The Garden was another eccentricity inside the Burger never-ending family. These two were identical twin brothers with some very feminine bone structure – they have even doing some modeling for Yves Saint Laurent! Showing up with a shaved head and a chick haircut, a drum and a bass, they were cultivating androgyny and mixing it with the most bizarre dark, aggressive punk-goth music, packed into super short songs. I am not sure I could make sense of any of this, but should I? ‘Did you see an apple walking around’ asked one brother – the one who looked like a girl with a constant disgust in the corner of his mouth – before starting one of their ridiculously short songs, which were sometimes going punk scary. Surrealist? Repetitive joke? Both? I have no idea, but they looked pissed off most of the time and the scene was so weird, so unexpected and so comical that everybody was loving them. How long can they go like this? That was my question…
The 60s again were coming back in full force inside the Observatory with the Allah-Las. It is funny how this same strong retro vibe was emanating from so many bands’ music, but these guys, whom I have seen a few times before, have found the right balance between catchy harmonies and psychedelia. Their sound is authentic vintage, animated by a tempo which makes your head gently shift from right to left. There’s no head banging involved there, just a great sense of melodies, more-than-usual-crafted vocals harmonies, and a rhythm which doesn’t go overboard. Plus they had instrumentals. Who still does instrumentals? It was so old fashioned and so good.
Outside, Together Pangea was following the Garden duo and they could not believe the crowd, ‘This is the biggest show we have ever played!’ said singer William Keegan. For me, they are kind of Fidlar’s little/big brothers, and they unleashed a similar drunken spirit energy which soon went to the roof with a bit of malice in the corner of their eyes. Having fun is the rule, and their brand of garage rock is raw with growing melodies behind all this punk energy. They are the kinds of guys that could improvise a cover of an old country classic on the spot, bringing nuances and dynamism. I suppose that, when they called themselves Pangea they were talking about the continental drift? I am not sure but it was fun. Just after Pangea, or rather just before they were done, I tried to see a bit of Sleep before Mac DeMarco, but wasn’t very successful. There was a huge crowd inside the Observatory, and I was suffocating, stuck between a huge security guard and a herd of photographers packed like rats in the small pit. But Sleep was late! And I was looking at the time, almost 6:15 and I really wanted to see Demarco, a young guy whom I had heard a lot about. Shit, what should I do? After waiting already too long, I took two pictures when they were still tuning their guitars and went for a bath, a real crowd bath, splitting the dense crowd of sweaty people. I heard the first stoner-doom riffs of Sleep, too bad, but it’s no fun when good bands play at the same time.
I remember seeing a bit of Mac Demarco’s set at the FYF fest, and he had struck me as an original guy who knew how to excite a 1-pm-crowd even at 90ºF. Now that he was announced as the headline at the Fonda in July, I was even more intrigued. Good for me he was late too, I arrived just on time and a crazy drunk girl told me she was there ‘for the experience’, and she could not shut up about her love for Mac Demarco while stepping on my feet. I must admit, I kind of like the guy, he sounded cool, chain smoking during the tuning and playing really diverse songs,.. hey the guy had some sensual tunes and I was becoming to see what drunk girl meant. What was this? It wasn’t rock, or punk, rather pop with an Ariel Pink twist? Bouncy, joyous, party-like, druggy, dreamy, even funky? May be that’s why his upcoming album is called (mixed) ‘Salad Days’. He certainly had some smooth jams animated by his high-pitched guitar which was giving a sweet Island-ish sound. Someone on the crowd was holding a ‘Cum on my lips’ sign and a guy next to me wanted to be sure I would take a picture of it, damn of Demarco’s sex-obsessed fans! Anyway there were lots of hooks and it was becoming quite tropical-exotic, while the crowd was singing its heart out during the choruses. Still I couldn’t totally figure out Demarco, joker or romantic? sincerity or irony? He had these sort of Beatles-esque tunes (‘Passing out the Pieces’), these floating synth pop reveries (‘Chamber of reflection’), and these little heartfelt treasures (‘Let My Baby Stay’) which sounded like a Hawaiian serenade slowly ascending over a blue warm ocean of tenderness. He calls his style ‘jizz jazz’, whatever this means, and sure his ‘Still Together’ finale was a bit ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ – I bet everyone thinks about that one. But he had style, an excellent stage diving style, as he plunged on the crowd after one of his ‘togetheeeeeeeer’ shrieks at the immense joy of the audience.
Fidlar closed Burgerama in a triumphal end-of-the-day party. How many times do I have seen them already? Honestly, I don’t count anymore, and each show is an adventure, but this time it was the big one for them: they were headlining Burgerama and the crowd was so large! They had prepared some totally homemade Christmas-y stage decoration, six boxes covered with aluminum foil and enclosing each letter of their acronym with a light bulb,… niiiiiiice!! Plus some people wearing giant box-masks were providing some side-stage entertainment,… someone had done some serious craft during the weekend! After the 3-song-allowed in the pit, I was once again condemned to back up on the side, but this time, for some obscure reasons, they let me climb on stage, and I stayed there with a bunch of people, just behind the band, totally overwhelmed by the formidable energy. Talking about Christmas, that was such a treat, looking at the ultra-rowdy crowd and enjoying the view, side by side with drummer Max Kuehn… and what a view! ‘It’s a big crowd for us’, said modestly frontman Zac Carper,… get used to it, I wanted to tell him because there’s no reason it’s gonna cease soon. The energy went to the roof if there has been a roof, and I was observing the growing chaos they had installed at the first riff. Every time I see Fidlar, they seem to give everything they have, using a panoply of riotous guitar-and-bass playing, stage diving (of course) and some real knee/nose bleeding, because there’s certainly no fake blood with Fidlar! On stage, I could see everything, their guitar pedals glued on a skateboard, their smiling and smoking exchanges between the songs, and the real complicity between them. They trashed the place with a reckless abandon and gave us a real punk show with the help of their infectious surf punk anthems – yeah I believe they have written a few of them: ‘White on White’, ‘No Waves’ ‘Oh’, ‘West Coast’, ‘Wait for the Man’,’ I wanna be your cocaine’, ‘Cheap Beer’, ‘Wake Bake Skate’,… just to name a few, they are all great and liberating. Of course some people may say we have seen that before, they are not reinventing the punk show, but fuck it!
After one more ‘I drink. Cheap Beer. So what. Fuck You!’, that everyone was shouting back to them, Zac took the ‘fuck it dog, life’s a risk’ acronym very seriously, and disappeared inside the crowd, but astonishingly came back alive despite the mayhem,… I heard him say ‘I’m completely broken’ to someone after the song,… what was he expecting when he jumped in the middle of a crowd of hungry-for-chaos kids? People didn’t want to let them go so easily, so they came back for an encore and played an unrestrained ‘Wake Bake Skate’. I have little in common with Fidlar, I am much older, don’t drink to oblivion, don’t take drugs and have never been to rehab, but they are the opposite of people I rub elbows with everyday, self-important people in suits who think they have a career. I hate those people, and I love Fidlar,… actually I have much more in common with Fidlar than the appearances suggest, I never cared for a career, and I share their carefree close-to-nihilistic view of the world,… but above everything, I want to have fun till it lasts.
White on White
Stoked and Broke
Max Can’t Surf
Black Out Stout
I just wanna Die
Wait for the man
I wanna be your cocaine
Wake Bake Skate
For more pictures of the festival, go there.
A fast rock & roll song performed with a retro punk vibe
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – April 1983 (Volume 14, Number 11)
the final issue edited by Susan Whitall
hard rock meets classic rock meets Americana
Chuck D is at the Grammy Museum
On The Red Carpet For The Screening Of “The Beast Inside” At The Angelica Cinema, Sunday, January 29th, 2023: pictures by Billy Hess
a powerhouse performance by Sadie Katz and SohoJohnny as you never thought you’d see him
that SNL gig was excellent
Miley rises to top of the celebrity food chain
captivating, hooklined, country pop songs
it’s a bit different because it’s smaller