Mosswood Meltdown (fka Burger Boogaloo) made its way back to Mosswood Park in Oakland for its first holiday weekend extravaganza since COVID sent live music off the rails. In spite of a number of lineup changes since the festival was originally planned for 2020, Bikini Kill never wavered and closed out day two in fine form.
The Mosswood Meltdown organizers have a certain knack for finding awesome bands that you’ve never heard of, and this year was no exception. Snoopers kicked off the first day on the amphitheater stage and was followed by Twompsax’s rapid-fire ripper fronted by trans activist and skateboarder Cher Strauberry. Toning down the garage band aesthetic of previous years, this year’s lineup focused on inclusivity which, while likely a reaction to the fest’s previous association with Burger Records, was almost prescient in nature given the recent developments at the Supreme Court. There literally could not have been a better time for this event to happen.
The legendary John Waters also made his return visit to Mosswood Park, introducing all the bands with typical John Waters snark and flare. You can tell Waters spent significant time preparing and could be seen enjoying most of the bands from the side of the stage. Almost as entertaining as Water’s intros were the bands’ reactions as they were being introduced.
Of course no Mosswood Meltdown would be complete without a healthy dose of local flavor and this year was no exception. Not only did we get the legendary Flipper with new vocalist Fletcher Sears of The Garden, Shannon Shaw wowed the from the mainstage before Kim Gordon turned up the heat as the temperature dropped.
Day two seemed to kick off with a little more energy than day one, and those who arrived early were treated to Bikini Kill’s soundcheck while they waited outside for the doors to open. While attendees were already in the habit of bouncing between the two stages, there were a bunch of kids (and parents) who settled in early at the mainstage rail with books and games, intent on catching Bikini Kill and The Linda Lindas up close and personal. Lucky for them, that meant that they didn’t miss Podium… one of those “out of the blue” bands that made a lasting impression not only for their fiery lyrics delivered all in Spanish, but also for the vocalist’s willingness to hop in the crowd and get involved.
Alas there was plenty to see on the amphitheater stage that the BK and TLL fans ended up missing. Oaklanders The Vaxxines kicked things off by inoculating the crowd with syringes of green goop. Fatty Cakes & the Puff Pastries from Fresno were a pleasant surprise and hot damn if local queercore legends Pansy Division didn’t once again knock it out of the park before Hunx and His Punx closed things out in the amphitheater with Shannon Shaw joining in on vocals and bass.
Those who parked themselves at the mainstage all day could not have been disappointed with their decision, however. The Linda Lindas absolutely lived up to all the buzz, demonstrating raw talent and a positive attitude even as broken strings and missed cues failed to distract them. Speaking of the Linda Lindas, it’s hard to imagine that anyone had more fun that weekend than these young ladies who eagerly availed themselves of all the bands (understandably being big fans of Bleached) and were frequently spotted taking pictures with fans.
Bikini Kill closed out the night with a literal rager of a set and an appropriately pissed off Kathleen Hanna commanding the eager crowd as if stepping right out of the band’s 90’s heyday. And taking a look at the kids packed up front, it was clear that they were there for exactly that reason… pissed off and ready for change. Sure “Rebel Girl” was a perfect set closer, but most of the audience didn’t require encouragement.
The Linda Lindas
Fatty Cakes & the Puff Pastries