Written by: Maddie Kringel
Burger Records, known by some as an independent record label based in Fullerton, CA, who really like cassette tapes. This February, Burger put on a collective West-Coast tour Called Burger-A-Go-Go, which stopped for two nights in each city it visited. It included eight bands all fronted by women from their label. Headliners included Dengue Fever and The Coathangers. I attended night one at The Catalyst and it was awesome.
Women in punk rock. The first night of Burger a Go-Go at the Catalyst was completely dominated by utterly raw, powerful, punk rock women who controlled the stage and their performances with vigor and astounding energy, and of course the two men were wonderful as well.
The backdrop for the show was done by Mad Alchemy Light Show who present spinning plates on 4 different overhead-like projectors, similar to the ones from grade school, each with different colors. This mix presents and oozing, psychedelic, and always changing background ensuring that every show is different and unique.
The Flytraps kicked off the night one here in Santa Cruz. The all-women punk band. Kristen Cooper, the lead singer and bassist brazenly captured the audience’s attention with her fiery vocals and ad-lib between songs. The lead guitarist, Elizabeth, cooly and subtly dispersed powerful licks. The sound of The Flytraps could be encompassed by the word . Being the first of a set can be daunting, but they surely brought a lot of talent and energy.
Next up was Feels, a “psych punk grunge future rock+roll post whatever band from LA”. Both singers stood to either side of the bassist with their mics, a different placement than usual, but it really seemed to work. Although the bassist in the middle didn’t have a mic, she really got down to the music and had a great presence. Feels performed both calm psychedelic songs, and fast-paced and more dramatic.
Death Valley Girls were next with a dark, psychedelic performance. Lead singer Bonnie Bloomgarden entranced the audience with her shrill shrieks and voice which is reminiscent of Bubbles, the Powerpuff Girl or Kate of the b52s. On the theme of all women, DVG played their empowering song, “I’m a Man Too” which celebrates equality and power to women to be what they want to be.
The Coathangers headlined night one of Burger-A-Go-Go. This talented three-woman punk band may have formed as a joke, but their performance suggested that it was meant to be. Meredith Franco, or Minnie Coathanger, began on bass, shifted to drums. Julia Kugel, or Crooked Kid Coathanger, played guitar and shared the lead vocals with drummer, Stephanie Luke. One must be talented to play drums while singing lead vocals for a fast-paced punk song, and that’s just what Luke did. They played their more popular songs like “Down Down” and “Make it Right”, and told me in our interview that they had been working on a new album.
Overall, Burger-A-Go-Go night one in Santa Cruz was a brilliant show. Dominated by talented performers and empowering women. Each band brought their own individual sound to the stage, some slower psych rock songs, and some more up-beat bratty punk songs. Burger Records sure knows how to put on a show.
The Coathangers discussing being women in the music industry and their creative process.