Words & Photos by Alan Snodgrass
Now it its tenth year, Burger Records returned to Oakland’s Mosswood Park for a weekend of sun, day drinking and music but not without a few changes from previous years. After last year’s flap over organizers having to relocate the homeless residents out of the park, they chose to build the festival around them (the official festival map referring to them as “Mosswood Residents”) which resulted in not only a smaller space, but also the elimination of one the amphitheater stage. In an unconventional move, the Festival also elected to have the same headliner (The Jesus and Mary Chain) for both nights of the fest.
Like any fest, Burger Boogaloo is sure to have its hits and misses but this year’s fest seems to have bordered on predictability … the reemergence of pulled-from-the-annals-of-garage-rock bands mingled with Boogaloo veterans like NOBUNNY and Shannon and the Clams, topped off with a name brand headliner, all MC’d by the legendary John Waters. While not always successful (Timmy’s Organism’s Sunday opener was a train wreck of epic proportions and Davila 666 should have practiced at least once in the last 8 years before taking the stage again) but that’s not to say the weekend went off without its highlights.
- Amyl and the Sniffers: Hailing from Melbourne, this mullet-mopped foursome woke up the Saturday crowd with an early set that got folks dancing before they barely had a chance to get their day drink on. Vocalist Amy Taylor strutted her stuff and commanded attention is the band careened through their 30 minute set that no one was going to be quick to forget. Do you wonder why the mullet is back in style? Well the Sniffers is the reason why.
- The Dwarves: The Dwarves were supposed to play last year’s festival but reportedly dropped out over dispute over their early timeslot to be replaced by NOBUNNY (see prior comment about predictability). Well 2019 brought these local favorites back with something to prove and they did not disappoint.
- The Dead Boys: Before the rush from the Dwarves set had a chance to wear off, The Dead Boys came out and delivered a scorcher. Anchored by original member Cheetah Chrome, the band has gone through some major line-up changes since their Memorial Day Punk Rock Bowling set which resulted in a fiercer band with something to prove and that they did. They get bonus points for bringing out the legendary James Williamson from the Stooges to cover “Gimme Danger” with them.
- The Chats: The bar was incredibly low for whatever band took the second slot on Sunday after Timmy’s Organism disaster of an opener. In fact, while things were falling apart on stage, a few feet away Josh Price and Eamon Sandwith of the next band were happily taking pictures with a line of enthusiastic fans. That’d be The Chats (also hailing from Australia) who were also the likely reason that the festival had already filled up nicely in spite of the early hour. Probably best known for their viral hit “Smoko,” these chaps very quickly proved that they are way more than that one song. Hilarious and tight as hell, their ‘smoking’ set summarily riled up the crowd who egged them on for a rare Boogaloo encore. Sunday peaked right then and there.
While always a good time, Burger Boogaloo had a hard time following-up on last year’s epic line-up which included headliners DEVO and The Damned (and the previous year’s headliner was Iggy Pop, btw). While a little smaller and a bit more chill, it was still a great way to spend a sunny weekend in the Bay
Terrie & Louie