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Burgerama 4, Saturday March 28th 2015, Part 1

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Crowd surfers at Burgerama


Burgerama came back in 2015 bigger and bolder than ever, and I have barely survived the first day. First of all, the number of bands to see was overwhelming (more than 40), plus a lot of bands,playing on the outdoor stage and inside the Observatory, had the exact same set times… Why were all the good acts playing at the same time? You had to choose between Together Pangea or Cosmonauts, Bleached or The Relationship, Bass Drum of Death or Jeff The Brotherhood, Tomorrows Tulips or Tijuana Panthers…. and it was difficult.

Mid afternoon, I decided to concentrate on the main stage outdoor since getting inside the observatory was getting insanely more difficult each time. The access between both stages was really a pain, I had a photo access but not an all-access pass, and I got lost a few times backstage trying to find a shortcut to avoid the dense crowd, but was stopped several times by security guards. Getting inside the Observatory through a narrow corridor was more and more ridiculous, and I heard a few photographers complain about it. And by 5 pm, I was getting tired of this maze,… but enough complaining, I nevertheless had a great time, fighting my way through crowds, fighting photographers aggressively trying to get the most of the short time we were allowed in the pit, and battling rude security guards – they are always rude and they have a tendency to treat people like animals at the Observatory! They had effectively cut access to the pit after the first three songs of an act, so if you stayed in the pit for the three songs of the main stage and tried to get inside the Observatory it was already too late to get in the pit for the other act. The press people were rushing from one stage to another to be able to take pictures, and I tell you, it’s a good thing I have run a few marathons because festivals like this one are a real endurance test. Nevertheless, I managed to see 18 bands, but when I say see, it was rarely a full set each time, you can’t really do that during a festival this dense, it was like a huge Las Vegas buffet where you can’t decide for a meal: there is so much to eat that you want to try a bit of everything and you end up with an overflowing plate and a distended belly of this overeating. Today, my head (not my stomach because I had no time to eat) feels like this, and there’s no way I could write a proper review for each of these bands, but here are a few impressions of this excessive smorgasbord.

I started with Mystic Braves’ good vibes on the outdoor stage, very early in the afternoon,… this band brings sweetness and melancholia and even ventures in some crazy psychedelia without the four members losing any of their calmness. Whatever they do, they fall down back on their feet forming a perfect circle. Bronco, inside the Observatory, had a much more violent and aggressive style with a gritty-voiced singer, but their heavy side was making the kids very happy… they were making sweaty-biting-the-dust music and I am not sure why I almost thought about Billy Idol.

The Coathangers were the real deal, some all-screaming punk females, spiting their rage with ardor, playing the very bad girls like harpies with a bad temper. They were good and raucous, and brought distortion so early in the day, plus one of them came back on stage much later, with Weezer for a duo with Rivers!

I had seen Together PANGEA a few times before, and I regard them as the little brothers of FIDLAR, because I saw playing them together a few times. Each time they install the same chaos with the kids surfing their hearts out. It’s punk with a sweet poppy-60’s vibe and screams-at-unison. They also had brought so many people on stage at the end of the set that it was adding to the confusion. Inside, Cosmonauts were riding a much darker surf wave, turning the inside of the Observatory into a reverb-fuzz echo-chamber. Back outside, Beached was producing surf-punk-girl-harmonies like a missing link between Best Coast and a Grrrl Riot band. The bands were in such a close succession that I couldn’t even rest for a minute. Frontgirl Jennifer Clavin liberated herself from her guitar to give bolder and somewhat different numbers and I was just wondering first of all, how uncomfortable her green latex mini skirt could have been (it was a hot day) and secondly, what Goldenvoice’s Gary Tovar thought, as he was watching them backstage.

Mississippi Bass Drum of Death had an arena-rock music with a few arm-almost-whirl and an expansive sound, John Barrett, with his Jim Morrison-angel face, was doing some real damage on stage. Just like Jeff the Brotherhood inside the observatory, a stoner-rock-head-banging kind of band with loud psychedelic guitars. I spotted Gary Tovar watching the band again (he is everywhere) and their style, which can only make sense in the dark, could turn very sludgy, blasting into full rock mode with a Black Sabbath vibe.

Tijuana Panthers had their usual crispy-surfy sound with an anxious and sunny mode, while holding their guitars like a gun machine. These guys always looked stylish and elegant. Inside, Tomorrows Tulips, another surf guitar band, looked like real surfer (the frontman is a pro) and with their Californian sun-bleached blond hair, they played a Velvet-y beach-stoner set with fuzz and distortion.

Outside, the crowd showed its big big love for Cherry Glazerr and their bipolar sweet-grungy songs. These guys can definitively punk rock despite their baby-looks.Back inside, UK band Palma Violets was playing their songs with a wild energy and a lot of sing-a-long-potential. I didn’t know them and I really liked what I heard, their thunderous sound had some Bruce-epic-energy, and an uplifting bombastic vibe a la Titus Andronicus… certainly a band to follow.

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