Thunderroads, The Gories, Shannon and the Clams, The Mummies, John Waters
July 4, 2015
Mosswood Park
Oakland, CA

Burger Boogaloo 2015 (Episode 1)

By Sean Sanford


            I must admit we were a bit apprehensive about going to Burger Boogaloo this year. We went last year and it was a breeze, the wonderment of a festival of music without the overwhelming shittiness of shoulder-to-shoulder drunkards with little concept of personal space. It was mellow with good music and well-behaved patrons. This year however, John Waters was hosting, and this promised to bring out a whole slew of mustachioed enthusiasts. Despite our distaste of large crowds, Candice and I got tickets for both days as the line-up proved worthy.


We picked up our friends Michael and Chloe and headed across the bridge, where the sun shines and backyards and parking spaces are abundant, Oakland. Upon arrival we noticed that our hypothesis seemed spot on: within from afar all one could see were shoulders. Each upon the next and it did not look very relaxing. We stood in line and made our entrance and were relieved to see that such conditions were delegated to what we’d come refer as Beer Jail. You see, at Burger Boogaloo they only let you drink inside a chain-link encampment. And so these zones are obviously well endowed with people, some of whom I suspect never broke out of Beer Jail. I noticed right away though that security was chillin to say the least, and it wasn’t exactly Papillon trying to break a PBR out of its imprisonment. So we got started.

We met up with some of our music-loving friends and commenced to make a day of it. We even made a little blanketed station in Beer Jail where we could hear relatively well the music from the smaller stage, Psychoville. It wasn’t long before I decided to take a walk, get some food and check out the band that was currently letting loose on said stage.


They were called Thunderroads and I was immediately drawn in by the echo of their demeanor. They had that rocking reverb surfy steeze going on and I heared the feint air of an accent in the vocals. Upon arrival I noticed that they were indeed of Japanese persuasion. They rocked it out, my friend. They even did a phenomenal karaoke-esque rendition of Cum On Feel the Noize. They reminded me of Teengenerate mixed with a splash of The Stooges. I was officially stoked as I made way for the food court.

Next on the agenda was one of the bands that Candice had really been looking forward to, The Gories. Candice has been a follower of Mick Collins’s music for a long time and she had a chance to see The Gories back in 2009 in San Francisco, but had feared that that would be her last chance. They were the chief reason she had wanted to come to Burger Boogaloo in the first place, and so she was understandably perturbed at the fact that from the one vantage point allowed, we couldn’t see shit. It was just really crowded. She began lamenting that all the fucks who were blocking our view weren’t even dancing! I told her that I would stay behind and that she should venture forth alone, which would make it easier to navigate through the forest of stoic enthusiasts. She decided to give it a try. I sat on our blanket with the crew and enjoyed some refreshments while listening to the rambunctious jams of The Gories from the hill.


After their set, Candice returned, smiling and glowing with sweat. It was clear she had achieved her goal of not only being able to see the band, but to show all the boring motherfuckers around her how to have a rocking-ass time. Candice likes to dance. One of the many attributes that made me fall in love with her.

We continued our stints, acting like a slow-motion game of pinball, bounding from Beer Jail to the food court to one of the stages and back again. Everyone was just kind of doing their own thing, getting lost in the shuffle and knowing all the bases at which to find one or more of our crew. I found it quite enjoyable. I made way to the front of Psychoville when I noted that Shannon and the Clams were due to play. Our dear friend Julie joined me with a water bottle full of liberated beer as John Waters made a hilarious and loving introduction for the band.


I saw Shannon and the Clams at Thrasher’s Skater of the Year party last year. They were incredible and I bought their album, Dreams in the Rat House, which has since become a regular endowment in my ear-library. Their set was amazing and I was glad I got to the stage early, because by the time their first song was over I was bobbing in a sea of enthusiasts. People surfed said sea aplenty and there was one of those loving mosh pits of casual pain.


They played some of their new songs and they all sounded really great with that dreamy reverb and perfect vocal harmony between Shannon Shaw and Cody Blanchard. They have a new member on keyboard and vocals who brought another level to their sound. I checked back into Beer Jail on high.

But there was little time to reflect, as The Mummies were do to play on the other stage, Flesh Land. We went back to our other base, where we stared begrudgingly at the backs of non-dancing Doors-Not-Windows. We could hear John Waters introducing The Mummies; he alluded to them riding around the festival on motor-bikes to make their entrance. Just then we heard the guttural hum of two miniature motorcycles right behind us. We turned and there they were, Two of The Mummies riding these little things around the path, wrapped in their mummy garb and ready to rock. It was all a blur and I hadn’t the chance to breath it all in before they were gone, suddenly on the stage, out of sight, and rocking the crowd’s asses off. I’d been really excited to see The Mummies and it was awesome being able to (slightly) hear from up on the hill, but I had sentiments similar to Candice’s when she felt she was missing out on The Gories.


The only difference was, at that point we were all drunk and worn out from a long day of celebrating. We also wanted to contain some energy for tomorrow when we’d return for more Beer Jail libations! (Sorry I keep talking about Beer Jail, I just think it’s hilarious.)


And so, we enjoyed the sounds of The Mummies as we made our exit, through the descending dusk of Oakland and back to San Francisco where we’d re-charge our batteries…by going to Bender’s to see one of our favorite local bands Asada Messiah!

To Be Continued…


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