Talk About My Music,” as well as their impressive cover of the Beach Boys’ “Don’t Worry Baby.” When the cover came on so many people were singing the song it could be heard from the edge of the Gone Shrimpin’ stage on the complete opposite side of the park.
Burger Boogaloo was named on behalf of Burger Records, the company behind the summer’s raunchiest festival. Many people who perform are apart of the Burger family, including the Jacuzzi Boys. The announcer came onto the stage and announced that “they’re Burger Record devotees,” then asked for a round of applause since it was their first ever Burger Boogaloo Festival. Suddenly a smoke machine began blowing out fog that dispersed among the band members, and continued to linger during their whole set, which went along with the whole creepy vibe of the festival design. They performed their 2015 track “Happy Damage” and 2009’s “No Seasons,” among others.