By: Shelby Monita (@shelbymonita) –
The Burgerama Caravan pulled into Lee’s Palace in Toronto on Tuesday night to host an evening of some of underground rock’s best bands. The caravan Burger Records organized is currently on tour across North America featuring bands, The Growlers, Pangea, Cosmonauts and Gap Dream, all of which are on the Burger Records label.
Local pop-folk-punk band, Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs was the first of a five-band lineup. The sextet had a commanded a decent sized crowd who came out early and was able to make the medium-sized venue look not so sparse. Playing hard and only a few songs, frontman Sam Coffey broke a string, but was able to play through until another band lent their guitar. Well known in the Toronto scene and rightfully so, they were still the smaller band that played on the bill. A bit rough and unorganized, though it didn’t matter, their songwriting spoke for itself, with lots of hooks and dancing beats that made Coffey and crew easy to love.
Up next was a band that originates from Cleveland, Gap Dream. If this were our parent’s generation, then looking at these three men you would expect the longhaired hippies to bang a tambourine and sing about peace and love. We our not our parents and these three longhaired guys with a bass, guitar and synth played a collection of songs that perfectly suited their name. Dream rock, composed for the perfect ‘trip’. To ensure your high was everything it could be, the synth player came out to the audience to sprinkle glitter into the crowd. A bit of an odd band to add to a line up that is mostly punk rock influenced, even still the set was a delightful transcendental break.
Pangea, who until recently were known as Together Pangea, a traditional four piece from California played next. First, let us give thanks that a band finally thought to use the name Pangea, so simple and it was right in front of us this entire time. Let us also give thanks that this band used the name Pangea and are not a hair metal band, seems like a name that could have been runner-up to Poison. Moving on from that, this pop-punk band was full of energy and fun. With songs like “Too Drunk To Cum” it’s hard not to think of the early days of Blink-182 and only have hope that these guys can fill their shoes. Laid back, with smiles on their faces and occasional laughs, they were completely intoxicating and got the ever-growing crowd moving.
New Yorkers, Cosmonaut then came out playing their own style of noise-pop-rock. Well, they eventually came out. Their bleach blonde guitarist delayed the beginning of their set due to his desire to restring his guitar while sitting on stage, which set them back 15 minutes. Once they began playing, they picked up where Gap Dream left off earlier in the night. Letting everyone be in a laid back state and fall into their sub conscious while swaying back and forth. For what sounded like a toned down version of Thee Oh Sees, these boys made great use of their stellar voices and being able to mimic the ocean with some guitars and bass.
Finally the night came to a close with the headlining act, California boys, The Growlers. The psychedelic-folk-rockers grabbed the audience’s heart, a crowd that was likely only out on a Tuesday night to see this band play. It was an interesting set, to say the least. Twice the lead singer, Brooks Neilsen unplugged his mic, tried to speak into it, only to find out he had the cord in one hand and the mic in another. It became clear how he was able to do this after the band on a few occasions all started playing different songs according to their set lists in front of them. Neilsen explained that when he gets to the venue he has two jobs, make the set lists and don’t drink too much, seems like he didn’t perform both jobs well. The drinking too much aspect explains talking into a knowingly unplugged mic. Though made no difference to the fans, everyone cheered and sang along to their favourite songs, including the hit “Someday”, which concluded their set. When the band came back out for their encore, they almost were unable to play as one of the venues security guards walked on the stage to talk to guitarist, Matt Taylor and attempted to escort him off stage.
After some whispers between security, Neilsen and Taylor, the security guard walked off stage and Taylor preformed the song “People Don’t Change” which referenced drug use, might be a hint as to what the security guards could have had an issue with.
Overall the night was a success, five great bands sharing a stage all in the name of Burger Records. Anyone who attended had an array of bands and experiences to walk away with and probably a few new bands to load on to their iPod.