OBSERVATORY, SANTA ANA, CA
29 MARCH, 2015Burger Records fourth edition of Burgerama...the rhythms, however, were established, and the day unfolded in a most satisfying way, starting and finishing with two folks very identified with the Burger universe, Colleen Green and Ty Segall. Colleen Green camped out in the Observatory, providing a respite from the sun for those nursing hangovers, and it was the perfect opportunity to finally catch material from her newest LP, I Want To Grow Up, done live. A brief break to plot out the day ahead was interrupted with news that a new, hyped hip hop artist no-showed, thereby skewing the main stage schedule. Dashing over to the main stage, cursing all the way, I did manage to catch the end of the mighty King Khan and BBQ Show, in fine form as always, with his roots garage rock style, and inimitable stage presence. As providence would have it, it was not the last time he was seen over the weekend.
Back into the darkness, and coolness, the Constellation Room provided the perfect setting for Melbourne, Australia's Twerps, and songs from the band's Merge Records debut came to life in the quickly packed space. Bouncing back into the light, Thee Oh Sees were holding court on the main stage, and at this point of most festivals, I'd have been happy with seeing this many quality acts, and the day wasn't even half over. Another Burger staple, Shannon and the Clams, held court in the Observatory, and the quick comparison would be to King Kahn, in terms of never delivering a less than memorable show. Bringing that comparison to life was the actual presence of the King, his plus one for this very special occasion being a blowup doll.
Reeling back outside, J. Mascis, in the first of a festival double-shot, led his metal band Witch, anchoring the drum chair. Channeling their inner Black Sabbath, they churned out the perfect set for the midday stoners in attendance. Dublin, Ireland's hotly tipped Girl Band played to a packed Constellation Room, giving creedence to the early hype about them with a thrilling set, previewing a forthcoming EP. On paper, scheduling one man with an acoustic guitar to hold the Observatory Theater at bay during the heighth of the day didn't necessarily seem like The Plan, but when the man is J. Mascis, one can cast any worries aside. With his effects boxes channeling all of his guitar sounds, and a songbook drawing off of solo and Dinosaur, Jr material, it almost didn't seem like a fair fight, and it was fascinating to watch the same faces that had been moshing an hour before, staring, transfixed.
References to how packed the tiny Constellation Room was during the day fell by the wayside during Curtis Harding's thrilling set. I could not even get inside, but found a hallway vantage point to monitor the proceedings. Will be making a point to catch his business again at the soonest available opportunity. With darkness having fallen, now the outdoor stage was the cool relief from the packed inside, and the home stretch beckoned, with a double blast from garage-psych vets the Black Lips, featuring another King Kahn and friend sighting, and a towering headliner performance from the one and only Ty Segall, who held absolutely nothing back, leaning towards the heavier side of his catalog, with a rousing take of "Manipulator" remaining on the mind long after the feedback subsided. It was gratifying to see him dial down security to bring onstage and salute all the Burger family watching his set from the wings. And this was the perfect point to call time on another successful Burgerama.