For fans of great rock/punk mixed with psychedelic highlights, the Burgerama Caravan of the Stars tour was like a musical Christmas—complete with drunken people bashing into things (or other drunk people), and also a little blood.
The band,together PANGEA is a powerhouse. This L.A band was the first to take the Il Motore stage, and therefore played to a thin crowd of hesitant bobbers. Even though their performances are best consumed in a rowdy jumping moshpit, together PANGEA put on a set that displayed musical prowess, and released some of the best, extremely tight and unhinged, SoCal pop-punk on the scene today. As the quick upbeat song “Snakedog” took off, and singer/guitarist William Keegan and bassist Danny Bengston sang out “NOBODY TOLD YOU, YOU HAD TO BE ALIVE/ AS FAR AS I CARE, YOU CAN ALL DIE!” it became even clearer that one viewing of the band isn’t enough.
Next, the show dove into the world of Ohio psychedelic wild child Gabriel Fulvimar, who’s known as Gap Dream. The crowd was equally lulled into a trance, and awakened by odd otherworldly jolts of sounds like lasers, and groovy synth and guitar. The musicians were so hunched over and into their playing that you sometimes can’t see anyone on stage.
“I think they were on drugs when writing these songs!” one concert-goer whispered.
Halfway through the set, Fulvimar sauntered front stage and launched a handful of glowing glitter into the audience.
Meanwhile, in the dim lighting over the crowd, Growlers’ drummer Scott Montoya could be seen holding up and studying his drink which was adorned with lemons. He then proceeded to take a picture of it, and then zoomed in on the picture, most likely to further his studies.
Then came Cosmonauts, a California quartet who pulled the growing crowd into their drone-pop/ drug-drenched melodies. The room was hit by a wall of feedback and a simple, pulsing beat. As the end nears, and the heavy psychedelic vibe is amping up higher, all three band mates in the front chime in to sing together methodically. Each member is highly concentrated and gazing into the distance behind their shaggy hair. It seemed like getting another beer wasn’t a thought on anyone’s mind until Cosmonauts hit their final note.
Finally, the much anticipated Growlers stomped the stage. Bassist Anthony Braun Perry appeared wearing a sombrero—which actually belonged to the writer of this review. “Only use the red lights!” frontman Brooks Nielson requested. With that, the weird and wonderful music of The Growlers set off. The unique South-American drawl that accompanies each song prompted the audience to begin a bruise-inducing but outrageously exciting “weird wiggle” mosh-pit. The occasional mosher sang out all the words to songs like “The Graveyard’s Full” and “Acid Rain.” One jumping audience member had his hand cut, but carried on regardless of the blood, which stained the clothes of whoever had the misfortune of wearing light colors.
The cool and laid-back Growlers effortlessly played their set and bolstered the revved-up crowd. Their songs, a perfect pairing of drugs and musical genius, played late into the incredible Burgerama Caravan of the Stars tour night.
This writer is incredibly happy to have been a part of it all, and is also happy the sombrero was adopted by an awesome bunch of musicians, The Growlers.