Photos and Review By: Francesca Tirpak
All around the world this past weekend, Burger Revolution was going strong. From South America to the US to Australia to Europe, intimate gigs lined the globe with the record label’s motto of all-out, casual fun being the theme of every single one. Though I only stayed for pictures of a few bands, the overall experience was unlike any other. Glancing at the lineup, one wouldn’t have been shocked by the daunting prospective time it advertised (3 pm to 9 pm), as it included some bands I personally recognized (GROMS, Sandy Cheeks, Big Bad Buffalo, and Shady Francos – pictured below), as well as some bands I was anxious to hear for the first time (Alma, No Know, Digital Lizards of Doom, True Stories, and Javier Escovedo).
Come the afternoon of the show, I arrived forty five minutes fashionably late to find that the first band thankfully hadn’t even started yet. GROMS took the stage in front of the relatively mild first comers’ crowd but soon had the measly numbers singing along and dancing to their catchy surf punk tunes like “I Hate the Beach.”
As soon as GROMS had finished their set, a small band in the back, which I came to know as Alma, strummed their first cord. It seemed as though the bands would be switching off locations from the “party room” back by the bathrooms – little more than a small alcove, but fun nonetheless – to the main stage in the front. Alma, a three-piece punk band with a chill vibe backed by psychedelic vocals, transfixed the crowd that migrated back from the previous set under pulsating green-blue lights.
Up next, out on the main stage, Sandy Cheeks were getting ready for their bit. Surprisingly, on the middle mic stand was a red receiver from what looked like a payphone with the amp stuck into one end, tape covering the connection to seemingly keep it in place. When the frontman stepped up to speak, though, he explained that he had finally, after a year of waiting, gotten his phone mic. The sound that emanated from the speakers – gritty, raw, and much like that of an old-fashioned voicemail—was exciting and translated well into their overall sound.
As soon as Sandy Cheeks said goodbye, a drum with the diameter of at least three feet was dropped into the clearing floor in front of the stage. The crowd backed off as a fiddle, an accordion, and metal chains were brought out. The sound band No Know had an eclectic and experimental yet organized sound to them, with the Aboriginal roots of entrancing wails backed with sporadic percussion. The deep bass and intense emotion in the songs were definitely not for the faint-hearted, but impressive all the same.
Stepping up onto the stage after them was True Stories, a truly seasoned band of men who warmed up the crowd as soon as they started playing. Their music was definitely danceable, with upbeat rhythms and timeless tunes.
In a wave, as soon as True Stories said goodbye, the audience in front of the main stage surged toward the party room as Big Bad Buffalo started their first part. It was moving toward seven o’clock by then and the crowd was swelling past capacity in the intensively intimate alcove. The crowd writhed and screamed back to Big Bad Buffalo’s nineties-vibe punk, and welcomed bassist Silvio as he dove into the crowd instrument-first. The band was so enjoyed by the audience, they begged for another song, regardless of already being over time.
Down the hallway, an interesting scene was already beginning to take place. One man band Digital Lizards of Doom, made up of Gabriel Valentin, two dressed up stand-ins (one as a robot with a cape and one as a lizard with a space suit), and a laptop on a table beside him, was beginning a show that could only be described as interesting. While Valentin performed, the music pulling from both blues and dance origins, the people in costumes chose various crowd members –tentatively hovering around the edges — to pull into the middle to dance.
Shady Francos was set up in the party room, with a crowd surrounding them overflowing into the hallways even more than for Big Bad Buffalo’s set. The self-described “manic, 3-piece band” was appropriate for the experience that night as the crowd surged, hair and spit flying as they sang along to the garage rock band or simply screamed in joy. The intimacy of the room could not have taken away from the set if it was sentient enough to try to. Instead, it added to the dancing and the in-between song crowd’s screaming of “five more!”