A taste of punk rock at Burger Boogaloo

Burger-Boogaloo
Tyler Allen/Staff

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Where else could you go on a Fourth of July weekend to see a punk singer burn the American flag and the Black Lips play in front of a giant inflatable vagina on a stage labeled “Flesh Land”? If Outside Lands feels a little gourmet and Coachella a little too Instagrammed, Burger Records’ annual Bay Area festival might be just the ticket. A two-day festival, Burger Boogaloo featured 26 rock and punk bands; plenty of tattoos; and lots of good, loud noise.

The Gories took to the Flesh Land stage Saturday, gathering the biggest cheers and crowds yet, including a fan right at the front, headbanging with his skateboard against the stage — a skateboard he then proceeded to crowd surf with, attempting what can be described only as an upside-down ollie, held up by the brave crowd beneath him.

The Pandoras brought the crowd into early evening — with crashing drums, dramatic organ and shredding guitar — before Oakland’s Shannon and the Clams made its way onto the Psychoville stage. Shannon Shaw’s throaty vocals and the sweetness of the ballads were an apt pairing, well received by an enthusiastic crowd.

By Saturday’s end, the Mummies had finally been resurrected. After two surprise laps on motorbikes around the Flesh Land stage’s crowd, the band members took the stage dressed fully in toilet-paper costumes, trailing bits of themselves as they stomped and sang their way around the stage.

When walking through the festival gates Sunday, Australian band Gooch Palms delivered what might be the best punk to come out of the world’s biggest island in a long time. Further inspection found guitarist Leroy Macqueen and drummer Kat Friend dressed in matching black Converse and his-and-hers outfits: red feathers, a T-shirt and black shorts for her, and underwear and a sports bra for him.

There’s no better way to spend a holiday weekend than listening to Sneaky Pinks’ singer Nobunny yell lyrics such as, “Kill! Kill! Die! Die!” and “I love Satan! I love Satan!” on the Flesh Land stage. After the band’s drummer mooned the crowd, Nobunny burned the entire American flag onstage as a final act.

“Now that’s punk rock,” said a man in the crowd leaving after the set.

On the same stage, Jonathan Richman performed one of the most mellow sets yet to a standing ovation before King Khan & BBQ Show arrived in all its costumed glory, adding some visual drama to the rock festival with the band members’ matching black leather masks and King Khan’s gold cape.

Back at the Psychoville stage, Ty Segall’s band, Fuzz, brought a raw, textured breath of fresh air to the festival with its long jams and powerful guitar. With Segall’s drumming and Charlie Moothart’s haunting guitar, it’s no wonder the stage creaked and shook with the enthusiasm of fans, making Fuzz’s set by far the dustiest and rowdiest of the Psychoville stage performers.

Introduced by festival host John Waters as being on “the same dirty page of show business” as he is, Black Lips on the Flesh Land stage didn’t disappoint, with dozens of rolls of toilet paper making for a tongue-in-cheek visual as the band and crowd threw them back and forth.

A 17-song run-through of the band’s discography followed, including “O Katrina!” echoing raucously around the concrete amphitheatre and “Smiling” — a reflection on an arrest, equal parts self-aware and defiant. And then “Bad Kids” — as raw, rebellious, satirical, life affirming and “fuck you” as it’s ever been.

But even a band whose image is built on resisting authority isn’t immune to it.

“There’s not going to be any more songs,” explained head organizer Marc Ribak at 9:30 p.m. sharp. “(Oakland Police Department) just pulled the plug.”

Music turned into chatter as the crowd swirled out of the park’s gates.

“God!” exclaimed a festival goer. “I fucking love this city!”

Contact Tyler Allen at [email protected].