KWVA Goes to Burgerama

*burgerama sign

Burgerama is very intriguing. Spawned by the most explosive record label in the last few years, it creates an atmosphere of busy confusion, body heat and loud music. It’s very crowded, frequented mostly by teenagers. Burgerama is like taking every group of drunk high schoolers at various parks on a Friday night in July and putting them in a fenced in parking lot in 90 degree weather, with access only to shitty burgers and $3 water bottles.

But against all odds, it works.

Even more importantly, upon closer inspection, this is a diverse group of supportive young minds with an ear for current and up and coming art in their community. The whole operation works because the people who care about this music were there. It wasn’t as much about being wacky, dressing weird, and taking hallucinogens as other festivals are, it was for the music and also it was only 90 bucks.

The event is produced by Burger Records, a label formed in 2007 by Sean Bohrman and Lee Rickard. Burger Records is at the forefront of championing and preserving the heavy undercurrent of contemporary garage, punk, psychedelic, and all things rock-and-roll that flows beneath the murky mainstream. At Burgerama, the label’s epic two-day showcase of nearly 100 different musical acts, this scene thrives in an exciting and fresh form unseen for decades past. Hailing from as far as Melbourne and Madrid, to the more familiar San Francisco and Los Angeles, artists and fans alike congregated to celebrate the glory that is all things Burger.

Headliners like Weezer and Burger-Prophet Ty Segall commanded thousands of hyper-enthusiastic fans of all ages with mind-boggling power and ease. This is, however, not the most important aspect of this festival: hours before Weezer, the same fans had the chance to see and support acts on the opposite side of fame, consistently playing their largest shows yet.

(((See below for our rapid-fire reviews of all the shows we saw!)))

Twin Peaks (Chicago), a group of high-energy, slightly drunken Midwest rockers in their early 20s had the greatest time of their life in front of hundreds of eager fans. Twin Peaks’ vintage yet unique garage punk sound fit the scene perfectly, and their wild and loose live performance brought a new light to their recorded sounds. The Burgerama format is unique and excellent in that it allows audiences a glimpse at what smaller-ticket acts might look like as headlining acts, as most bands throughout the weekend played to crowds significantly larger than their average shows.

*twin peaks 6

 

International acts like Hinds (Madrid), Twerps (Melbourne), Palma Violets (South London), and Girl Band (Dublin) had the opportunity to expose their music to a primarily American crowd, as well as participate in the festival themselves and get a bird’s eye view on the scene.

Burgerama was a garage rocker’s paradise, complete with wailing guitars, blasting drums and colorful personalities. You might expect this presentation if you’re familiar with Burger Records and the artists they represent, but the most exciting part is sampling the huge splendor of bands. One of the most interesting aspects of the festival was their decision to book hip-hop acts completely out of place in the lineup’s context: Bone Thugs’n’Harmony and the legendary Madlib (AKA Quasimoto) played to crowds completely different from what they were used to, yet received nothing but love and a surprising amount of genre-hopping fans rapping along and bobbing their heads. The effect of this combination of genres results like a bag of candy, one in which you dig through and follow your sweet tooth.

Saturday and Sunday presented different vibes. Santa Ana was hot and sunny, and the heat took a visible toll on some of the main stage performers. Saturday was pretty crowded once the afternoon shows got started and the rowdiness was in full effect. Sunday, on the other hand, was the secret ticket. The music was immensely heavy, with paralyzing performances by Thee Oh Sees, Witch (J Mascis on drums and King Tuff on lead guitar/vocals…), Ty Segall and the Meatbodies, among many others. Moreover, there were less attendees on Sunday, which made the crowd easier to navigate and the mosh easier to comprehend.

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The plethora of new bands also created a space for new audience members, many of which were young’ns. Burgerama surely introduced a ton of L.A. high schoolers to the festival scene, but was also attractive to demographics across the board. Bands with longtime fans like Weezer, Gang of Four, The Black Lips, The Queers, and J Mascis can be credited with bringing out the masses, while smaller groups like Broncho and Twerps added an element of freshness that comprises the core of Burgerama, leaving room for consistent discovery and an opportunity to support lesser known acts throughout both days.

On the surface, Burgerama is a sweaty, wild music festival still very much in its formative phase, booking similar yet excellent acts for four years straight; on a deeper level, the fest is an incubator for a musical scene reminiscent of an 80s punk, 60s psychedelia, 90s grunge fusion with a contemporary twist and thousands of die-hard fans keeping it alive and pushing it all along.

 

DAY ONE

La Luz: Four girls that make psych rock. Which is good. The keyboardist was the best.

Broncho: One of the tightest bands rhythmically at the fest. Lead by squeaky singing frontman, and carried by the drummer who looks like the drummer for the Gorillaz in their cartoon videos.

The Coathangers: Mexican hat trick artists, piercing vocalists.

Jeff the Brotherhood: Guardians of shred, garage rock on steroids.

Together Pangea: Proving to be a classic Burger band, TP made me want to actually go into the pit more than any other band (lasted for 20 seconds)

Tomorrows Tulips: Androgenous apathetic surfer-models-(twins?). Check out their “Baby & Glued to You” video.

Madlib: Beats and Joints

Gang of Four: UK post-punk, laying down rigid and cold grooves since 1977.

Beach Fossils: Jangly guitars, beautiful melodies. Relaxing vibes and fun to watch

Hinds: All-girl band from Madrid. Fantastic fun and phat.

Black Angels: Guardians of hell’s gates, the band’s name defines their sound perfectly. Austin psych wizards.

black angels

Weezer: Played the classic cuts; Weezer is like the Justice League of bands, four extremely talented performers with the stage presence of broadway legends. They had one chick from the Coathangers and Rivers’ (Weezer front-man) dad come up and sing/play drums. Both additions were cool, but slight bummers.

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Danny James Etc.: Best band I saw at Burgerama (-Ryder). Weirdest band I saw at Burgerama. Sounds like Queen and Supertramp spent some time in the swamps. IMG_0025

White Fang: Aggressively hilarious punk band that doesn’t shower, smokes alot of weed and is damn proud of it. If you ever have the chance to see a White Fang show…do it.

 

Day Two

The Garden: Orange County twins making heavy, fun art-punk with a twangy bass guitar and crazy drummer.

Mr. Elevator & the Brain Hotel: One of the funnest shows there, up-beat keyboard driven jams with happy moshing for all.

20150329_130059King Khan & BBQ Show: An asshole and his friend

Twerps: Delicious melodies from this Melbourne based outfit. They are lush, wonderful and ethereal. Check out their latest album, Range Anxiety, out on Merge Records to get a taste.

Thee Oh Sees: Amazing, one of the biggest mosh pits at the fest; John Dwyer’s intense stage presence mixed with two perfectly synchronized drummers and a radical bass guitarist came together as a force to be reckoned with.

Witch: Everything J. Mascis does is awesome; Mascis drums with King Tuff on lead guitar/vocals, with two additional guitarists making heavy stoner metal.

Ariel Pink: Annoying at first. But at least they’re consistent.

Twin Peaks: Looks like one of the funnest bands to play in. Four drunken, hyper-enthusiastic Chicago/New Jersey shredders with lots of really good songs and an exhilarating stage presence.

J Mascis (solo set): Mascis, of Dinosaur Jr., sat down with a guitar, a loop pedal, pages of musical notation, and a microphone. The rest was history.

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Tennis: Solid pop jingle that were pretty impressive live, they’re getting prolific and it is easy to see why.

The Black Lips: Playing a variety of tracks from their catalog. Road-test entertainers who threw burgers and toilet paper at the audience.

Nick Waterhouse: Solid. Different from every other band there and it was nice to see woodwinds make an appearance

Ty Segall: By now a Burgerama veteran and messiah of all things shred. Heavy punk music with lots of screaming and beautifully heavy guitar solos.

*ty segall

Jacco Gardner: Some real groovy classic psych rock, one of the strongest acts of the bunch.

The Lovely Bad Things: 9:45 of Day 2, was not taking any more loud music very well at that point.

The Queers: Punk legends! Great opportunity, very high energy set, fun to watch their OG fans drowning in nostalgia.

Meatbodies: Revived us for one last run-about. Glad to end the whole experience with some certifiably insane looking guitarists playing their hearts out.

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Plenty of the weekend’s performers have played in Eugene before and are touring through the northwest this spring. Bass Drum of Death and The Garden are two bands who have visited us in the recent past and we are looking forward to more in the future.

April 6 – Tomorrows Tulips @ The Barn Light, Eugene

May 27 – Twin Peaks @ Mississippi Studios, Portland

We love you,

KWVA Staff

King Toby’s Interview with Tessanne Chin

We’ve got something really cool for you today, listeners! Over Spring Break, KWVA DJ King Toby from Roots’n’Kulcha Radio had an interview with world renowned reggae artist and previous winner of The VoiceTessanne Chin. There’s a lot of good to be heard, so we recommend listening to the full interview below – but if you’re short on time, scroll down the page to read a bit of the interview.

March 24th, 2015

King Toby: Yo, blessed love family, that’s right, we are back, you are in tune to Roots’n’Kulcha Radio right here on KWVA – Eugene. We have a big, big, big time artist with us tonight, on the wire, as we continue our Women’s History Month coverage talking about some serious contributions from female artists female activists and female ones and ones across the planet – we are not going to let you down with this reasoning tonight. We first debuted her on the program in probably 2008/2009 with the big single entitled “Messenger” which later came out on the In Between Words album and we’ve seen her get national, international spotlight attention when she then went on to win season 5 of The Voice, you already know who I’m talking about now, the one called Tessanne Chin, welcome to the program sistren.

Tessanne Chin: Hi! Thank you so much!

KT: Let’s pull things up and start from the beginning a little bit. I know you come from a musical family. Of course we know your sister Tami [Chynn], but also your parents had a band called The Carnations, is that correct?

TC: They did, they absolutely did. That’s how my mom and dad met.

KT: Oh truly? In the band?

TC: Yes. So, I think it was inevitable that Tami and I caught the music bug, because apart from that band, you know, when they had their all their five children, they had a band again. So we were always at rehearsals and all the gigs and everything and it was just a wonderful way to grow up around music all the time.

KT: Truly, I can only imagine that that was a huge inspiration to get into the music as well, is that true?

TC: Oh, most definitely, I mean, when you are around that sort of energy and infection vibe all the time and you see how much fun they’re having and you also get to see that it’s a job and a business.

KT: Talk to us about that process of leaving being a background singer and becoming a solo artist.

TC: Well, you know, I am so grateful for my days as a backup singer becasue you know in this industry, it’s important to know every step of the business and view it from every possible point. For me, to be able to watch someone like Sir Jimmy Cliff perform every night. Give his 150% no matter what. No matter if he was feeling tired. Or, no matter if he lost his voice. He just amazed me every night. So for me, it just stirred up the fact that I wanted to do it on my own. You know, to want to be able to go out there and say, you know, I want to be able to do that. I want to be able to captivate an audience. I want to be able to move them in that way. So it really inspired me if anything to step out as a solo artist as well.

KT: Alright, so, you know, we already talked a little bit, or alluded to the Voice. We’ve got to talk about it a little bit more. People here in the United States watch the voice and they know about it and they thinking about artists as coming from nowhere – but it’s not very often that we see someone coming from outside of the United States and just sweeping the hearts and the attention of the audience internationally.

TC: Oh my gosh, to this day, I am still blown away… you know, so many people that come up to me and say, you know, “we voted.” I just love the outpouring of love that people showed toward me. It means a lot to me. It really does.

KT: So, how was that experience for you – The Voice in general?

TC: That was just like life changing. Apart from it being like boot camp, it really taught me the importance of always getting better. Always reaching further and always challenging yourself. I had a great coach and a great trainer who were able to help me to do that. And, I never want to stop learning, I never want to stop growing as an artist, I never want to stop experiencing growth and new things.

KT: Do you have a mission or a goal with your music?

TC: I believe that the great people like Bob Marley and like Aretha Franklin are people who had a message. And for me, my message is that I just want to say, stay in a positive mind and to stay powerful and to stay hopeful for the future. But also, I really do believe in being real with music as well and, you know, I look at people like Bob and Aretha that used music as a tool to get a bigger message out there to start a change. So, for me, it’s all about the message.

KT: Alright, do you have any final comments for the listeners?

TC: Just thank you so much. Thank you so much for having me on the show and for the constant support since day one. I really appreciate it. Whole heap of love.


If you didn’t already know, King Toby does interviews with famous artists all the time on our station. Isn’t that cool? If you’d like to hear more, you can tune in Thursdays from 8-10 pm, or, check out the following links to some of his past interviews:

Soundcloud – Inification Movement

Facebook – Inification Movement