Oakland, California is definitely one of those places that can get easily overlooked. Sure, it had Berkeley and a storied history of social activism, but it tends to get forgotten in favor of its flashier next door neighbor, San Francisco. However, for many years, it quietly served as the home base for the garage music scene in the Bay Area. All the things that brought the New York music and art scene to the farthest reaches of Brooklyn are at play here.
Of the many happenings in this fair city, Burger Records’ yearly fest, Burger Boogaloo, has been one of the highlights of not just the Bay Area but also the rock music community in general. This year’s line-up proved no less impressive an array of seasoned veterans and hungry up-and-comers. Devo, The Damned alongside, The Rip Offs, Japan’s Firestarter, Italy’s Guida, and on and on.
Starting this year’s celebration, however, was DJ Sid Presley‘s opening night meet and greet at the Octopus Literary Lounge. Presley, the nom de plume of impresario David Greenfield, has been one of the leading forces of bringing talent to the city. A charming fellow, his optimism easily evident in even a small chat with him. Not only are his shows immaculately curated: He also has some of the best posters I have seen in quite a while.
The Octopus Literary Salon is quite an interesting venue. Smaller than I expected, it’s a small storefront in downtown Oakland. As Presley related, the promoters of Burger Boogaloo approached him and asked him to organize an opening party. However, once he secured the small space (which doubles as a cafe during the day), much to his surprise things started moving quicker than expected. Several of the bands he asked to perform asked him if it was OK to bring along friends. Some touring in the area from abroad. Before he knew it, he had secured an international line-up of talent.
Opening the show were The Teutonics, followed by SF’s own The Ogres, featuring a member of The Phantom Surfers. They were quickly followed by Spain’s Ramona and France’s Jon and the Vons. Closing up the night were Boston’s Muck and the Mires. The atmosphere was celebratory, and the vibe was one of good fun and camaraderie. A hallmark of the Oakland scene.
As if to prove my point, on my way out I noticed a member of The Teutonics talking to friends and fans. Walking over I enthusiastically mentioned how much I enjoyed their show and to look for pics on my blog. Before I knew it I was quickly handed a 45 and profusely thanked in a similar fashion. I’d be remiss not to give this fine band a plug. Although this single isn’t on Bandcamp yet, do drop by their page here and sample the other musical offerings.
Next post will wrap up the California coverage and its back to our usual NY fare.