Burgerfest 2014 – August 16th, 2014 – Vancouver, British Columbia

On Saturday afternoon, the Japanese Hall in East Vancouver was swarming with people of all shapes, sizes, hair color and beard length to take part in BurgerFest 2014. The event promised an abundance of beer, burgers, and bands, and the organizers delivered splendidly.

The organic burgers were provided by Cannibal Café, an eatery located on Commercial Drive, and the beer was supplied by local craft beer heroes Parallel 49. With food of such high quality, one would think that the bands would have been equally as excellent, but they weren’t.

The vast majority of the 26 bands that played were so plain they were hardly worth the mention, so I will give you the best and the worst of the musical portion of BurgerFest 2014.

THE BEST:

Barbecutionerthe second band to play, and was the best act there. The drummer wore short shorts and played at a dizzying speed without ever missing a beat. The bass player provided low growls to compliment the singer’s vocal range, which was nothing short of impressive with a mix of growling and clean vocals, and the occasional high pitched screech. Barbecutioner hit every spot; the music was great, their stage presence was second to none, they were hilarious, made a Trailer Park Boys reference… They were perfect.

The East Vancouver-based quartet Legion of Goons played thrash metal with a punk twist. Their drummer was so fast sweat was pouring down his elbows halfway through the set, and their lead guitarist provided just enough face-melting solos to surprise and amaze us all. Their songs were fast and precise and left the crowd smiling from ear to ear. The band’s energy on stage was refreshing, and the bass player dedicated a song to the late Dave Brockie, clinching a top spot in my heart.

Waingro, a heavy rock band from Vancouver provided a much needed break between Legion of Goons and a handful of terrible acts. They sounded superb live, ensuring that the bass wasn’t drowned by the bewildering guitar. The singer actually sang and had a good, almost soothing voice, and their drummer had a cheesy smile on his face the whole time they played. Waingro also saw the first moshpit of the day, and while they could have interacted more with the audience, they did draw a decent crowd regardless, pleasing the poor souls who had endured the mediocre bands before they got on stage.

The Living Deadbeats were the only band with female members that was worth a listen. The singer’s voice was pleasant and melodic, unlike what had been heard by other members of the fairer sex during the day. Of all the bands that played on the cramped stage, The Living Deadbeats were the most enthusiastic and seamless in the execution of their set, though they played later than expected due to unforeseen circumstances.

Precious Dudes’ music wasn’t great. I’m not even sure that it was good. The members were all a bit maladroit and shy. However, I could not peel my eyes off of their singer. He was wearing a midriff PVC jacket, zombie leggings and knee pads, spent the entire show humping the floor, the air, and his bass player at times, and slid on his knees across the stage on multiple occasions. Whatever the other musicians lacked in talent and timing, their singer made up for tenfold in showmanship.

THE WORST:

Cake Face, the first band to play, was a girl duo comprised of a bass player who doubled as a singer, and a drummer with sub-par abilities. While the bass playing was excellent, the way she sang made the experience near unbearable. Little did I know that screaming unintelligibly was going to be a recurring theme throughout the day.

I learnt that it was Heron’s first gig, which explains some of their indiscretions. They barely interacted with the growing crowd, addressing the spectators only once to tell them that it was their last song. Their set-up didn’t make it easy for them to take interest in the people who were there to see them though, since the singer and the guitarist chose to face one another instead of facing their audience while playing, which just made it look like two grown men yelling back and forth at one another for half an hour. Musically speaking, they were excellent, and though the singer’s clean vocals were poor, their music was so heavy that it was barely noticeable.

Based on the name, I had high hopes for Sexy Decoy. However, all that vanished when they started playing. The singer was screaming into the microphone while jumping up and down like she needed to go to the bathroom. The drummer looked like she was utterly bored, setting a beat that no one seemed to care to follow. The whole thing sounded like four people jamming, forsaking harmony to look cool, which didn’t work visually nor aurally.

Last but not least, the absolute worst of BurgerFest was Supernatural River, a one man ordeal who successfully rained on the festival’s parade with his pretentious performance halfway between rap and spoken word art. He insulted the crowd on multiple occasions and ranted about capitalism before starting his backing track on his MacBook. The entire performance was a baffling joke, and most people sighed in relief when he left the stage.

BurgerFest delivered what it promised; there was beer, burgers, and bands. The whole thing was set up handsomely. With two stages, there was never really more than a few minutes between bands, though at the end of the night, the room did get hot, muggy, and it started to smell like the 16th century. Despite the lack of quality of some of the bands, the experience wasn’t wholly unpleasant, though those who arrived in the evening probably had a much better experience than those who arrived at noon since they didn’t have to hear all of the poor performances noted above to get to the good parts.

Written by Kai Robidas

About Kai Robidas 45 Articles
Kai is a pint-sized writer based in Vancouver who enjoys things that start with the letter S such as sloths, snow, stories, and sesquipedalianism. She has a penchant for any music that involves unusual instruments and is partial to folk metal, classical, and pop-punk. Kai loves winter and history and can be found on any given day listening to her favourite bands at a borderline unhealthy volume and studying Finnish. She finds great amusement in saying the words hurdy-gurdy and vispilä.

12 Comments

  1. Clearly you were out of your element and just don’t like metal. I was there from start to finish and thought all aspects of it were great. Maybe pay less attention to what people are wearing in the future and watch the crowd to see really how well a band is doing? You lose serious credibility by crapping on bands you’ve never seen before (some of whom it was their first show, seriously?!) the way you just did. Don’t be such a downer. You’re part of the problem with no fun city. You can’t get past your closed views of what should be in order to enjoy what’s different and unique. Hope you can open up in the future, or no one will take you seriously as anything but a crotchety hipster.

  2. ” Little did I know that screaming intelligibly was going to be a recurring theme throughout the day.”

    I’ll assume you mean “unintelligibly”. If you didn’t know that people were going to be screaming at a punk and metal show you have no business writing a review about it. The only reason someone who doesn’t like these kinds of acts would put themselves through the entire show, and proceed to shit on it, is because they are miserable and want to make other people feel that way. Cheer up.

    • Ahahha the irony! Do you music too buddy? When being a smart ass about someone’s writing, I’d strongly recommend you read your comment twice before posting it 😉
      Also, I do believe there’s a huge difference between screaming unintelligibly and singing in a metal or punk rock band. Any asshat can grab a mic and spit it…. punk or metal doesn’t justify for lack of musical talent…. if that’s how you see these genres, I do suggest you do some more “musicking” so you may as well know what you are writing about 🙂

  3. I thought Burgerfest was excellent, showcasing around 26 bands with varying styles and experience, couldn’t ask for any better and all for $10, throw in $5 burgers and $4 beer by 49th parallel and it was a great shindig for those who enjoy alternative music, personally I really enjoyed Heron, also Waingro, BOG and Real Problems were highlights for me. Of course not all bands suit everyone, but I think that’s the point, I approached the show with an open mind and left happy and they even threw in a Burger Eating contest. I’ll be paying my $10 for the next Burgerfest, count on it.

  4. In the month or two leading up to BurgerFest, many people (including myself) were , like you, using terms like “awful”, “terrible”, or simply “the worst” to describe our enthusiasm for the bands involved and for the whole event itself. The difference being, we were doing it ironically. We knew that it would be the party of the summer, and it sure as hell was. No one gives a shit what people look like or what the venue smells like after 12 hours. Everybody smells like a fucking toilet after 12 hours sweating their shitty work week out to a huge, (mostly) greatful crowd and great bands. We’re all weirdos in the best way imaginable, this scene is amazing and has no need for this kind of shit dragging it down.

    Please, for next time, at least click on the fucking bandcamp links that were up on the event page for a month or two prior and know what you’re getting into before slinging your uneducated opinion upon us all. This is not an event full of sweet melodies and catchy bullshit, this is a punk/metal fest for people pouring everything into what they do.

    But thanks for the (unironically) terrible review, hope to see you next year!

  5. Ok Trolls I’m here to collect your tolls…You gotta pay the toll trolls! Seriously the trolls are out today! I read this review and found it rather refreshing! Now after reading these comments I’m rather disappointed! Can someone not give an opinion these days without someone getting all up in arms? Seriously…maybe your favourite band had an off night…they were called on it and they should use this as motivation to be better…not complain on social media…this make you look bad and is just plan stupid! Kudos to the reviewer to tell us how it is and for one I will go next year as I didn’t even know this existed! So thanks Bucketlist for keeping us informed on what out there! Some bands are just horrible maybe that is why they didn’t get a good review? Any who pay your TOLL and be gone on ur path of mass stupidity!

  6. I spend most of my days either working or hanging out with my kids so I don’t get out too much anymore but I had the privilege of being at this event. I wanted to say that I was blown away by the “community” that I saw in this building. People happy to be there and happy to support each other. I don’t think in all of the years that I have been playing or going to local shows I have seen anything like it. Blew me away. I’m sure it’s more like that than I am aware of but it was a first for me. So thanks to the organizers, the bands, the friends and fans for showing me that it exists.

    As far as the review of the show goes… It’s one persons opinion. Entitled to those opinions. Free to write and post those opinions but remember that the music and the lyrics these bands play are for themselves. The bands. . For their own personal release. Im not sure if the writer is part of band or not but if not, they should give it a shot. The world looks different standing on the other side. A review means nothing. If everyone had a great time and the bands had a blast playing and the burgers and beers tasted great, then really that’s all that matters.

    But what do I know. Thanks again for a great time.

    Cheers

  7. Wow what a negative, closed minded person.
    My review on this review: you aren’t very good at reviewing bands. Super negative!!

  8. Thanks for all the comments, folks. I’m really glad to see people cool with having a different opinion. The community’s been a big deal for me and my appreciation for the local scene, so it’s awesome to see that there are some in it who don’t think the right response is to go straight to insulting/threatening the reviewer.

  9. I am not from this country, and in my country burger fest mean something much different. But i was there because my frend that i met at funky winterbeans told me to be there no asked questions and it was big time party. there needed to be more people there at the start but once that loud punk band played people were in it! everyone was happy to see me to and no one was jerking around. just good times all the times. that one band with the tall metal guy went crazy was the best. and people ate so many burgers just because. second best night of my life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.