Burger Boogaloo

This Week’s Picks: August 27 – September 2, 2014


sloppy yet endearing



Mount Kimbie

Around the time dubstep started making its rounds with American artists and audiences in the late ’00s, a host of Londoners were developing the style into something more experimental. Among the earliest practitioners of this “post-dubstep” style was Mount Kimbie, which dropped its debut, Crooks & Lovers, in 2010 and unwittingly became one of the genre’s most influential practitioners. Though the duo may not skew as pop as its contemporary James Blake, Mount Kimbie has maintained a loyal following among electronic music fans, and it’s esteemed enough to have released its second album, Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, on the prestigious Warp label. Featuring guest vocals from London pop prodigy King Krule, Cold Spring only bolstered the duo’s reputation after its stripped-down sound had already made a mark on the mainstream. (Daniel Bromfield)

9pm, $20

The Chapel

777 Valencia, SF

(415) 286-2334




El Terrible

Not too many people have seen El Terrible yet. The band announced its arrival quietly at the start of the year with the release of its eponymous debut EP, a murky four-track affair that evokes the guttural vocals of Joy Division and the intricate guitar sounds of My Bloody Valentine. While it may be a new band, the members of El Terrible are all journeymen of the SF music scene. Main writer and singer Terry Ashkinos was formerly the frontman of SXSW veteran Fake Your Own Death, while his live band, made up of locals Scott Eberhardt and Adrian McCullough, has also been on the scene for many years. Get ready to celebrate, as the group will be performing and dropping its new single at this show. Also playing are Rich Girls, the solo project from The Black’s singer Luisa Black, and Katelyn Sullivan’s acoustic Kitten Grenade, which has been performing all over the city and making quite a splash over the last few months. (David Kurlander)

8pm, $5

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782




Midnites for Maniacs: Popeye and The Wiz

This might appear to be an unlikely double bill of musicals, until you take a look at its stars: Robert Altman’s mile-a-minute 1980 musical Popeye has the recently departed, greatly loved Robin Williams doing his manic thing in the title role, with Shelly Duvall at his side as Olive Oyl, in a performance that makes it hard to imagine any other (live-action) human taking the part on. The Wiz (1978) features another seemingly divinely-inspired talent gone before his time — a 20-year-old Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow to Diana Ross’ Harlem-dwelling Dorothy. Bonus: Richard Pryor as the Wiz. This could count as tearjerker programming, if each of these films wasn’t so likely to make you grin instead. (Emma Silvers)

7:20pm, $12

Castro Theatre

429 Castro, SF

(415) 621-6350





Mission of Burma

It’s been 33 years since Boston’s Mission of Burma unleashed its initial volley of sound, an EP and an album, Vs., followed by more than 20 years of silence. While the band unleashed 70 minutes of recorded material before an unfortunate breakup spurred by singer and guitarist Roger Miller’s worsening tinnitus, the group grew in stature for the next two decades. After an unexpected reunion in 2004, Mission of Burma has released four additional critically-acclaimed albums. The most recent, 2012’s Unsound, is full of impossibly fast tempos, odd tape-loops, and complex rhythms — generally the band’s modus operandi, but even more amped up than ever before. Truly ageless and anything but a nostalgia act, the band hasn’t visited the West Coast in upwards of four years. This set should include both stuff from the ’80s as well as newer albums, along with (if we’re lucky) a couple of delightfully dissonant Beatles covers the band’s been known to play on special occasions. (Kurlander)

7pm, $20


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421







If you listened to the radio at any point during 2010, you’ve probably heard Dev’s uncanny-valley croon on Far East Movement’s reference-heavy single “Like A G6.” But she’s since surpassed the shadow of that song, releasing the equally prom-wrecking single “In The Dark.” With her processed vocals and lewd lyrics, Dev is often compared to Ke$ha and her Parisian foil Uffie. However, Dev differentiates herself from those artists with a subdued, detached vocal style and a love of space-age, almost loungey production. Though she may or may not score another pop hit, she’s certainly not going anywhere — she released an excellent and surprisingly experimental EP with producer Nanosaur last month, and she’s currently prepping another EP, Bittersweet July, scheduled to drop Sept. 23. (Bromfield)

9pm, $18

The Mezzanine

444 Jessie, SF

(415) 625-8880






San Francisco Zine Fest

Put down your iPhone, tablet, or other glowing device and stop thinking about zines in the past tense. DIY culture is thriving, and the San Francisco Zine Fest — which returns to Golden Gate Park this year — spotlights indie artists and writers, small presses, and the readers who love them. This year, there’ll be panels on “Race, Gender, and the Future of Zines” and “Creating Feminist Spaces in DIY Culture;” an “Intro to Silkscreen” workshop; and a rather impressive slate of exhibitors and special guests, including Ryan Sands (Youth in Decline), Tomas Moniz (RAD DAD), and illustrator-cartoonist Hellen Jo. (Cheryl Eddy)

Today, 11am-5pm; Sun/31, 11am-4pm, free

SF County Fair Building

1199 Ninth Ave, SF





SF Shakespeare Festival’s The Taming of the Shrew

Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew has always been one of his most controversial plays, both for its rampant misogyny and its unique framing device — the protagonist, Petruchio, performs the entire play as a diversion for a drunk. The production he puts on is a retelling of the courtship of his wife Katherina, the “shrew” in question, who he eventually manipulates into being a devoted wife. Despite its turbulent reputation, the play is frenetic and funny, replete with sexy (and yes, particularly sexist) banter and a series of subplots involving winning women through feats of athletic and mental strength. The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival presents the play in its original setting, Renaissance-era Padua, and promises to play up the physical comedy, costumes, and clowns that punctuate faithful versions of the text. Cross your fingers that the weather is sunny, bring a picnic blanket, and enjoy the Presidio and the brilliance of the Bard. (Kurlander)

Through Mon/2

2pm, free

Presidio Lawn

Between Graham St and Keyes Ave, SF

(415) 558-0888






Pookie & the Poodlez

I saw Pookie open this year’s Burger Boogaloo with a toothbrush still in his mouth; the story was that he’d overslept for his slot but luckily lived close enough to Oakland’s Mosswood Park to drive over in 15 minutes. Though I have no idea whether or not there’s any truth to this story, it’s a neat anecdotal summary of Pookie & the Poodlez’ aesthetic — sloppy yet endearing in an almost teen-idol way. Pookie’s pinched, nasal voice isn’t that far removed from that of Seth “Hunx” Bogart, with whom he has a degree of separation through performing with Bogart’s old flame Nobunny. But Pookie is weirder, more stoned, more affable, and less concerned with performance or with subverting pop tropes than he is with banging out minute-and-a-half pop-punk songs with little pretense or pretention. (Bromfield)

8:30pm, $7

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF

(415) 923-0923



Oakland Pride Parade and Festival

San Francisco may get all the glory, but Oakland? Oakland’s where Sheila E.’s from, and that, friends, is why Oakland’s annual pride celebration gets the drum queen as a headliner and celebrity grand marshal. The festival, which will take over downtown Oakland until 7pm, features three stages with a stacked bill full of live music, a children’s area, a senior area, and a “wedding pavilion” where couples will be able to tie the knot — there’s a story for the grandkids. And of course, food, booze, and all your favorite LGBT organizations will be out in style. Worth the BART trip? And how. (Emma Silvers)

Parade starts at 10:30am, festival 11am-7pm, $10

Parade: Broadway & 14th St; festival: Broadway & 20th St, Oakl.

(510) 545-6251



The 12th Annual Cowgirlpalooza

Dust off your best boots and work up an appetite for hooch, because this party on the Mission’s sunniest patio — that’s El Rio’s — will have you cuttin’ a rug to the best country crooners the Bay Area has to offer, including the Patsychords (a Patsy Cline tribute band), Velvetta, Jessica Rose, and more. Enthusiastically encouraged: Boots, checkered shirts, creative belt buckles, lassos, getting there early. This annual shindig, thrown by the bar’s beloved, longtime sound guy Frank Gallagher, fills up in less time than it’d take you to watch City Slickers again. (Silvers)

4pm, $10

El Rio

3158 Mission, SF

(415) 282-3325




Gina Arnold

Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 series of compact volumes examining popular albums offers a range of both musical styles (Dusty Springfield, ABBA, Jethro Tull, DJ Shadow, Sonic Youth, Van Dyke Parks, Guns N’ Roses, Celine Dion) and authors (John Darnielle, holding forth on Black Sabbath). The 96th entry comes from veteran rock journalist and recent Stanford Ph.D Gina Arnold, whose take on Liz Phair’s 1993 grunge-grrrl thesis Exile in Guyville offers what the New York Times calls “the most curious” entry in the 33 1/3 canon, taking a “free-form” approach rather than simply combing through each of Phair’s lo-fi anthems. Seems kinda perfect, considering Phair’s own unconventional music-biz approach — plus, any excuse to revisit “Fuck and Run” is always welcome. (Eddy)

7:30pm, free


1644 Haight, SF



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The Best of Burger Boogaloo


This weekend Oakland’s Mosswood Park was transformed into a mini music festival of adorable proportions. After two days of PBR, sunburns, and a heap of eclectic and altogether awesome music, the results are in: Here is the best of Burger Boogaloo 2014. [Check yesterday’s review for a different sort of run-through.]

Best mosh pit: OFF!
Keith Morris’ newest hardcore punk outfit stirred up a lot of energy and even more dust on Saturday. Playing after the relatively tame Milk N’ Cookies, OFF! turned it up to eleven (really, I think my ears are still ringing) for a rager of a set that resulted in some serious headbanging, slam-dancing, and stage diving. Just what the doctor ordered to keep morale high as the sun went down.


Best posse: Shannon and the Clams
Hometown heroes Shannon and the Clams played a killer set on Sunday. While their setlist crushed it, the backup singers brought it, and the tiki-and-vegetable themed balloons thrown into the crowd were a lot of fun, the main attraction was to the right of the stage, parked on top of an amp. The fan who lipsynched and shimmied his way into all of our hearts was later revealed by Shannon herself to be her “creepy little brother,” making his devotion to the Clams even more aww-worthy.


Best battlecry: The Meatbodies
Midway through the day, a port-a-potty crisis became apparent as lines grew longer and tanks grew fuller. Taking the stage at the end of the Meatbodies’ set, a brave Burger employee announced that due to all of the delicious food and drink provided by their sponsors, the toilets were at critical mass and no number 2 deposits would be accepted at that time. From the middle to the end of this moving speech, the Meatbodies’ guitarist began the rousing and inspirational cry of, “Poop yo pants! Poop yo pants!” Words to live by.


Best bouffant: Ronnie Spector
Everywhere you looked at Burger Boogaloo, stunning feats of follicle engineering were peeking out of the crowd. Beehives and bouffants of all sizes and colors came out for the show. I overheard one couple saying they had made a game of tallying beehives and had found 16 midway through Sunday alone. Unfortunately I missed the memo that big and bulbous is the vogue look for garage rock, but Ronnie Spector did not. With the biggest hair and the best attitude of the day, Ronnie stole all our hearts.


Longest distance traveled: Thunderroads
Japan’s Thunderroads were the wildcard of the festival. With all the raw power of every generic rock band to follow in ACDC’s footsteps, Thunderroads won us over not with originality or musicality but with pure earnestness and excitement to be playing for us. The magic of the moment is best captured by the words of Thunderroads’ guitarist: “Thank you America, USA! I can’t English, but I love you!” We love you too. More than you know.


Best Striptease: Nobunny
Nobunny killed it with a high-energy set and truly great punk performance on Saturday (although someone should break it to frontperson Justin Champlin that Thunderroads had the harebrained-rock-star idea to climb the precariously-stacked amps hours before he did). Nobunny came to the stage in his trademarked and road-weary bunny mask and a red onesie, which impressively concealed a leather jacket and a pair of briefs, which yes, did eventually come off to reveal…another pair of briefs. Finally, a striptease for the whole family.


Best ‘90s throwback: The Muffs
How ‘90s are The Muffs? Featured on the Clueless soundtrack ‘90s. 23 years into their existence, the Muffs were the perfect addition to the lineup, falling squarely between the untouchable status of Ronniw Spector and the hyper-contemporary blog buzz around bands like Nobunny and Shannon and the clams. Still rocking a mini-dress, blunt bangs, and one of the best grunge growls in the biz, Kim Shattuck reminded us just how much we owe to and miss our fellow flannel-wearers of yesteryear.


Live Shots: Burger Boogaloo 2014, Take #1


About 30 minutes into this year’s Burger Boogaloo, I noticed a guy walking around in a Tool shirt. Ten minutes later, I saw another dude walking around in a Meshuggah shirt. This wouldn’t be so remarkable at most concerts, but it’s worth keeping in mind that this was ostensibly an indie rock concert. Most fans of progressive metal wouldn’t dare enter that often rigid and snobbish universe, just as most indie fans would consider those heavy-but-impeccably-produced bands well outside the accepted parameters of “cool.”

But Burger Babes, Burger Boppers, Burger Bitches, Burger Boys, and Burger Heads are not most indie fans. This is a community that has room for 5-year-olds and 70-year-olds, for classic-rock bar bands and summery beach-pop groups, for queer-as-fuck punk rockers and dudes with handlebar mustaches and chain-link guitar straps. In the often overly cool-conscious world of indie rock, it was not only refreshing but relieving to see a community this accepting. Messrs.Tool and Meshuggah might have been wearing those shirts ironically, but at an event like Burger Boogaloo, it would have been less cool to do so than to wear them with pride and earnesty.


Burger seemed to be willing to throw anything at the audience. And at a single-stage festival with ample seating and few extraneous distractions (a “music & arts festival” this was not), there wasn’t much reason to ignore any of the bands. Given how few of these artists were recognized names outside of very underground regional circles, it seemed like the primary purpose of such a diverse lineup was to introduce the audience to as much new music as possible.

The most striking thing about the Burger Boogaloo lineup was how much older the artists were than at most indie showcases. Of the four headliners, none had a frontperson under 30.  Shannon Shaw of Shannon & The Clams is 31; Thee Oh Sees’ John Dwyer is 39; OFF!’s Keith Morris is 58; Ronnie Spector is 70. Milk ‘n’ Cookies have been around since 1973, The Gizmos since 1976, Phantom Surfers since 1988, the Muffs since 1991, and Bananas since 1993. Danny James’ Pear and Reigning Sound both seemed like middle-aged ensembles stuck in the rock era, and they could have as easily opened for Santana as Thee Oh Sees — yet this was not to their detriment, as they were all incredible musicians.

But with the exception of Spector (and Morris to some extent — more on this later), these artists weren’t cross-generational juggernauts or revered influences but rather veteran bands who had honed their craft in obscurity for years.  Though the audience could roughly be split into hip kids and older music-scene stalwarts, it was interesting to see both sides of the audience devour such unhip music with equal relish.  This indicated to me that Burger fans aren’t looking for the coolest, most cutting-edge music.  They’re just looking for a solid supply of rock ‘n’ roll to dance and party to, and Burger Boogaloo provided that and more.

* * *

The first day opened with White Fang, who were either the best or the worst festival opener I’ve ever seen. Frontman Erik Gage walked out in an American flag T-shirt, kissing his guns like the most cartoonish male lover imaginable, before tearing into a short set of songs chiefly about partying and marijuana.  Though they were sloppy and lacked any semblance of self-seriousness, they all but blew the two bands that followed offstage. Though Terry Malts and the Trashies were both competent bands with fine instrumentalists, their singers lacked any of White Fang’s charisma.

Wand upped the energy substantially; though they were a good band, I could not get past their uncanny sonic resemblance to Ty Segall, particularly his Fuzz project. But it was Thunderroads that pumped the energy back into the festival. Hailing from Japan, the trio rolled through a set of unhinged, ’50s-style rockabilly songs sung through thick accents that rendered most words incomprehensible except for rock’s great buzzwords — “rock ‘n’ roll,” “tonight,” “everybody.” Needless to say, they didn’t need much more to get their point across.


Next came the aforementioned bar band Reigning Sound, the extremely good surf band Phantom Surfers, and Sacramento punk band Bananas, whose caterwauling vocalist culled the crowd enough to secure me a prime audience position for Nobunny. Though his spirits were significantly lowered by the audience’s refusal to catch him were he to jump from the amplifier stack, the man in the bunny mask still put on one of the best shows of the night. He more than made up for his admittedly lacking vocal skills through a menacingly cartoonish stage presence, ample crotch-bulge display, and above all else, a set of great rock songs.


Next came Milk ‘n’ Cookies, a ’70s power-pop band who could not distinguish themselves from the festival’s more pedestrian pop acts despite their clout. Finally, the big two headliners: OFF! and Thee Oh Sees.

OFF!, the current project of Circle Jerks frontman and founding Black Flag member Keith Morris, was by far the most interesting act at the festival. Morris has long given up adhering (or pretending to adhere) to punk’s staunch anti-commercial aesthetic, evident in his recent promotions with major brands like AOL and Vans (and Burger — OFF! isn’t actually on the label).  But he plays punk because it’s the music he loves — and he performs it with as much fury as in any of his previous projects.

And what fury. Despite his short stature, Morris seemed to tower over the sea of moshing kids at which he directed his harangues. It was an invigorating performance in part because of how tight the band was and in part because of how in love with the music Morris seemed — as pissed-off as his songs were, he looked genuinely happy to be up there.


Even better were Thee Oh Sees, whose recent departure for L.A. sent waves of dismay through the Bay Area music community but who are showing no signs of abandoning their hometown fans. Bar none, Thee Oh Sees were the best live band I’ve seen all year. Despite being a relatively new incarnation of the band (singer/lead guitarist John Dwyer being the only constant), they rocked as hard as ever, with Dwyer’s almost Hendrix-like guitarwork carrying the bulk of the sound this time around. But the true star of the show was Dwyer’s voice, a tiny coo that can nonetheless hold an entire crowd captive. He can scream as well as anyone, but why would he need to when he can do so much with so little?


Thee Oh Sees’ music seemed to transcend genre. It was hard to say exactly where the roots of such music lay — there were elements of punk, metal, garage rock, and grunge, but none seemed like an apt signifier. Rather, the hallmarks of each genre combined into a monolithic slab of rock ‘n’ roll that encouraged the audience to move and engage with it rather than analyze it. This focus on rock as a form of music rather than an aesthetic or a concept unified all the bands of the day. At Burger Boogaloo, it didn’t matter how old or how uncool a band was — at the end of the day, it was all about getting down. And isn’t that what a rock show is supposed to be about?
After the head rush of Day One, it was hard not to be a bit disappointed with Day Two. The lineup pulled a lot of the same tricks to diminished effect. A lot of the bands seemed to be the equivalents of bands from the first day. Pookie & The Poodlez played White Fang’s role as the silly, punky opening act; Meatbodies played Wand’s role as the heavy, grooving jam band; The Gizmos filled Milk ‘n’ Cookies’ role as obscure power-pop legends unearthed from the annals of history. But the day also brought with it some pleasant surprises — not least of which was Ronnie Spector, whose dynamite set ran completely contrary to my expectations.

Pookie, a member of Nobunny, showed up onstage still brushing his teeth. (Apparently he’d overslept but luckily lived a few blocks away–though this is a fun story, the aesthetic appeal of a cute, skinny man walking out onstage with a toothbrush in his mouth to open a festival is just a little bit too good.)  His set was brief but fun, though the similarities to White Fang’s set were a bit obvious — especially after he introduced one of the songs as being about “Slurpees and kissing and marijuana cigarettes.”

The next run of bands was thoroughly disappointing. Summer Twins were, if possible, even more generic than their name suggests. Though my friend theorized they would sound like “Best Coast but less mainstream,” they sounded more like a Best Coast ripoff hastily assembled for a commercial by someone whose grasp on indie aesthetics was limited to 500 Days Of Summer. I was surprised a label like Burger (or any label) would sign such a band. The beach-rock fad has been over for over three years, and it’s easy to tell when a band is still clinging to it — usually they have words like “Summer” or “Twins” in their name.

Dirty Ghosts were interesting only because they were difficult to pin down in a genre — their music wasn’t quite funk, rock, punk, or psychedelia, but it was largely forgettable and didn’t benefit from its implacability. Danny James was similar to the previous day’s Reigning Sound but a lot tighter. La Sera was essentially a better version of Summer Twins. Meatbodies sounded like a less heavy Wand, while the Gizmos played with little effort or enthusiasm and could only have been there because of their clout as an obscure but veteran protopunk band.

Of the mid-day acts, folk singer Juan Wauters was the most enjoyable, but it was hard to tell if it was because of the quality of his music or because he was by far the most unique attraction of the day — he initially performed as a solo artist before being augmented by a bassist, a guitarist, and a percussionist. San Francisco band Personal & the Pizzas were likewise entertaining, but their schtick–pop songs about pizza and brass knuckles played by three tough-looking dudes–got old very quickly.
The Muffs ramped up the energy substantially. Fronted by Kim Shattuck (best-known these days for her brief stint in the Pixies), the group started out playing tough yet grooving pop songs driven by Shattuck’s ferocious voice. (She screamed an average of about 10 times per song.)  Yet their set never recovered from an ill-advised mid-performance slow song, which disrupted what could have evolved into full-on moshing but never progressed beyond a lot of enthusiastic bouncing and head-nodding.


Shannon & The Clams were a fine act, but they were disappointingly low-energy for their late placement in the lineup.  Their show was better because the crowd, desperate to mosh, took it upon themselves to have a good time. The result was a bizarre sort of mix of moshing and slow-dancing that mainly entailed a bunch of people shoving into each other at very deliberate speeds.  Being in the mosh enhanced the performance substantially; the Clams’ girl-group balladry was best suited for slow dancing, and brushing up against a bunch of random strangers with romantic music in the air is pretty much the second-best thing to that. Nonetheless, the fast-paced “The Cult Song” was the undoubted highlight.

I was expecting Ronnie Spector‘s set to be mostly just a glorified celebrity appearance from the woman whose run of Sixties records with the Ronettes inspired a substantial chunk of the festival’s acts.  Instead, I was surprised to be treated to the night’s most electrifying performance.  Over a top-caliber band of stern, professional-looking musicians, Spector let loose with her vocals in a way she was never able to do as part of the homogeneous Wall of Sound her ex-husband/producer Phil Spector pioneered.  Some of her vocal turns were absolutely haunting.  Though she may not sound like the twenty-year-old starlet she once was, she sounds now like what she is–an incredibly gifted vocalist with a natural presence as an entertainer and a long and tumultuous life behind her.


But the true star of Spector’s set wasn’t her or her beehive hairdo but the songs, and one song in particular.  The words “Be My Baby” had been placed over the stage in gold balloons hours before, and the inevitability that she would perform it created a natural climax to the festival.  Either directly or indirectly, that song had inspired nearly every act there.  Its maelstrom production practically launched psychedelic rock, while its unmistakable drum opening has become an obvious way for backwards-looking pop acts from The Jesus And Mary Chain to Girls to pay tribute to their influences.

True, that drum opening was the most scream-inducing moment of the entire festival.  But I felt she played it too soon.  Her set was much shorter than it should have been, and deploying the ultimate weapon after only five songs ruined a bit of the song’s climactic nature.  Furthermore, her shout of “my favorite part!” over the reprise of the drum opening defused its impact. But I forgive her — I don’t know if she realizes how revered that song is in the indie community. 


Furthermore, treating that song like a sacred artifact would be incongruous with what made Spector’s set so effective — that she wasn’t treated like a sacred artifact. As massive as her influence pop music is, I believe she was there because of her skills as a performer, not for the baggage her name carries. It would be contradictory to Burger’s ethos to bring such a revered artist on if she wasn’t a great performer. Burger Boogaloo isn’t about the mythology of old-school rock ‘n’ roll, but about the sound — and just how great it is to hear that sound live.


The resurrection of Ronnie Spector



LEFT OF THE DIAL How do you address a woman who toured with the Rolling Stones as an opening act, while being chased after by a baby-faced John Lennon? Who had five singles in the Top 40 by the age of 21? Who perfected the beehive hairdo two decades before Amy Winehouse was even born?

“Call me Ronnie,” purrs Ronnie Spector, age 70, on the other end of the line. You can almost hear the hairdo.

The woman who influenced performers like Billy Joel, Patti Smith, and Joey Ramone is calling from a suburb near Danbury, Conn., where she lives with her manager/husband of 30 years, Jonathan Greenfield. Their life is a quiet one. Spector — who, as the lead singer of the Ronettes, perhaps the most iconic girl group of the early ’60s thanks to hits like “Be My Baby,” has been described as the original bad girl of rock ‘n’ roll — likes to read and watch movies. She goes grocery shopping, does a little cooking, goes to Bed, Bath & Beyond. Three times a week she goes to an office and dictates responses to her fan mail to an assistant (she doesn’t like to use the Internet much herself). She doesn’t drink (never has, she says), but she still smokes (Marlboro Reds).

Okay, and every now and then she’ll catch up with her old friend Keith Richards, who lives 15 minutes away.

For the past two years, the ’60s icon has also been on tour again: Her one-woman stage show, “Beyond the Beehive,” chronicles her tumultuous life from childhood onward, punctuated with songs, stories, behind-the-scenes dirt and dishing. She’ll bring elements of that show to the Bay Area July 4 weekend, when she performs at Brick and Mortar Music Hall Sat/5 (in a ridiculously fabulous-sounding evening hosted by Peaches Christ) and at Burger Boogaloo in Oakland’s Mosswood Park Sun/6.

So: Why would someone who’s lived such a full life — not to mention a self-described homebody — put herself through the rigors of a touring stage show at a time in her life when she could be resting on her laurels? Or at least, one might think, just resting?

“Because I love it — it lets all of my emotions out,” says Ronnie, sounding straight-up girlishly, genuinely excited. “When I first started, of course, I was scared to death: I’ve been on stage singing since I was a little girl, but I never had to sit down and talk to an audience. Now, I feel so good after I do that show. I go through the good, the bad, and the ugly. I tell them everything, and I’m nervous every time, but I love it.”

A little like on-stage therapy, no?

“I stopped going to therapy when I started ‘Beehive’!” she cries. “Who needs a psychiatrist? My show is my therapy. The audience loves it, I love it, and I get to tell them things I never got to talk about.

“Because a lot of stories from my life — ooh, if walls could talk…”


Born to a Cherokee and African American mother and an Irish father, a drummer, on Aug. 10, 1943, Veronica Bennett grew up in Spanish Harlem, in a large, working-class family that served as her first audience.

“When I was 7 or 8, me and eight of my cousins were in the lobby of our building and I was singing ‘Why Do Fools Fall In Love’ — the sound was great down there, the tall ceilings — and my cousins all started clapping,” she recalls. “And I thought, I got it! From that point on, all I thought about was singing. I didn’t do homework. The teachers were calling my house saying ‘She’s just singing for the class.’ It was all I cared about.” She spent hours singing with her sister, Estelle Bennett, and cousin, Nedra Talley, the trio that would go on to become the Ronettes.

When the girls were young teens, as if to say “Okay, let’s see what you’ve got,” Ronnie and Estelle’s mother, a waitress at a restaurant next door to the Apollo Theater, managed to get the girls a spot on the bill at the legendary venue’s amateur night. They didn’t win that evening’s competition, but the audience applauded (as opposed to throwing tomatoes), and Spector still remembers the feeling. “That was it. It was the toughest crowd in town, and they liked us,” she says.

The rest is show business history: The signature eye makeup and impeccable on-stage style. Hordes of shrieking fans during appearances on American Bandstand. The UK tour on which the girls spent evenings flirting and dancing with the Beatles. Bottles upon bottles of hairspray.

And, of course, the group’s relationship with wunderkind producer Phil Spector, the man responsible for the “wall of sound” instrumentation that makes so many ’60s records sound so beautifully, chart-toppingly lush. “Be My Baby,” a song Brian Wilson has called the best pop song ever made (at 21, he was driving when he first heard it and had to pull over), is considered the first pop record to use a full orchestra, with horns, multiple pianos, and guitars layered generously over each other. Backup singers included Darlene Love and a then-unknown couple named Sonny and Cher.

To be sure, Spector was ahead of his time. But 30 seconds of any Ronettes song will tell you everything you need to know about what made the group stand out from the pack.

As the Time magazine writer Michael Enright once put it: “Ronnie had a weird natural vibrato – almost a tremolo, really – that modulated her little-girl timber into something that penetrated the Wall of Sound like a nail gun. It is an uncanny instrument. Sitting on a ragged couch in my railroad flat, I could hear her through all the arguments on the street, the car alarms, the sirens. She floated above the sound of New York while also being a part of it…stomping her foot on the sidewalk and insisting on being heard.”

It’s that same combination of vulnerability, sex appeal, and determinedly tough-as-nails I’ve-been-through-hell-so-don’t-test-me bravado that still attracts fans to her shows some 50 years later — despite the fact they’ve probably already heard a good chunk of the story.

Her low points are well-documented: the nightmarish marriage to a jealous Phil Spector that, according to her 1989 memoir, involved death threats and the young singer being physically locked in his mansion. Then rehab, which she later said was just a means of escape from her ex-husband (who, it must be mentioned, as of this writing, is five years into a 19-year sentence for the 2003 murder of actress Lana Clarkson — after a trial in which at least five female acquaintances recounted him holding them at gunpoint).

Then there was life after Phil. Ronnie burst back onto the charts in 1986 as a guest on Eddie Money’s “Take Me Home Tonight” (with her signature whoa-oh-oh-ohs front and center), may or may not have had a brief fling with David Bowie, released a critically acclaimed solo album produced by Joey Ramone, married her second husand, had two kids (not necessarily in that order). In 2000, after a 15-year royalty battle, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled that Phil Spector owed the Ronettes $2.6 million; despite licensing their songs to everything from commercials to Dirty Dancing over the previous four decades, he’d only ever paid the women $14,000 and change.

And now? She’s an unmistakably happy woman, and she clearly likes to talk. It doesn’t take much to get her going on today’s pop music: “It’s like a circus! You can’t see a show without dancers and lights and booms and bangs. It takes away from rock ‘n’ roll. Everyone has to have ridiculous outfits, and you don’t even know who they are by the time their record comes out. People don’t have an identity! Miley Cyrus gets up there with an [inflatable] penis coming out of her? Hello? What is that?”

“You take away the dancers, you take away the choreographers, and [with a lot of pop stars] you will not see a real artist there,” she says. “And everybody lip-syncs. In my day you didn’t do that; I would never do that. To me, it’s cheating the audience.” (Ronnie’s voice has stayed strong, she says, because she’s never liked parties.)

However: “I do love that today’s women artists [are allowed to] write their own material, which we couldn’t. You look at the artists from the past like me, the pioneers, we ended up with nothing because of royalties. Now, Taylor Swift is one of the richest girls in rock ‘n’ roll.”

She also has nothing but kind words for Amy Winehouse — a singer who owed her obvious debts in the vocal and visual style department, and whose “Back To Black” Ronnie sometimes covers in return (once, in London, with Winehouse trying not to be spotted in the audience). “She was a dirty rock ‘n’ roll singer, her voice was real, and she was real,” she says. “I miss her.”

Aside from not really enjoying Top 40 radio, however, Ronnie says she’s loving life — and you believe her. She talks like a survivor — not just of an abusive marriage, but of a time and a place in pop music that chewed young women up and spit them out with astounding ease.

“To be honest, a lot of the groups I knew 50 years ago are dead or dead broke,” she says. “And I had to fight for my career. I was in court for 15 years.

“But you know what? What goes around comes around,” she says conspiratorially. “Karma’s a bitch, and it’ll bite you right in the ass. He’s in prison, and I’m not. I’m out there singing, having the time of my life, and I have everything I want: My shows, a great husband, everything I wanted back then. Turns out you can have your cake and eat it too.” A hearty laugh.

“Otherwise, what’s the point of having cake?” 

Ronnie Spector will perform at the Burger Boogaloo After-Party (Sat/5 9pm, $35) at Brick and Mortar Music Hall and at Burger Boogaloo Day 2 (Sun/6, all day, $35-$50) in Oakland’s Mosswood Park.


Burger Boogaloo Breakdown


Thee Oh Sees

Hiatus, schmiatus. Less than six months after the prom kings of SF’s garage scene declared they’d be taking an “indefinite” break from playing — inciting local blog warfare, while they were at it, with frontman John Dwyer’s move to LA signalling that the trickle of SF musicians down south had actually become a downpour — Thee Oh Sees dropped Drop, nine tracks of reassuringly heavy, noisy, psyched-out reverb. Fans know their maniacal live show is not to be missed, and BB marks the band’s first public return to our stages (or parks, as the case may be). Can we hug and make up now? Sat/5 (Day 1), 8pm.


The Muffs

Of all the bands riding the current wave of ’90s nostalgia, The Muffs are one we’re a-okay with hearing from again. If you’ve seen Clueless, you probably know their cover of “Kids in America,” but with Kim Shattuck’s rough-hewn, little-girl-gone-bad vocals and charisma at the helm, we’ve always thought they deserved much more. This time last year, Shattuck was playing bass for the Pixies; if getting booted from that band was what it took to produce The Muffs’ first record in 10 years, Whoop De Woo (out July 29 ), we’re fine with that too. Bust out your pink Converse for this one. Sun/6 (Day 2), 6pm.



Aside from maybe hot dog-eating contests and firecracker-related injuries, perhaps nothing says “America” like a barely-clothed adult man throwing himself around on stage in a terrifying bunny mask, a coat made of garbage, and a ball gag. Luckily, we have Nobunny, the endearingly insane alter ego of veteran punk madman Justin Champlin, who promises to make this all-ages affair just a little bit of a darker experience than you’d probably want unaccompanied children to have on their own. Just like our founding fathers would have wanted. Sat/5 (Day 1), 5:15pm.

Gettin’ festy



LEFT OF THE DIAL Earlier this month, Oakland singer-songwriter Ash Reiter was at Hipnic, an annual three-day music festival in Big Sur thrown by promoters folkYEAH!, featuring Cass McCombs, the Fresh & Onlys, the Mother Hips, Nicki Bluhm & the Gramblers, and plenty of other Bay Area folky faves. Held at the Fernwood Resort and campgrounds, with families gathering under the shade of redwoods, it’s one of the cozier, more homegrown summer festivals in the greater Bay Area — there’s nary a Coachella-esque VIP section in sight — but a three-day pass still comes in at a cool $240.

Looking around, Reiter saw how the ticket price had shaped the crowd.

“There was obviously some great music, but that kind of boutique festival thing is so expensive that a lot of the audience seemed like older, well-off folks, parents — I mean, those are the people who can afford to go to these things,” she recalls. “I’m sure a lot of the bands playing wouldn’t be able to go to that festival, if they weren’t playing.”

It was that kind of thinking that sparked the idea for Hickey Fest, a three-day festival now in its second year and named for its location in Standish Hickey State Park in Mendocino County, “where the South Fork of the Eel River shimmers against the backdrop of the majestic redwoods,” according to the fest’s flyers. Born of the desire to curate a “musical experience outside of just your average festival, a chance for musicians to actually hang out and talk to each other and get to know each other that’s not just in a loud rock club,” Reiter launched Hickey Fest over Memorial Day weekend last year, with a lineup of friend-bands like Warm Soda, Farallons, Cool Ghouls, and Michael Musika. The goal: A festival her musician friends would actually enjoy, in an atmosphere that wouldn’t be “as overwhelming as a BottleRock or an Outside Lands.” She estimates some 500 to 600 people attended in total.

This year’s festival, which runs June 20-22 in the same location, includes another local-love lineup, including Papercuts, Sonny and the Sunsets, Black Cobra Vipers, and more. A $60 ticket gets you three days of music and camping. “I wanted it to be about community, about putting the fun back in music,” says Reiter, who will also perform. “So I did intentionally try to make it as cheap as possible.”

It’s a sentiment rarely heard from music promoters, especially as the days get longer and the work-ditching gets ubiquitous and the college kids are all turned loose for the summer. Festival season is upon us, Bay Area, and make no mistake: It’s a great way to see touring bands from all over the country. It’s a great platform for local bands, who get the chance to play bigger stages and reach new audiences. And as a music fan, it’s a great way to spend a shit-ton of money.


In the summer of 1969, when Woodstock was changing the meaning of “music festival” on the East Coast via Jimi solos and free, mud-covered love, plans were taking shape for a San Francisco festival that, had it actually taken place, would have been legendary: The Wild West Festival, scheduled for Aug. 22-24, was designed as a three-day party, with regular (ticketed) concerts each night in Kezar Stadium, while other bands performed free music all day, each day, in Golden Gate Park.

Bill Graham and other SF rock scene movers and shakers worked collaboratively on organizing the festival, which — had it happened — would have seen Janis Joplin, the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana, Country Joe and the Fish, the Steve Miller Band, and half a dozen other iconic bands of the decade all taking the stage within 72 hours.

Why’d it fall apart? According to most versions of the story, too many of those involved wanted the whole damn thing to be free. Graham, among others, countered that, while the free music utopia was a nice idea, lights, a sound system, and other basic accoutrements of a music festival did in fact cost American dollars. The plans collapsed amid in-fighting, and the infamous Altamont free music festival was planned as a sort of make-up for December of that year — an organizational disaster of an event that came to be known for the death of Meredith Hunter, among other violence, signaling the end of a certain starry-eyed era.

So yeah, money has always been a sticky part of live music festivals. But the industry has boomed in a particularly mind-boggling way over the last decade; never before have ticket prices served as such a clear barrier to entry for your average, middle-class music fan. Forget Hipnic: In the days after Outside Lands sold out, enterprising San Franciscans began plonking their three-day festival passes onto the “for sale” section of Craigslist at upwards of $1,000 each.

The alternative? The “screw that corporate shit, let’s do our own thing” attitude, which is, of course, exactly the kind of attitude that’s birthed the bumper crop of smaller summer festivals that have sprung up in the Bay Area over the past few years, like Phono del Sol (July 12, an indie-leaning daylong affair in SF’s Potrero del Sol Park, started by hip-kid music blog The Bay Bridged in 2010, tickets: $25-$30) and Burger Boogaloo (a cheekily irreverent punk, surf, and rockabilly fest over July 4 weekend in Oakland’s Mosswood Park — weekend pass: $50). Both pair bigger, buzzy acts with national reach like Wye Oak (Phono del Sol) or Thee Oh Sees and the great Ronnie Spector (Burger Boogaloo) with a slew of local openers.

“I’ve played a few festivals, and when it’s a really big thing, you realize there are just so many other huge bands that people would rather see,” says Mikey Maramag, better known as the folk-tronica brains behind SF’s Blackbird Blackbird. He’ll be sharing a bill with Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Nick Waterhouse, White Fence, A Million Billion Dying Suns, and others at Phono del Sol — which, judging by last year’s attendance, could draw some 5,000 to 6,000 people.

“I think at smaller festivals you have more people who take the time to really listen, appreciate the music more, really big fans,” he says. “There are fewer artists on this bill [than at large festivals] but they’re all great ones — I’m especially excited to see Wye Oak.”

Maramag will be debuting some songs from his new album, Tangerine Sky, out June 3; the show will serve as a welcome-home from a quick national tour to promote it.

Then there are the even more modest summer offerings, like SF Popfest, which takes place over four days (May 22-25) at various small venues in the city. It’s not exactly a traditional festival — you’re not likely to find slideshows online of the “BEST POPFEST FASHION!!1!” the way we’ve unfortunately become accustomed to from Coachella — but for the small contingent of super passionate ’90s indie-pop fans in the Bay Area (hi!), this is one not to miss.

“I’ve been getting a lot of calls from people who think it’s a very different kind of festival than it is. App people. This one guy had some kind of offer about a parking app for festivals, I think? Which would really not make any sense at all,” says Josh Yule, guitarist for SF jangle-pop maestros Cruel Summer, who received the mantle of SF Popfest organizer from his predecessor in the mid-aughts (older history of the festival is a little hazy, as it’s always been primarily organized by musicians for musicians — for fun and, says Yule, absolutely no profit whatsoever). There was talk of getting some beer sponsors at some point, but he decided against it. “We have friends working the door at most of these things. I was a punk kid in high school, I guess, I tend to stay away from things that would make this go in a more corporate direction.”

This year’s fest is centered around reunions of bands who’ve been broken up for a while, like cult-favorite Sacramento popsters Rocketship, who haven’t played together in at least a decade; the band will be at the Rickshaw Stop Fri/23 for a Slumberland Records showcase. Dressy Bessy, Dreamdate, the Mantles, Terry Malts, and plenty others will all make appearances throughout the fest, as well as a few newer bands, like the female-fronted Stockton garagey-punk band Monster Treasure.

“Obviously it’s not gonna be thousands of people, it’s not going to be outside — it’s going to be 100 to 200 like-minded individuals who all enjoy the same thing, and they all get it,” says Yule. “We got these bands back together to play and they’re all excited about it even though there’s no [financial] guarantee…It’s that community that I’ve always been involved in and sometimes I feel like it’s not around anymore. So it’s nice to go ‘Oh wait, there it is. It’s still there, and it’s still strong.'”


For local bands just starting to make a name for themselves, of course, there’s nothing like a larger and yes, very corporate festival for reaching new audiences. Take the locals stage at LIVE 105’s BFD, the all-day radio-rock party celebrating its 20th year June 1 at the Shoreline: Curated by the station’s music director, Aaron Axelsen — aka the DJ who’s launched 1,000 careers, thanks to his Sunday night locals-only show, Soundcheck, as well as booking up-and-comers for Popscene — the locals stage at BFD has a pretty good track record for launching bands onto the next big thing. The French Cassettes, one of SF’s current indie-pop darlings, sure hope that holds true for them.

“Aaron Axelsen has been really generous to us. I think we’re all clear that none of this would be happening without him,” says singer-guitarist Scott Huerta. The band will be playing songs from its newest album, out on cassette (duh) at the end of May. “But we’re super excited just to be in there. Hopefully we make some new fans. I know I used to find out about new bands by going to BFD and just passing by that stage. It’s by all the food vendors, so as long as people are hungry, we’ll be good. Don’t eat before you come.”

For the Tumbleweed Wanderers, an Oakland-based soul-folk-rock band that’s been hustling back and forth across the country for the past year, hitting the stage at Outside Lands (Aug. 8-10) — that festival everyone loves to hate and hates to love — will be the culmination of years of playing around the festival, quite literally.

“In 2011, we busked outside, and I think that’s the year [our keyboard player] Patrick almost got arrested?” says Rob Fidel, singer-guitarist, with a laugh. “Then the next year we got asked to play Dr. Flotsam’s Hell Brew Review, which is this thing in the park just outside Outside Lands, and we did that for an hour and a half every day for free. And then busked outside. I like to say we played Outside Lands more than any other band that year.

“But to be on the other side of that all of a sudden is awesome,” he says, noting that the band will be playing some tunes from a new record set for release later this year. “It was the same when we played the Fillmore for the first time — we used to busk outside of there and the venue would get super pissed, and now, oh look, that same guy’s carrying our amps…but I think the experience of working our way up like that has kinda taught us you’re gonna see the same people on the way up as on the way down. And we’ve worked really hard these past few years. It’s nice to feel like we’ve earned it.”

It’s only a slight exaggeration to say there are roughly 1,000 other music festivals happening throughout the Bay Area this summer — at the Guardian, our inboxes have been filling up with press releases and show announcements since February; check out the roundup below for a mere smattering of what’s going on. And, ticket price hand-wringing aside, you don’t need to be rich to rock out: Stern Grove’s free Sunday lineups, with heavy hitters like Smokey Robinson, Andrew Bird, Rufus Wainwright, and the Zombies, are among the best we’ve seen. In the East Bay, the Art+Soul Festival is always a source of up-and-comers in hip-hop, funk, and more — this year for the whopping price of $15.

So, yeah, we never got that Janis and Sly and Jefferson Airplane show. So be it. As a music fan in the Bay Area, there’s no better time than summer to smack yourself, remember that you’re super lucky to live here, grab a sweater (because layers), and get out to hear some music. Call it your own damn three-month-long Wild West Festival. We’ll see you in the bathroom line.



SF Popfest, May 22-25, locations vary throughout SF, www.sfpopfest.com

Audio on the Bay, Craneway Pavilion, Richmond, May 23-25, www.insomniac.com

BottleRock Napa Valley, Napa, May 30-June 1, www.bottlerocknapavalley.com



LIVE 105’s BFD, June 1, Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, www.live105.cbslocal.com

Not Dead Yet Fest, June 7, Thee Parkside, SF, www.notdeadyetfest.com

OMINODAY Music Festival, June 7, McLaren Park, SF, www.ominoday.weebly.com

The San Francisco Jazz Festival, June 11-22, locations vary. www.sfjazz.org

Reggae in the Hills, Calaveras County Fairgrounds, June 13-15, www.reggaeinthehills.com

Hickey Fest, June 20-22, Leggett, www.hickeyfest.wordpress.com

San Francisco Free Folk Festival, June 21-22, Presidio Middle School, SF, www.sffolkfest.org

Berkeley World Music Festival, June 22, People’s Park, Berk., www.berkeleyworldmusic.org



High Sierra Music Festival, July 3-6, Quincy, www.highsierramusic.com

Burger Boogaloo, July 5-6, Mosswood Park, Oak., www.burgerboogaloo.com

Phono del Sol, July 12, Potrero del Sol Park, SF, www.phonodelsol.com

Northern Nights, July 18-20, Mendocino/Humboldt, www.northernnights.org



Art + Soul Oakland, Aug. 2-3, City Center, Oak., www.artandsouloakland.com

Outside Lands, Aug. 8-10, Golden Gate Park, SF, www.sfoutsidelands.com

First City Festival, Aug. 23-24, Monterey, www.firstcityfestival.com


Throughout the summer: Stern Grove Festival, Sundays, www.sterngrove.org; People in Plazas, dates vary, throughout downtown SF, www.peopleinplazas.org.

Happy hump day music news!


Hiatus, schmiatus: Thee Oh Sees have been added to an already-dreamy Burger Boogaloo lineup. Catch ’em alongside OFF!, Shannon and the Clams, Nobunny, Terry Malts, and of course the inimitable Miss Ronnie Spector herself, July 5-6 at Mosswood Park in Oakland.

Who needs Coachella anyway? In between their two weekend stints at that shitshow of a music festival down south, Waxahatchee is playing a free show at UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza today at 5pm. Are you in Berkeley? It’s goddamn beautiful out. You should go.

Start your itinerizing: Outsidelands just announced each day’s lineup and put single-day tickets on sale. Are you in more of a Kanye-Disclosure-Warpaint-Mikal Cronin kind of mood? Or a Tom Petty-Tycho-Big Freedia head space? These are the tough questions.

Cocktails grow up: Don’t worry, one of SF’s favorite fuzz-power-pop bands hasn’t gone and gotten lame, though. This new track, “Tough Love,” off Adult Life, suggests the five-piece has gotten a little tighter and just a little slicker, in a good way. That record won’t be out until June 17, but you can probably hear a lot of it at the Rickshaw Stop this Fri/18, when they open at the EP release party for The She’s.

“My brain is a little addled in terms of my long-term memory.” That’s Courtney Love, in an excellent oral history of Hole’s Live Through This, in honor of the album’s 20th anniversary. No matter what you think of her or her Dave Grohl reconciliation or her mediocre missing airplane-finding skills, this album is still gorgeous and important and yes I will fight you about that.

Also, this interview.

Happy Hour: The week in music


Dearest clock-watchers! If you hadn’t noticed, it’s almost the weekend. In the event that your excitement is currently tempered with social anxiety about which pop culture topics to discuss over happy hour beverages — a very sad and all-too-common affliction — here are a few gems from the music world that the Internet bestowed upon us this week.

— The 5th annual Burger Boogaloo, one of the spunkiest (and most affordable!) festivals in the Bay Area’s grand feast of summer festival offerings, announced its lineup yesterday, and it’s a good one. What says “summer” more than the legendary Ronnie Spector crooning “Be My Baby” as hipsters play drunken kickball around you in Mosswood Park?

— Oakland noir-pop rockers DRMS released this epically and mysteriously engaging 17-and-a-half-minute film set to some of the most experimental music we’ve heard from them yet. They’re at the Rickshaw Stop tomorrow night [Sat/22], if you wanna get good and dreamy.

— The city of Abderdeen, Wash., home of one Kurt Cobain, celebrated its first annual “Kurt Cobain Day” yesterday, Feb. 20, on what would have been the rocker’s 47th birthday. With what, you ask? Why, a giant, weird, crying, Jesus-like Kurt Cobain statue, of course. Because that definitely seems like something he would have wanted.

— The SFJAZZ Center is a very precocious one-year-old. [SFGate]

Kelis will finally get to share her milkshake recipe with the world — or at least viewers of the Cooking Channel — thus eliminating the need for boys to even come to her yard at all.

Cranky dude at the Thermals show last night at The Chapel: You’re unhelpful. [via Mission Mission]

Go forth, my friends. Stay hydrated.

Rise and snack



TOFU AND WHISKEY Listening to infectious Terry Malts track “I Do” on a blissed-out drive across the bridge to Oakland last weekend, I was struck by how the song has grown so ingrained in my psyche.

With its driving hook and repetitive “I do/I do/I do/oh-oh” chorus about young punks in love, it’s like an underground college radio hit earworm, or the song you methodically skip to with a carful of friends on a sweaty sojourn to the beach, triumphantly pushing play on the old tape deck. It has that timeless, enduring quality. It feels like its always been in my collection.

And yet, the upbeat punk song is less than two years old, created by the San Francisco trio for its debut 2012 LP Killing Time (Slumberland). It’s got this nostalgic pull inherent in the band, and might be the best example of such among its back catalog. Returning to Killing Time left me wondering what was next for the group. Lo and behold, Terry Malts just announced the sophomore follow-up: Nobody Realizes This Is Nowhere, which will be released Sept. 10 also via Slumberland Records. The announcement came with a first single, driving, noisier, “I Was Not There.” Sensing a theme here?

Terry Malts were featured in my inaugural “On the Rise” cover story, in 2012 (it’s now a yearly tradition in the first couple months of the year), and it made me wonder how the others were doing.

As luck would have it, there was also news last week that chilly synch duo Silver Swans (Jonathan Waters and Ann Yu) returned with new track “Sea of Love,” off upcoming album Touch.

Likely the group I’ve most followed since the story, rockers Dirty Ghosts have grown tighter and louder in the past year or so, and have played both the Treasure Island Music Festival and a raucous, shred-worthy Noise Pop slot opening for the Thermals.

And then there’s multi-instrumentalist Jhameel, who has since moved to LA, but has kept up with a steady stream of beat-friendly R&B and pop releases, music vids, and drunk YouTube clips for fans, most recently collaborating with Giraffage and DWNTWN on the track “Move Me,” which showed up on the Kitsuné America 2 compilation.



For those who’ve yet to experience “symphonic ambisonic soundscapes” deep down in the coral reefs: Soundwave SonicLAB, MEDIATE, and the Bold Italic present this sound-heavy Cal Academy Nightlife event with electronic composer-musician Christopher Willits (owner of experimental label Overlap.org) on the soundscapes, and local garage pop act the Mantles playing live among the fishies. And for the more scientific angle, there’ll be a talk by oceanographer and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence (best title ever) Dr. Sylvia A. Earle.

Thu/18, 6-10pm, $12. California Academy of Sciences, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, SF. calacademy.org/events.


Vintage children’s tales always seem to take on a slightly creepy quality, and the same can be said for experimental folk songstress, Miwa Gemini. The Brooklyn singer-songwriter makes moody narrative lullabies that sound like campfire tales, told in a crisp singsongy voice over pah-pum drums and guitar lines that bend from Western twang to plucky surf. With Zoe Muth, Margaret Glasby.

Thu/18, 9pm, $10. Amnesia, 853 Valencia, SF. www.amnesiathebar.com.


That blissful drive last weekend? It was the route to Burger Boogaloo, the punk rock summer camp in Oakland’s Mosswood Park. Put together by Burger Records and Total Trash Booking, the fest boasted noisy punks, retro-inspired doo-wop groups, and sloppy surf-rock bands mostly from the Bay Area, LA, and Portland, Ore.,plus Jonathan Richman. There was great warm weather, a fenced off beer plot, vintage clothes and records for sale, and the sugary vegan donut burger made by Hella Vegan Eats.

Get trashed



MUSIC During high school one day in a sleepy Marin County enclave, Tina “Boom Boom” Lucchesi went to a local record shop where Erik Meade of Jackson Saints and the Pukes worked, and he put on a Redd Kross album. “Total obsession,” Lucchesi says now, a few decades later, from her punky, vintage-filled Peewee’s Playhouse home in Oakland. “He was playing the Teen Babes from Monsanto record, and I was like, I’m going to buy that — and I did.”

This week, Lucchesi’s early 1990s-born wild surf-punk group the Trashwomen will play alongside Redd Kross for the first time ever, during the two-day slackfest Burger Boogaloo (Sat/6-Sun/7, noon-9pm, $25/day. Mosswood Park, 3612 Webster, Oakl., www.burgerboogaloo.com). The Boogaloo, a yearly collaboration between Orange County, Calif. label and shop Burger Records, and East Bay promoters Total Trash Booking, is known for bringing an eclectic, sometimes manic mix of surf, punk, garage, doo-wop, and retro rock’n’roll acts commonly associated with both organizers.

This year, for the first time, it’s all outdoors, and the headliners are impressive: Redd Kross, Jonathan Richman, the Zeroes, the Oblivions, Fuzz, the Trashwomen. The rest of the lineup is too, including Audacity, Mean Jeans, Shannon and the Clams, Mikal Cronin, Guantanamo Baywatch, and more.

The Trashwomen immediately stuck out in the stellar lineup, mostly because the other groups are all active bands. The Trashwomen haven’t played together in four years (during a brief reunion for Budget Rock in ’08), and before that, they’d been broken up since ’97. So why now?

For Total Trash’s Marc Ribak, the choice was obvious. “In the Total Trash babe bible, Trashwomen rank number one!”

But for said babes, it was all about Redd Kross. “Redd Kross is playing! We’re all big fans, so we were like,’we’ve got to do it!'” says drummer Lucchesi, sitting on a teal patterned couch in her home next to bassist Danielle “Lead Pedal” Pimm, and guitarist Elka “Kitten Kaboodle” Zolot.

Though they also mention getting stoked to see Mexican punk legends the Zeros, and Portland, Ore. sloppy surf-rock group Guantanamo Baywatch.

“We’ve gotten a lot of offers, but we all have busy lives. There was a time when we were doing it but then you know, it kind of fizzled out,” she adds. “In the early ’90s, when the garage thing was so great in San Francisco, we played with the Mummies, the Phantom Surfers, Supercharger, we all played together. And then it just kind of died out, and we did get sick of it, and each other. But it’s fun, I like getting together and playing with these guys once in awhile.”

While their initial run ended in ’97, the group left a lasting impression on future generations of San Francisco garage groups, particularly girl groups, which has surprised Zolot. “I have my Instagram, and a lot of young bands that are still in high school [post on there] like ‘oh I look up to you,’ ‘you inspire me to write music and be a girl on guitar,’ and I’m like, how did you even hear about us? It’s cool, but sometimes it shocks me that young people know who we are.”

It’s a combination of sound, style, and era that carries on the Trashwomen torch. Likely the Internet accessibility of music had a hand in it too. The music itself, on albums like debut ’93 record Spend the Night with the Trashwomen (Estrus), is a raucous jumble of raunchy original garage anthems (“Cum on Baby,” “I’m Trash”), syrupy rock’n’roll numbers (“Daddy Love”), and surf-punk covers of rare ’60s gems like the Fender Four’s “Mar Guya” and Starfire’s “Space Needle.”

The aesthetic was based in high camp and cheap glamour — also seen on the cover of Spend the Night with the Trashwomen, the trio lounging in bed together, dolled up and looking tough in leopard print bras, red lace crop tops, and black babydoll dresses.

“It came from a lot of pin-up stuff and ’60s go-go girls. We wanted to have a weird persona, I think, like Russ Meyer bad girls,” Lucchesi says.

The group was known to play live in matching outfits, often trashy lingerie. “I don’t know if you’ll see us wearing lingerie on stage again though,” Zolot says.

Though Lucchesi and Pimm do mysteriously mention possible planned outfits for Burger Boogaloo, noting that they’re working on a little something.

“There may be just a little flair,” Pimm says with a laugh.

“No bikinis though!” Zolot again reminds everyone.

The three have an easy rapport, which Pimm says took only about 22 years to master. Each time they get back together in Lucchesi’s garage, it’s like starting over fresh, but the songs eventually come rumbling back to them, she says. They’ve been practicing for about two months this time around, going back through the classic tracks, with no intention of writing new ones. “I get disappointed when I see an older band and they don’t play much of their stuff that we all grow up with,” Zolot says. Everyone nods in agreement.

The group originally came together fresh out of high school. Lucchesi and Pimm had gone to school together in Corte Madera and both moved to San Francisco at age 18, where they met Elka. She’d grown up in Los Angeles, and moved to SF, forming the psychobilly group Eightball Scratch.

The Trashwomen were supposed to be a one-off Trashmen cover band for a New Year’s party at a long-gone venue called the Chameleon, kicking off 1992 in surf garage style. The idea was masterminded by Mike Lucas from the Phantom Surfers, then a popular local surf band.

For NYE, they learned a handful of Trashmen songs, got drunk, and played the set twice.

“After that, people kept calling, so we realized, we better write a bunch of songs,” Zolot says.

Since she’d been in Eightball Scratch, she’d already been playing punk and rockabilly guitar parts, so she continued to do so in the Trashwomen, adding even more surfy reverb.

She’s been playing music since before she can remember, and as a teenager was influenced by the Go-Go’s. “I’d listen to the Go-Go’s and pretend I was on stage.”

“I think every girl did that when that album came out,” says Lucchesi, who since the Trashwomen has gone on to front a dozen bands, including the Bobbyteens. “The Ramones definitely got me more into guitar. Every day after work I would just come home and play to the tape.”

Their personal influences all seem to overlap with those creepy-sexy goth punks, the Cramps. “All the great punk stuff, and new wave, all that stuff was happening. We were lucky we got to see it,” Lucchesi says. Putting on a mock cranky-old-lady accent she adds, “Kids today, they don’t kno-ow.”

In the early days of the Trashwomen, the threesome often played the Chameleon (in the space formerly known as Chatterbox and which is now Amnesia), and also the Purple Onion, frequently popping up at lesbian nights at clubs, warehouse parties, or underground house shows. They once wore bras scrawled with the word “Feminist” to the Faster Pussycat lesbian night at FireHouse 7 in Oakland. Often, fights would break out at their shows at the Purple Onion, just the high drama of the scene.

They also once played Bimbo’s, opening up for Nina Hagen, and they flew to New York to play CBGBs, which was monumental for all three. The day after the show, they went to Coney Island, ate hot dogs, and rode the Cyclone — on which Zolot severely injured her back; she has yet to go on a rollercoaster since. They were also heckled along the boardwalk, Pimm says. “Some of the girls at Coney Island, they were like, ‘excuse me, B-52s!'”

The band also toured Europe and Japan briefly, playing alongside its Japanese equivalent, the’s.

“The Germany shows were weird,” Pimm says. “We played somewhere in East Berlin, and all these metalheads walked in and we were like, ‘this is our audience? They’re going to hate us!’ The crowd ended up not letting the Trashwomen leave the stage, standing up front with folded arms, begging them to play more.

From all the stories, it seems like an aggressive, wildly exciting time for the band, but it’s easy to see why it eventually fizzled. Lucchesi has gone on to form acts like the aforementioned Bobbyteens, and is also currently in two-person garage-punk band Cyclops with her boyfriend Jonny Cat, and Midnite Snaxxx, with former Bay Guardian staffer Dulcinea Gonzalez. She also runs Down at Lulu’s a little vintage shop and hair salon in Oakland she opened seven years back with Seth Bogart, a.k.a. Hunx, and now runs solo.

Pimm too opened a salon, Marquee, last year in Oakland, near 1-2-3-4 Go! Records.

Zolot works in catering at wineries in the Napa area, dressing like a pin-up girl and shucking oysters with a mobile oyster bar, and also does photography. She’s not currently in another band, but says she has some secret music projects in the works.

“We didn’t even know that!” Lucchesi says when Zolot reveals this.

“It’s not the same style as people would expect, so I don’t talk about it much,” Zolot says.

“I want to know — is it hip-hop?” Lucchesi jokes.

“No! That’s for Tasha, she’s got that covered,” Zolot says, speaking of her daughter, Natassia Zolot, a.k.a rapper Kreayshawn. (Kreay can be heard at age five screaming the lead on the Trashwomen single “Boys Are Toys.”)

“That’s for the younger generation,” Pimm says.

Heads Up: 6 must-see concerts this week


Not to give this family any more attention, but here I go. Are you aware of the fact that the Balloon Boy is now a long-hair tween, in a darker Hanson trio with his brothers, singing operatic heavy metal bits? It’s all here, in a Gawker long-read post. The article notes that the group (Heene Boyz) considers itself the “World’s Youngest Metal Band.” — don’t we have that already here in the Bay with our own Haunted by Heroes? Take that, Balloon Boy. (Whatever, technically they’re billed as “The World’s Youngest Rock Band.”)

But my real point is this: America, home of the free, free to whore oneself and one’s family out on reality TV, to sneak kids into homemade balloon UFOs, to shoot for fame from birth. Happy Fourth of July week, everyone. Celebrate it with the bedlam of Bob Log III, the annual Big Time Freedom Fest at El Rio or Fillmore Jazz Festival, dreamy R&B producer Giraffage, or, the snacktastic Burger Boogaloo fest with headliners Redd Kross, the Oblivians, the Trashwomen, and more! Paint your face red, white, and blue, stick a sparkler behind your ear, and rage out into the night, it’s what the founding fathers would have wanted.

Here are your must-see Bay Area concerts this week/end:

Bob Log III
What’s more US of A than a lone multi-instrumentalist on stage in a glittery bodysuit and microphone-affixed motorcycle helmet, looking like a futuristic Bowie-esque alien, and sounding like a punky blues madman, or a scrappier Bo Diddley meets the Coachwhips, on slide guitar. As the Kansas City Star puts it, “If he hired a drummer, ditched his helmet, and requested a standard swizzle stick to stir his scotch, Bob Log III would still draw an audience. His music is that entertaining.”
With The Okmoniks, Los Vincent Black Shadows (Mexico City).
Wed/3, 8:30pm, $15
Hemlock Tavern
1131 Polk, SF

Big Time Freedom Fest
It’s back, El Rio’s annual Fourth of July patio party Big Time Freedom Fest is here again, and this time brings out the worthy local Black Sabbath tribute act that is Bobb Saggeth, fronted by wailing female powerhouse Meryl Press. The band isn’t nearly as active as I’d prefer, but always plays parties on Halloween and Fourth of July, usually at places like Thee Parkside, Hemlock Tavern, and yes, El Rio. Plus, newish local heavy-psych band Golden Void headlines the show, and Wild Eyes, Couches, and Upside Drown open. And it’s all on the back patio, so you can officially say you spent the holiday outdoors, (with your favorite local rock‘n’rollers).
Thu/4, 3:30pm, $8
El Rio
3158 Mission, SF

“San Francisco-based futuristic dream R&B producer Charlie Yin has made some big leaps in 2013, with a performance at SXSW along with upcoming gigs at Southern California’s Lightning in a Bottle festival and SF’s Treasure Island Music Festival. His new album Needs on Los Angeles label Alpha Pup Records is a thesis in music manipulation, a comprehensive counterargument to straightforward 4/4. Vocal samples are up-shifted in tempo to lend a playful mood. Tracks are sometimes dipped in sonic mud halfway through, decelerating to a crawl before jumping back to normal time. But Needs never feels jerky, which owes to Yin’s tight transitions and harmonious melodies throughout. The sensual, infectious, shifty third track “Money” sounds like it will be played in lounges in 2050.” — Kevin Lee
With Mister Lies, Bobby Browser
Thu/4, 9:30pm, $13–$15
Rickshaw Stop
155 Fell
(415) 861-2011

Fillmore Jazz Festival
“Live jazz music, crafts, and gourmet food, all in one place (and most of it is free to check out). The Fillmore Jazz Festival is the largest of its kind on the West Coast, reportedly luring in a mind-blowing 100,000 visitors over the two-day event. Sultry local vocalist Kim Nalley will again bring her jazzy blues blend to the stage, as will instrumentalist-composer Peter Apfelbaum, Mara Hruby, John Santos Sextet, Beth Custer Ensemble, Crystal Money Hall, Bayonics, and Afrolicious, among many others.” — Hillary Smith
Sat/6-Sun/7, 10am-6pm, free
Fillmore Street between Jackson and Eddy, SF (800) 310-6563

“I miss Kevin Meenan’s show listings at epicsauce.com. At one time it was a go-to for highlights of small shows going on in the city, filler free, and super reliable for finding a new act to see live. Meenan has since dropped the showlist (perhaps made redundant with the availability of social apps), but is still active with his regular event Push The Feeling. This edition features a DJ set by English born, LA musician, Simon ‘Woolfy’ James, whose eclectic and spacey post-punk dance sensibility first got my attention with the caressingly Balearic “Looking Glass” and the recent James Murphy-esque snappy cut on Permanent Release, ‘Junior’s Throwin’ Craze.’” — Ryan Prendiville
With Bruse (Live), YR SKULL, and epicsauce DJs
Sat/6, 9pm-2am, $6, free before 10 w/ RSVP
Underground SF
424 Haight, SF

Burger Boogaloo
We blurbed this early: everyone is talking about the disparate headliners early LA punk band Redd Kross and Modern Lover/singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman — and rightfully so, they are incredible — but can we also take a minute to thank satan for the Trashwomen addition to the lineup? For those somehow unaware, the Trashwomen are Bay Area noisy surf-punk royalty, born of the ‘90s, and featuring Tina Lucchesi (of every band, ever), Danielle Pimm, and Elka Zolot (Kreayshawn’s hot mama). Check the paper this week for an interview with the Trashwomen. And check Mosswood Park for a sloppy soul dance party.
With the Zeroes, Oblivians, Fuzz, Mikal Cronin, Audacity, Guantanamo Baywatch, Mean Jeans, Pangea
Sat/6-Sun/7, noon-9pm, $25
Mosswood Park
3612 Webster, Oakl.

Hey rock’n’rollers, the Burger Boogaloo is back


Burger Records is super excited for this year’s Burger Boogaloo. There will be fun outdoor events, DJs, special guests, contests with Burger Records prize giveaways, vendors from local Oakland eateries, and all the Burger merch you could imagine!  

And of course, let’s not forget the entertainment: Redd Cross, Johnathan Richman, Fuzz, Shannon & the Clams, Mikal Cronin, and much more. Get more info on the full, impressive lineup and buy advance tickets here. There will also be surprises, so stay tuned.

Saturday July 6 & Sunday, July 7 @ Mosswood Park, Oakl.


Psycho beach party



TOFU AND WHISKEY Why don’t more surfers listen to surf music? I found myself in one of those fuzzy-eyed, web-based black holes, frustrated, rhetorically asking the question through the endless prism of social media a few months back. And furthermore, why don’t surfer-musicians play authentic surf rock? While the sound was born in Southern California in the early 1960s, most of the early musicians who incorporated it weren’t active participants in the sport for which it was named, save for Dick Dale. The oft-repeated story is that Dale wanted to reflect the sounds he heard in his mind while surfing. And around that time, Santa Ana, Calif. based guitar-maker Fender even ran ads with beach babes and the tag “Fender makes music to surf by.”

But in the past few decades at least, the more prominent surfer-musicians seem to mostly vacillate between producing pop-punk, reggae, or more commonly, your ubiquitous, folky, banana pancake-loving Jack Johnson boredom block.

Tom Curren is in an elite class, a world champion surfer and son of legendary big-wave rider Pat Curren, he’s an athlete who took all his souped-up energy, and left his sport to pursue…folk rock. He released first album In Plain View in March.

During an ancient ritual in which I participated last week — that would be my honeymoon on Oahu — the bus drivers, tour leaders, cabbies, and general friendly tourist industry folks kept offering up slice-of-life songs for our listening pleasure. You like music? Well, get a load of this beach-ready sound. Cue soft rock (Hawaiian-born) Jack Johnson, or, the late Honolulu singer-ukulele musician Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole. We heard Iz’s “Somewhere Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World” medley no fewer than 15 times in seven days. I asked my husband, who grew up surfing on the Central Coast, what was up with the surfer/surf rock divide and he quietly responded, “I’ve never participated in surf culture, I have no idea.”

When I returned to work this week, I asked local surf musician Donald Bell of Aloha Screwdriver a similar question, and he shut it down more academically, “I can’t speak for surfers. I don’t surf. I grew up skateboarding. I don’t know a single one of our fans who surf. What’s funny is that our biggest fans live in the gloomiest climates. We have a bunch of fans in Seattle.” He added, “I think that Californians have a kind of cultural cringe when they hear surf music, because it’s the kind of thing that always gets played in the background whenever a California beach scene is shown on TV. It can feel cliché. But once you get outside of California, that baggage tends to disappear and you get treated like an exotic import.”

Bell got it though, what I was after. I wanted the explosive electric guitar of Dale and the Trashmen, the wet noodling power of ’90s revival acts like Phantom Surfers and Man Or Astro-Man?, or powerful throwback shock of Guantanamo Baywatch or Trashwomen (those last two, by the way, will play the Burger Boogaloo fest July 6-7 in Oakland). OK, so Hawaii wasn’t technically the place to find the thriving surf rock stuff; if I’m being fair, I knew the style I desired wasn’t based there. Plus, I didn’t exactly plow through underground punk shows while visiting, being buried deep in the sand and fruity alcohol-based beverages and all.

So maybe it doesn’t matter if professional surfer-musicians are out there playing the music of their cultural ancestors, there’s still an avid fan base.

A week earlier, the husband and I walked down the aisle to the Ventures, “Walk Don’t Run” (“Pipeline” was considered but ultimately dismissed). See, this was the music I grew up loving. The vroom-vroom-vroom of wild guitar riffs, heavy reverb, Eastern scales, rapid and escalating drumming peaking, crescendoing, wiping out. Proto-beach punk.

“People forget that before the Beatles hit, surf music was once pop music in this country. Right now, pop music is very focused on a synthetic sound, but everything comes back around,” Bell says.

And there will be a fix of the good stuff nearby this weekend, at radio station KFJC’s Battle of the Surf Bands benefit (Sat/18, noon, $10, all ages. The Surf Spot, 4627 Coast Hwy., Pacifica. www.kfjc.org). Bell’s Alameda-based trio will play the yearly event for the second time. And the 16-band battle also includes Beachkrieg, Deadbeats, Mighty Surf Lords, Tomorrowmen, Frankie and the Pool Boys, Meshugga Beach Party, and more surf acts with cheeky names. The event benefits the station itself, and also will be broadcast using Live Cam.

Given that it does often feel like a maligned art form, the abundance of traditional surf bands participating every year at KFJC’s event (now in its sixth year) seems surprising.

“There are probably more surf rock groups in the Bay Area than any other location in the world,” Bell says, naming off many that will play the battle, and beyond. “A lot of that has to do with the continued support of KFJC and DJs like Phil Dirt and Cousin Mary who really championed the genre…I formed my first surf band when I was 16, and Dirt brought us into the studio to play live on the air for 30 minutes. It was crazy to have that kind of outlet. It’s unheard of.”

Now in his early 30s, Bell has continued to play in surf bands with his musician friends from high school — drummer Steve Slater and bassist Grant Shellen. They grew up together in Fremont and that’s where they formed that first band: Chachi, Boba Fett and the Wookiee. Bell says he initially found the genre through the surf revival acts of the ’90s like the Phantom Surfers and Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet, but then, once he was hooked, he tumbled backward toward the Ventures, Link Wray, the Shadows, and of course, Dale.

Aloha Screwdriver began in ’09, and the trio plays all instrumental music. “Sometimes it veers into rockabilly or like a Ennio Morricone spaghetti western vibe, or even like a Disney Haunted Mansion feel, but I’m always holding our songs up to this idea that they could carry a Tarantino-worthy action sequence.”



Listen to Myron and E’s single “If I Gave You My Love” and you’ll start to feel some involuntary movements, your head bouncing in agreement, shoulders shimmying side to side. It’s the nature of the solid gold soul beast. The duo was recently signed to tastemaker Stones Throw, and will release newest album Broadway, backed by Timmion Records house band the Soul Investigators, on the label July 2. With a handful of 45s already out there, the two — Bay Area bred Myron Glasper and Eric “E da Boss” Cooke — have successfully maneuvered an authentic soul sound that’s at once smooth and celebratory (with the help of some well-placed horns). The duo, which met on tour with Blackalicious, stops by Berkeley this weekend for the East Bay Soul Stomp 2. With Bang Girl Group Revue, New Love Soul Revue, DJ Derek See, DJ Der.

Sat/18, 8pm, $9–$12. Starry Plough, 3101 Shattuck, Berk.www.starryploughpub.com.



The first thing you need to know about Black Pus is that it’s just a looping Brian Chippendale — he of Lighting Bolt fame. For this project, the madman drummer (and forever art-school kid at heart) uses percussion, a triggered oscillator, and those echoing, distorted Lightning Bolt style vocals you’d expect. Most tracks sound like a spaceship lifting off and exploding into starry darkness, repeatedly. With CCR Headcleaner, Reptilian Shape Shifters.

Sat/18, 9:30, $10. Hemlock Tavern, 1131 Polk, SF. www.hemlocktavern.com.


Get festy: Burger Boogaloo, BottleRock, and nachos


Flop, flop, flop. Can you hear that? It could be a burger flipping. Or maybe that’s the sound of your tanned, bloated belly landing between crisp white sheets after long stretches of outdoor music-listening, dirt(y) dancing, craft beer-imbibing, and gourmet food stand-patronizing. It’s festival season, and there’ve been some tasty developments in the past couple of weeks.

Burger Boogaloo (July 6-7) excited Oaklanders and beyond by releasing its delictable lineup full of icons and punks, Outside Lands (Aug. 9-11) announced its even fancier food lineup, and hey, BottleRock is this weekend (May 9-12)

BottleRock Napa (May 9-12)
So BottleRock is a bit of a trek — it’s out in Napa Valley, but it’s a four-day-long fest in a real pretty location (that’s bound to get more unclouded sun than SF). It kicks off this Thu/9 with live music, food, comedy and yes, beer and wine. The top billing on the lineup is a bit ho-hum, with broadly appealing rock’n’roll, blues rock, and folk acts like Kings of Leon, the Black Keys, and Zac Brown Band, but there’s also the Flaming Lips, the Shins, and the thunderous Alabama Shakes. And for a certain breed of ‘90s kid: Primus and Cake.

There’s a safe, solid comedy showing too, with Jim Gaffigan, Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro, Rob Delaney, and Daily Show alums Wyatt Cenac, Kristen Schaal, and Aasif Mandvi (not appearing together).

Tickets: www.bottlerocknapavalley.com.


Burger Boogaloo (July 6-7)
Here’s the one to watch. Burger Records just keeps outdoing itself. It has fests around the country (including a recent biggie on its home turf of Orange County, Burgerama II) and brings together an elite mix of sloppy, legendary, and up-and-coming surf, garage, fun punk, and slack doo-wop acts. Burger Boogaloo is even more special because it brings Burger together with our own local slop heroes Total Trash Booking, for a mega-fest created by two equally appealing masters. Plus, the Boogaloo is in a park, so things could get steamy.

Everyone is talking about the disparate headliners early LA punk band Red Kross and Modern Lover/singer-songwriter Jonathan Richman — and rightfully so, they are incredible — but can we also take a minute to thank satan for the Trashwomen addition to the lineup? Epic. For those somehow unaware, the Trashwomen are Bay Area noisy surf-punk royalty, born of the ‘90s, and featuring Tina Lucchesi (of every band ever), Danielle Pimm, and Elka Zolot (Kreayshawn’s hot mama).

Add to that Ty Segall’s early trio Traditional Fools, Audacity, Guantanamo Baywatch (listen to thumping “Barbacoa” now, please), and Pangea. And, with the addition of NY Night Train’s Jonathan Toubin, there will be a Mosswood Park soul clap dance off.

I can hardly wait to kick off these smelly sneakers.

Tickets: www.burgerboogaloo.com.

Outside Lands (Aug. 9-11)
The crème de le crème of foodie-meets-rocker outdoor fêtes, Outside Lands knows what its fan base wants. So with nearly as much fanfare as its band lineup (which this year includes Paul McCartney, Phoenix, D’Angelo, Foals, and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and around 20 or so others), the fest also releases its noted food vendor roundup.

There are 75 food stuff sellers at Outside Lands’ “A Taste of the Bay Area” 2013 including “returning favorites” like massive pizza truck Del Popolo, carnival fare brick-and-mortar business Straw, 4505 Meats, American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, and Pacific Catch. Newbies this year include newish SF favorite Wise Sons Deli, Rich Table, 1300 on Fillmore, Blue Bottle Coffee Co., and Nopa offshoot, Nopalito. And worry not, my personal favorite from last year (besides Metallica), Azalina’s, will be back with the Malaysian nachos that stole my blackened heart.

The vendors are usually placed in two distinct sections, with somewhat close proximity to the main stages, plus there’s the Wine Lands circus tent, Beer Lands, and Chocolate Lands. So much better than overcooked hot dogs and stale keg beer, right?

Tickets: www.sfoutsidelands.com.

Feeding time



MUSIC In San Antonio last week, waking up on a living room floor with assorted Burger Records crew members and friends, record label and brick-and-mortar record shop owner Sean Bohrman, 30, was already thinking three steps ahead.

The next morning at 11 a.m., the traveling Burger pen would play a pre-South By Southwest Burger blowout. Then it was off to Austin for the official SXSW showcases. A few more shows along the way, and now shattered fragments of the unofficial posse will hit the impressively titled Burger Boogaloo fest in San Francisco this weekend.

The three-day affair, which takes place at Thee Parkside — with pre-parties Wed/21 at Bottom of the Hill and Thurs/22 at the Knockout — boasts a motley, pizza-and-burger loving pack of noisy garage rockers, fuzzed out post-punkers, and sleazy generally genre-less local and national acts such as King Tuff, Audacity, Dukes of Hamburg, Heavy Cream, Dominant Legs, White Mystery, Thee Oh Sees, Strange Boys, Burnt Ones, Tough Shits, and a whole lot more.

It’s a mix of Burger bands and acts that play the fall SF festival, Total Trash Fest (some are one in the same). The Boogaloo began when Total Trash organizer Marc Ribak contacted Burger last year with the idea and it snowballed organically from there, says Bohrman.

It’s no huge surprise that Ribak, who is also a member of Rock N Roll Adventure Kids, and the Burger dudes hooked up — they have similar styles and lots of crossover acts.

“Music in general is a huge web — everyone is connected. That is my favorite part — who produced what, who recorded what, what bands everyone was in before,” Bohrman says. “To just be following the web, to be creating our own web, has been really amazing and awesome.”

Burger began as a way for Bohrman and longtime pal Lee “Noise” Rickard to put out their own music, Thee Makeout Party — a bedroom rock band formed in Anaheim in 2001. The label really started in 2007 when Bohrman and Rickard were cruising around in nearby Fullerton, Calif. one day talking about putting out a record for another friend’s band, Audacity. They decided to put it out, and thus an indie label was born. Burger has since dispersed 50,000 cassette tapes from more than 200 bands, and released over 15 LPS.

In 2009 Bohrman was hoping to tour with Thee Makeout Party but his job wouldn’t let him go. He quit, cashed out his 401k and funneled it back into the label, also purchasing a storefront in Fullerton with Brian “Burger” Flores, which would become the Burger Records store. It’s naturally the buzzing hub of the empire.

Whenever Vermont-born, LA-based King Tuff (aka Kyle Thomas, also of Happy Birthday) visits the store, he says he essentially walks away with a new record collection. “They’ve created a family — I go down to the record store and just hang out. It’s really like we’re all part of something.”

While King Tuff is officially signed to Sub Pop — which he also describes as having a familial atmosphere — he also is a part of the greasy outstretched arms of Burger (it put out his limited, personalized LP Was Dead). While the acts may be loosely tied together as friends, there’s no set of rules dictating what makes a Burger band.

“We’ve been successful by putting out stuff we really love, not beholden to any genre. This is our life. We can do whatever we want. There’s no ceiling above us. We can do anything, even if it seems impossible,” says the endlessly upbeat Bohrman.

His voice slightly raising, he adds, “The music means something to us. When we hear music it’s not ‘are we going to be able to sell this in a commercial’ or something. It’s about people making awesome music, not selling the songs for a Pepsi commercial.”

That’s how King Tuff grew up making music as well, without the predetermined rules of industry. He recalls his dad bringing home a guitar one day when he was in fifth grade, picking it up, and learning to play. “I was never interested in learning covers, and I never took lessons.” That improvisational spirit shows in his brief, freaky jams with surf-tinged psychedelic guitar and nasally intonations; it’s waves of stringy hair and rattling bones, jittery lyrics like those in “Bad Thing” off his upcoming self-titled release, “when I play my Stratocaster/I feel like an innocent kid/But when I’m looking in the mirror/Remember the bad things I did”

You can hear some of these same freaky-jittery qualities in the heaping mess of acts playing the Boogaloo in SF this week, and for that matter, Burgerama, another like-minded, Burger Records-endorsed fest happening concurrently down south. On top of all the fests, Bohrman and Co. are still producing cassettes (“Cassettes are handy, they’re like little business cards, they’re durable and cheap to make and buy.”) and running a successful little shop.

“It’s been a dream come true, but it’s still so much work. We just keep piling it on for ourselves,” Bohrman sighs. “It’s hard building a legacy.”


Fri/23-Sun/25, individual shows $7–$12, weekend pass $35

Thee Parkside

1600 17th St., SF

(415) 252-1330

Facebook: Burger Boogaloo 2012

Satisfying crunch



MUSIC For three nights, Burger Boogaloo is going to sate the appetites of Bay Area garage fiends with a hunger for rock. It makes perfect sense that the weekend event is building to a Sunday night finale involving Midnite Snaxx. Sharing the stage with Nobunny, as well as Shannon Shaw’s side project, Egg Tooth, the Snaxx bring a skilled chef’s resume to the bill: Tina Lucchesi, a hairstylist at Down at Lulu’s by day, has blasted amps in bands such as the Bobbyteens and Trashwomen, while Dulcinea Gonzalez, who does time at the Guardian while the sun is out, was a member of the Loudmouths. (Bassist Renee Leal of the LaTeenos completes the trio.) I recently caught up with guitarist-vocalist Gonzalez and drummer Lucchesi.

SFBG You two are garage rock veterans. How do you feel about the Bay Area garage scene right now?

Tina Lucchesi It’s different now, for sure. It’s younger.

Dulcinea Gonzalez I’m happy to be playing music. We haven’t lost our lust for rock ‘n’ roll.

SFBG One of your songs is “October Nights.” What’s special about that time of year?

DG October is when Budget Rock is happening. We tend to party hard, and the weather tends to be better. [The song’s] a celebration of rock ‘n’ roll and living in the Bay Area.

TL It’s Rocktober!

DG Tina wants us to have a record cover where we’re werewolves, like Ozzy Osbourne [on the cover of Bark at the Moon].

SFBG Are there any looks you have in mind for upcoming shows or photos?

DG Don’t give Tina any ideas, she loves to dress up. We had taco suits for Halloween. We hope to do a video soon where we can express our funnier side.

TL This is a T-shirt, tennis shoes, leather jacket kind of band, which is good. It’s cas.

SFBG Why do you think there’s such a connection between garage rock and food, especially in the Bay Area, with bands like yours and Personal and the Pizzas, and labels like Burger Records?

DG I guess it has to do with wanting satisfaction right away. We like our music a little dirty, sleazy, fun, and poppy, and those kinds of foods are the same way — a guilty pleasure.

SFBG What are some of Midnite Snaxx’s favorite snacks?

TL Probably nachos — the vegetarian nachos from [Taqueria] Cancun, with cheese. The midnight buffet that drunkenly happens at my house dips into anything in the fridge.

DG Pizza from Lanesplitter’s. We’ve had some terrible, terrible Taco Bell runs after practice and going to the Avenue.

TL Sometimes we get healthy and go eat sushi at Koryo because they’re open until 3 a.m.

DG That’s when we just got paid.

TL They have half-off specials now. [laughs]

SFBG What’s on the Midnight Snaxx menu, recording and release-wise?

DG We put out our first single on Raw Deluxe. Our next single is on Total Punk Records, an offshoot of Floridas Dying. It comes out in May. Then we have big plans to record our LP for Red Lounge Records in Germany, which will be out in the summer.

SFBG How did you wind up on a German label?

DG This guy [Martin Christoph of Red Lounge] follows a lot of the bands that Tina’s been in and he knew one of my past bands, and he liked the rawness of our recordings. We’re stoked. Hopefully this means we get to go to Europe.

TL Time for schnitzel and beer [laughs].

DG Jason Testasecca from Nobunny is recording the album at Tina’s house.

SFBG Is there anything that people should expect from Midnite Snaxx at your Burger Fest show?

DG Tina, what are you gonna do?

TL They should expect a full-blast snack attack all over their faces.


Fri/25–Sun/27, $10

Thee Parkside

1600 17th St., SF

(415) 252-1330