From the Chats to the Clams, to Mr. Waters and a giant, diving panda, this year’s Burger Boogaloo was a solid, fun-filled weekend. It certainly had its moments, and some of the best ones weren’t what we were expecting. Much like the wee-your-pants blooper reel at the end of, say, a good Will Ferrell flick, at this year’s Burger Boogaloo, some of our favorite parts were some of the most surprising ones. Overall, there were loads of killer acts, pure moments, solid vendors, and a vibe that made me proud to call Oakland home.
The first thing I noticed was the energy at the festival. It’s not a bro-ed out boner fest. For the most part, people were kind to each other; happy to be there. If you bumped into someone, they gave you a, “You’re good!” People shared sunscreen with strangers. I saw a guy catch a random dork that tripped in the divots of Mosswood Park’s grass. Aside from the occasional douchey gatekeeper — we get it, no beer outside the fence! — Burger Boogaloo is all about solid rock and punk, and being solid humans. In fact, this year’s festival connected with the Homelessness Action Center to raise funds and awareness to help end homelessness in the East Bay. It’s an amazing organization that brings humanity and respect to the important work they’re doing with the homeless populations all over Oakland and Berkeley. Bunch of punk-rock human beings.
Outside of the music, there were some pretty great vendors. Our friends at The Hard Times were there to remind us that punk satire is fucking important. One of our favorite labels, Burger Records, was, of course, up from Fullerton and representing hard. A local favorite, Rock Roll Repeat was selling some of their awesome apparel. As they put it, “…you need another black shirt, but not another Blag Flag parody.” So those were some tops for us (pun intended).
There were only a couple bottoms. Like when the cider streams stopped flowing Sunday afternoon. When the coffee was a silly, silly joke at $10 per awful cup. But like we said, some bloopers are the best. Like when Sheer Mag’s drummer blasted that snare so hard it snapped, and Tina Halladay had to spend the first moments of their set cracking jokes about borrowing Jesus and Mary Chain’s drum kit. Then there was the part where the Dwarves’ Blag Dahlia waited until the end of their set to do a massive stage dive and audience members had to carefully move his aging body across the sea of sweaty hands to the quiet tune of echoing feedback. It paired nicely with the quivering ass of He Who Must Not Be Named. But hey, haters gonna hate. They’re still kickin’ it pretty hard and that’s punk rock, right?
The locally grown and now world-loved legend, Shannon and the Clams, had a pretty awful mic sitch for the first couple songs (sorry, Shannon!) but of course they saved it with dancing ghosts and good energy. If you looked slightly hard you could see Shannon’s brother Patty bashing around in a caveman getup. Love that guy!
We also loved the part where John Waters joked about people that are too gay. One favorite was: “I was born cesarean and haven’t seen or touched a vagina since. Now that’s too gay.” Goodness me, we love you! And Burger Boogaloo, we love you too. Until next year, we’ll leave you with this joke by festival organizer Mark Ribak’s dad and longtime punk rock supporter: “What did one ass cheek say to the other? Together, we’ll stop this shit.” Stay tuned for next year’s lineup and in the meantime, support your local punks.