At last, you patient punks: here's my coverage of Day Two of Burger Boogaloo 2017 in swingin' Oakland, Cal-i-for-ni-a! When we last left off, it was the end of a very full and exciting Day One (<-- CLICK THAT to read all about it) which included thrilling sets by the likes of Redd Kross, Guitar Wolf, and (OMG) Iggy Pop, and the far-less-enjoyable Fence Incident™. Said Incident had Your Indomitable Photographer moving slowwwwly on Day Two, which led to me not being able to cover the first three bands of the day on the Gone Shrimpn Amphitheater stage (Patsy's Rats, who are going to be at Seattle's Capitol Hill Block Party July 21, the glamorous Glitter Wizard, and cool cat Roy Loney), and then later in the day, the fab and far-out Quintron and Ms. Pussycat). I regret these omissions and encourage all of you nice people to check out their music and buy their things! Well, only the things they want to sell you like music downloads and t-shirts; don't show up at their homes trying to get a deal on a pencil sharpener or duvet cover or dining set, OK?

By the way, every music festival should have John Waters as host and a giant billboard with his face on it.

Despite my sadface at arriving late-ish to the party, it was a beautiful sunny day and my first band of Day Two was a huge motivating factor to fly down from Seattle to attend this year's Boogaloo: seeing my Miami sunshine punk sweethearts, Jacuzzi Boys! Superfriend and JB manager Rob Budowsky was also along, so it was like a family reunion of sorts, and turned my sadface into a giant smile right away. The band had the same effect on the crowd hustling over to the Butt City stage to see them: grins everywhere, lots of dancing/moshing, great energy. 

The inimitable Chuck Ribak introduced them, and promised the crowd they would hear them play "Double Vision," which was TRUE. They also played several songs from their latest (and I think best) album, "Ping Pong," which of course you should already own. You do, don't you?

(Click on the photos to enlarge and click on the Flickr set links for more!)

I don't do a lot of band portraits, but OF COURSE when given the opportunity to lie on my stomach in front of a large Portapotty to photograph these boys, I jump at the chance! Or, more accurately, awkwardly lower myself to the ground! I'd like to note that this was a Portapotty of Distinction™, being far larger and cleaner than nearly every rock n' roll club bathroom I've ever been in.

After awkwardly rising from the grass, I hustled (awkwardly) over to Gone Shrimpn to see shimmery, simmerin' surf rock purveyors La Luz. It was very sweet to greet them once more, having been to several of their early gigs in Seattle before the band moved to Los Angeles a few years ago. Even sweeter was watching their faces as John Waters gave them a glowing introduction, and seeing how much the crowd loved them, too.

Back over at Butt City, I marveled that I had never seen NRBQ play live before! You'd think that at some point in their 50+-year history we'd have crossed paths, but nay -- July 2, 2017 was going to be the day. What is punk about NRBQ, you may ask? Well, they play what they damn well want to -- no set lists, no adherence to musical genre, whatever they feel like groovin' to is on today's menu, punk, and you're gonna EAT IT! Plus, they've gone through more band members than your mom's had shitty boyfriends, and still keep doing their thang. It was a nifty lil' moment to the afternoon.

After a rest and a very good Cheeseboy burger, it was back to Butt City to see FM Knives, hailing from Sacramento. Our friend Chuck Ribak once again treated the crowd to some groaner jokes, but this time was caught RED-HANDED and pushed off the stage!

FM Knives was a smart addition to the day's lineup, because they definitely have that crunchy, fast, old school British '70 pop punk sound...similar to headliners Buzzcocks. They put on an impressive, impassioned show and were definitely one of the standouts of the weekend. If you don't own their 2002 album, "Useless and Modern," hunt it down and throw money at someone until they sell it to you.  

By the time I returned to the Gone Shrimpn stage, it was absolutely packed with fans, fans of fans, bands, bands of fans, bands of bands, and more. Why? Because Oakland's own Shannon and the Clams were getting ready to close out Shrimpn in inimitable Clam style! And, oh, you have never heard such rapturous words flowing from the mouth of John Waters...he loves loves loves this band for their ultra-cool retro vibe and authenticity they bring to to their music. It's such an appealing mix of the very best of early '60s pop, effortlessly infusing surf pop, girl groups, classic soul, goofy novelty songs, and pre-hippie Beatles into a sound all their own. Most importantly, they are Fun with a capital F, which is what a lot of folks don't remember about rock n' roll. It started out Fun, and if I have any say in it, will end up Fun!

There were a whole lot of people ready to Fun, and you can see them flinging their bodies crowd-ward, to be held up by strangers who also enjoy Fun. Alas, Mr. Waters did no flinging of his self, but did seem to enjoy the set in a robust way. I was feeling quite joyful myself to be able to see the Clams in front of a hometown crowd, love was alllll around.

This adorable kid in the Burger Boogaloo shirt was my favorite crowd surfer. You'll see him later, too.

IT ME! Thanks for the photo, Johnny Samra!

A different kind of festival photographer!

 Here's Marc Ribak and Friends slingshotting some Boogaloo swag to the audience!

And at the end, the bands of bands came onstage and everyone played nicely and then ran over to Butt City. I think that blue wig really suits Chuck Ribak.

You maybe wouldn't think that the seminal L.A. punk band X would've appealed to me in the early '80s. After all, I was a teenager living in a minuscule farm town in south central Wisconsin, and my musical DNA was stamped much earlier in my life with '60s British Invasion bands and American garage rock. How could I relate to X's poetic, dark songs about marital discord, punk house life, and nausea, bloody red eyes, as I sat in my room with the flowered curtains eating cheese and sausage sandwiches? It was the music that pulled me in first, that still-unique sound of Exene Cervenka and John Doe's harmonies, atonality sometimes zig-zagging over a warm, deeply melodic base, the rockbilly riffs thrown in by guitarist Billy Zoom, and the tribal thump of drummer DJ Bonebrake. Their albums were produced so beautifully by the Doors' Ray Manzarek, far more set up for repeated listens than many of the punk records of the time. So I listened, and let the words wash into my brain slowly, forming imaginary pictures of a place I had yet to visit...those pictures becoming surprisingly and starkly real when I did come to Los Angeles in 1983 and 1984.

To be able to see X again in 2017 and hear those songs performed by John, Exene, Billy, and DJ is very moving. I think it was emotional for many others my age, and the youngers who discovered the band maybe decades later, here at the Boogaloo. Of course, they were perfect, and never more so than when John Doe dedicated "Please Come Back To Me" to the victims and survivors of the Oakland Ghost Ship warehouse fire.

X, Burger Boogaloo 2017, Oakland, CA. 7/2/17 Flickr set link

And then as the sun set and John Waters finished up his last erudite and hilarious introduction of the festival, the excitement began to rumble through the crowd as Day Two's headliners, the weird and wonderful Buzzcocks, strode onto the stage, and then everyone just went NUTS! The whole audience seemed to know every single word of every single song (at least all the ones from "Singles Going Steady"), crowd surfers bubbled up and under and over sideways down, and water and who knows what else kind of liquids were flung high in the sky. The crowd jumped in unison all old-style pogo, and the band seemed genuinely blown away, Steve Diggle in particular, delighted by the reception. I too had to put down my camera every so often to shout out lyrics along with everyone else, and dance (very gingerly), because duh, that's what it's all about!

As we left the Mosswood Park grounds, hearing names called out in the dark looking for their rides home and snippets of conversation about favorite songs and that one guy who did that super-crazy thing and seeing the security guys high-five each other and finally eat some dinner and couples hold hands and friends laughing in the light of the streetlamps, I thought, man, I gotta come back next year. Burger Boogaloo, you the best.

Buzzcocks, Burger Boogaloo 2017, Oakland, CA. 7/2/17 Flickr set link 

Thanks to more people than I can begin to name who helped make this experience possible and very special...Marc and Chuck Ribak, Amy Carver, Sean Kawa, Jim DeLuca, Jacob Daneman, Rob Budowsky, Lars Finberg, Johnny Samra, absolutely all the rest of the staff and security who treated me at all times with kindness and patience, and of course all the bands. I love you all!