Burgerama This Weekend: Not Bill Murray-fied, But You Can Still Pogo Til You Puke With Wavves, OFF!, Strange Boys and More

Categories: Artists We Love
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John Gilhooley/ OC Weekly
The Burger Records guys from the Weekly's cover three years ago
There's a very special moment in a musical career that happens only to the luckiest and generally most righteous people--the kind of thing that confirms not only that you've arrived, but that you're headed to even better places in the future. This is called the Bill Murray moment, because it's when Bill Murray, arbiter of the everlasting spirit of rock & roll, comes to your show. And at his Saturday night SXSW show with 73 extremely amplified bands and thousands of panting denim-jacketed teenage freaks at his side, Burger's Sean Bohrman had his Bill Murray moment.

Just seconds before L.A. legends Paul Collins and Peter Case started a set of finely machined power pop--with plenty of power, and plenty of pop hooks, too--Murray stepped before a tent bursting with delirious fans and delivered a statement that should well propel this homegrown sound-slash-movement-slash-generation-defining record label into immortality: "Welcome to Burger Heaven, everybody."

"I pictured heaven as a lot less work," says Bohrman the next day, just after Cosmonauts drummer Jenn Agnew finishes a custom make-up job for a rock & roll drag show Bohrman's about to attend. ("I look like a '90s cheerleader," says Bohrman. Then someone interrupts our interview to tell him he looks hot. "Apparently I clean up pretty well as a girl!") "But it's awesome that everything we've been working for has paid off. Burger takes up every second of my life--when I sleep is the only time I get to relax."

In just about two-and-a-half years, Bohrman and Burger boys Lee Rickard and Brian Flores have turned their corner of a Fullerton strip mall into something of a cultural flashpoint. At first, they met with affectionate disbelief--the week they started in October 2009, this very paper asked, "Opening a record store full of vinyl and cassettes? In this economy?" And a month later during an NPR roundtable on the future of the record label, Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and the Arcade Fire's Merge Records had to stop the conversation at the first mention of Burger to ask, "Is this made up or real?"

All too real, of course--and this was before Burger would go on to ... let's see, curate a compilation for Vice, deploy their transcontinental Caravan of Stars tour, expand their dominance of SXSW from one record store to five simultaneous stages, pretty much singlehandedly revive the cassette as a medium for music ... and that's before they got Fleetwood Mac and Nirvana on Burger. Oh--haven't heard? Dave Grohl asked Burger to do a cassette comp to go with a documentary on the famed Sound City Studios. So all the epochal bands who recorded there? "They're on Burger now!" says Bohrman.

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