Oakland ghouls gather for rejuvenated boogaloo Halloween Meltdown

Halloween Meltdown, Burger Boogaloo

Attendees at Halloween Meltdown at Mosswood Park in Oakland on Oct. 16, 2021. Sean Liming/STAFF.

OAKLAND — One by one, they shuffled onto the small stage at Mosswood Park on MacArthur Boulevard; a squid, the Swedish Chef, David Bowie, the twins from “The Shining,” Cheech and Chong, Peg from “Married… With Children” a tomato sauce can… The attendees at the Halloween Meltdown music festival were vying for a $500 check during a break from the music on Saturday; the first day of the two-day event formerly called Burger Boogaloo and typically held in the summertime.

The costumed attendees kept on marching for a solid 20 minutes, greeted on stage by Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams and author-musician Brontez Purnell, who provided smart aleck quips. The cheesier the costumes, the louder the cheers from those watching. The check eventually went to Gloria and Josie Manzanares of San Jose, who came dressed in matching pink wigs and pink makeup that covered all visible skin, and took 90 minutes to put on. The Manzanares’ said they came to the last incarnation of the event, in 2019.

“We dressed up that year, too,” Gloria Manzanares said. How will they spend their $500? “More wigs and more makeup!”

It was a warm October day but there was plenty of shade provided by the grove of trees that surrounded the bowl in front of the stage. It could have passed for June, and the festival could have passed for “Burger Boogaloo,” but there was no reference to the event’s previous name. Producer Total Trash Productions dropped the association with Burger Records in 2020 after allegations of sexual abuse, rape and manipulation were made against the label’s executives. The event was then renamed Mosswood Meltdown, but was postponed twice in 2020 due to the pandemic.

Osees, Thee Oh Sees, John Dwyer, Tim Hellman, Dan Rincon, Paul Quattrone, Tomas Dolas

Osees perform during Halloween Meltdown at Mosswood Park in Oakland on Oct. 16, 2021.

While the official Mosswood Meltdown will still take place next summer and include a lineup headlined by Bikini Kill, Total Trash founder Marc Ribak staged Halloween Meltdown—an event he previously said he’d been planning for several years—as a way to bring like-minded people together sooner.

Saturday was headlined by Los Angeles garage punk band Osees. The band plowed through a two-hour set that catered to both new and longtime fans. John Dwyer and his bandmates dug deep into the band’s catalog, hitting popular jams like “The Dream,” “Toe Cutter/Thumb Buster,” Withered Hand” and “Encrypted Bounce.”

Attendees packed themselves into the bowl encircling the stage, moshing and crowdsurfing, but you didn’t have to be in Mosswood Park to hear the music, as the sound echoed throughout nearby blocks. Osees lived up to their reputation for high-octane rhythmic live performances.

Halloween Meltdown, Burger Boogaloo

Attendees at Halloween Meltdown at Mosswood Park in Oakland on Oct. 16, 2021.

There was plenty of room to move around in the merch and food area, as well as near the stage, earlier in the day. Many came in costume, though an argument could be made that many dress up for the event each year. People sat in the grass, on blankets and at picnic tables, and meandered around, taking photo with others in interesting costumes. There was also lots of flannel, piercings and body modification, and leather.

“When they said you have to have a vaccination card, that made us feel safe,” Gloria Manzanares said.

Dino Mehicic, 33, of Richmond, came in a full-body Bigfoot costume, which proved to be uncomfortable in direct sunlight.

“My hands are the hottest. It’s a little wet in [the gloves],” he said, adding that it was his fifth time attending the event. “It’s the best festival. Just the right size.”

Overall, several hundred people attended, though an exact count was not provided. Festival “spokeswoman” John Waters introduced each band with eloquent and humorous spoken prose. Bodhi’s War performed in dead president masks popularized by “Point Break.” The band played screechy, raucous punk songs, exactly what the fans wanted, but still managed to irritate one when they dared to utter “Go Dodgers,” drawing some half-hearted middle finger salutes.

Halloween Meltdown, Burger Boogaloo

Attendees at Halloween Meltdown at Mosswood Park in Oakland on Oct. 16, 2021.

The day’s lineup included bands like Sheastie Boys, Body Double and Chaki The Funk Wizard, as well as a screening of “CRIME 1978,” a documentary about San Francisco punk band Crime, featuring a performance filmed at San Quentin in 1978.

Bay Area musician Litta Rascal brought her 2-year-old daughter Fiamma, in a stroller. Also attending a “Meltdown” for a fifth time, she said that her partner has performed at the festival before and that they play punk music at home. Although Fiamma has never attended a previous incarnation of the event before, Saturday was far from a punk introduction for her, her mom said.

Sunday’s acts include headliners the Mummies as well as The Gories, Seth Bogart, Th’ Losin’ Streaks, The Ugly, Teutonics, Hot Laundry, Whateverglades and The Vaxxines.

Follow editor Roman Gokhman at Twitter.com/RomiTheWriter. Follow photographer Sean Liming at Instagram.com/S.Liming.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *