Updated: Jan 17
Burger Boogaloo...the most refreshing annual two day music festival to hit Northern California. Mostly punk, old school and new...and always some nice surprises along the way. It takes place at Mosswood Park in Oakland. Its nicely laid out, although the entrance can be a timely process, its fairly well run and somewhat organized. Always a nice colourful crowd in attendance, and many famous artists can be seen, enjoying the weekend on blankets in the shade.
Although the lineup was, and is always great, some of the bands of the I knew of, some were lovely unexpected gifts. Firestarter was one of them. Its a guitar-centric Japanese old school hardcore punk band. Super good if you like old school punk, super loud, so much so, I had to stand back after my ears started hurting and the organs in my body began to move from being way too close to the speakers. But I did enjoy this band for sure. The Mummies, Mudhoney, Hunx and his Punx, and Quintron and Miss Pussycat were a few of the others playing Burger Boogaloo 2018.
The Boogaloo lineup this year included the headliners, Devo and The Damned. Both great. I saw The Damned last year and they were great but I dont think I've ever seen Devo before and I didn't know what to expect with them, and was pleasantly surprised, because they were amazing! As I was shooting Devo, I found myself singing every word to every song. I thoroughly enjoyed going back in my mind to that time in my life and I loved every minute of their performance. Devo united for this one performance after being off the scene for four years. Fred Armisen played drums with them, which was a bonus, and he did great. Mark Mothersbaugh had a lot to say about trump, not in a good way, and thats always entertaining. Especially after the intro that John Waters did when he was introducing Devo. Waters had the most colourful things to say about trumps' 'assholism' and twisted ways hes conducting himself in front of the world. All true and hitting the nail on the head (in my opinion). Very entertaining indeed. But John Waters is always the icing on the cake at this event, for me. In fact I started going to Boogaloos BECAUSE Waters was the MC! A much loved icon from my teens. And this year, as I was backstage a lot, and I got to chat with the man himself. That, for me, was probably one of my favourite memories from the festival.
My best takeaways from this festival, aside from Devos' fab set and my chat with John Waters...the wonderful musical surprise I came away with, was the band, Giuda, (pronounced JUDA). One of my photographer friends told me a little about these guys and he was pretty sure I'd like them...but I had no idea how much! My elation whilst these guys played, was a feeling similar to when I saw Fantastic Negrito and Jamiroquai...sheer joy. Although music is invisible, I feel it. A powerful feeling that may be similar, but is definitley different from a feeling that comes from a buzz one gets from from drink, drugs, or amazing sex. However, it can be compared to the moment of orgasm or 'peaking' on a trip. Let me put it this way...sex can always feel good, but its those times whilst achieving the strongest orgasm, that stand out in ones mind for being special. For lack of a better description, Giuda is one of those orgasms! Its such a beautiful organic pure joy that is felt. With music, or even outstanding musical moments. It doesn't happen that often, so, when it happens, its a special experience...and, oh my...you really know it!
A little bit about this band...Giuda is a band from Rome, the center of Italy. With a 70's glam sound, and injected with a wonderful taste of punk. A modern day mix of flavorful spices from great music of the past and a feeling from the present. Although, Italian is their first language, they sing only in English. Together, Giuda is one of those rare energies, like Negrito or Springsteen, and if you like The Sweet, the glam band of the 70's...you'll love Giuda!
Before they were Giuda, they were TAXI. A punk band. Taxi signed with Dead Beat Records in LA. When the drummer of Taxi tragically passed away, they regrouped as Giuda. They are still considered one of the best Italian punk bands ever, and a band who influenced the punk scene in Italy in the 90's and 00's. Giuda began in 2007 and has always been connected to Taxi. These guys have been friends for forever, and I'm told by Danilo, (their producer and sound engineer since the Taxi days), that there are photos of these guys from way back when they were children, playing together as early as age 8.
As Giuda, they are a five piece band, with a lead singer that will blow your head off with his powerful passionate performance. I'm pretty sure by the end of their set, there were many excited women in the crowd! He's hot! He goes by 'Ntenda', but his real name is, Ntendarere Djodji Damas. 'Tenda' is African and Italian, and is 40 years old, and the oldest member of the band. And theres also guitarist Lorenzo Moretti, bass player Mattia Mari, lead guitarist Michele Malagnini, and drummer Alex "Dusty" Cataldo. If we could only bottle their energy and passion! I wish more artists had some of it! But remember, these guys are Italian, and in my personal experience, Italians are not lacking in passion, and Tenda, Giudas' lead singer exemplifies this.
Their debut album, "Racey Roller" quickly became an underground sensation. And Giuda has been getting praise from many top publications such as, Mojo, The Guardian, and Rolling Stone. The band has done several Europen tours and five USA/North American tours. They play at festivals as well as most recently they are touring with The Damned, as the openers.
To wrap this up...If this sounds like your kinda music...and you notice that Giuda is playing in your town...run, dont walk to this gig!