Rockabilly music is something that I have been fairly aware of. Growing up, Social Distortion and Tiger Army were the only bands in my collection that were offshoots of what traditional Rockabilly music was. There are actually many variations in today’s music that have Rockabilly influence such as punk rock, psychobilly, gothabilly and even country rock. Being that I was pretty ill informed about what I may be hearing at the Hortons Hayride, the concert my fiancee and her family got tickets to, I did what any nerd would do and researched the bands that I’d be seeing there. I narrowed my favorites to Nekromantix and the headliner himself The Reverend Horton Heat. I’m not saying that the other bands wouldn’t be amazing to watch, those two bands just stood out to me. With my research done I figured I was as ready as I would ever be, so on the day of the concert I picked up my fiancee and went down to San Pedro where the concert would be being held. Previously, the concert was held on a closed off street but because of the crowd it was moved to a more wide open space. Like always, we go there about 45 minutes before it started so we had to wait in line, but we got really good parking. The sun was out, but there was a nice breeze so standing in line wasn’t as bad as it could have been. The time came and we headed in and our Horton’s Hayride began.
The opening band, The Hurricanes, were still getting their levels right on the main stage, so we walked around the tens that were displaying things to buy. There were two sections so we head over to the right, which looked to be more of the traditional Rockabilly clothing selections. Surprisingly there were quite a big of Star Wars infused bags and dresses, which warmed my heart, because Star Wars is amazing and I love it so much. After walking that section we went to the other smaller section of shops, which was the more on the lighter side. There was an overall beach theme and there was a woman playing with her hula hoop in a very short skirt that was battling the wind the whole time. The shops did their best to be diverse, but the majority of the clothing was for children and woman so I didn’t get anything.
Eating and Drinking
For the first 45 minutes the alcohol booths only sold mixed drinks, because the taps were ready yet. I’m a jack and coke guy so I ordered one, but they didn’t have jack so I go another type of rum. As concerts and conventions do, the alcohol was a little light and the ice was heavy, but they have to make their money and for $8 it wasn’t bad. Later when the beer was working I ended up trying the Laguna Beach beer, which was light to the eye but had a hint of heaviness when drinking it. Surprisingly the mixed drinks and the beer were both $8, so it came down to a matter of picking what you felt like drinking. Across from the alcohol were food trucks, which have become the new normal at concerts. I love food trucks, especially when I go to conventions and I need something other than the stuff they’re selling inside the actual convention. There were variations of food trucks but we really enjoyed Dogtown Dogs, which was a hot dog truck with amazing cheese tater tots. There are two notable hot dogs to try if you see them there which is the trailer trash dog and the spicy angeleno.
Cars and Bike
Sticking with the Rockabilly concert theme, there was also a car and motorcycle show in the back corner. I’m probably in the odd percentage of men who know nothing about cars, but I do appreciate them. Much like a customized water cooled computer tower, people take time to customize their car to make them look as amazing as possible. There shiny cars, lowered cars, themed cars and the same went for the motorcycles. There were even tents that catered to customization, so if you had any questions or wanted to do some business you could.
Last but certainly not least we get to the reason why everyone went to Horton’s Hayride. the music. We stuck mostly to the main stage and watched those bands from either the crowd in front of the stage or from bleachers that were set up. We stuck around and watched The Hurricanes and The Henchman, both great bands with really catchy songs, and while the second stage band played their set, we got some beers and headed to the main stage to get a spot for Cadillac Tramps. My fiancee was familiar with this band, but I had only heard a few songs when doing my research. After watching them I can honestly say that Cadillac Tramps are a pretty high energy band that’s entertaining musically and comically. They all looked to be having a great time and all that did was fuel the crowd to get into the songs even more. After their set we met with some of my fiancee’s family who had arrived, so we got some more drinks and walked around. Cherry Poppin Daddies is a band I’m familiar with from the swing resurgence in the late 90’s, but we were in line for food so we missed a lot of their set. I did notice that there were a lot of people dancing, which was good, because the next few bands would produce something different. After eating and drinking, I found a light for my cigar an we set up for Nekromantix, a band I had previously mentioned had stood out to me. The band started and I was getting into the music, and I noticed some guys start a mini mosh pit that turned into a big mosh pit within a matter of seconds. My brother in law and I stepped back as we were now on the perimeter of this very active and very aggressive pit. Moments later the security guards showed up and set up around the pit to make sure that no one was fighting. There was one punch thrown, but everyone separated them and no one fought. Moments later those two guys were back in the pit and that was the last time a punch was thrown the rest of the set. I felt like I was back at the Warped Tour, because there was a mosh pit on concrete and I was pushing people while trying to enjoy the music. For some reason everything just went together and I had a great time pushing people back in the pit and listening to the music. The Nekromantix didn’t let me down, the music was just as good on an album as it was live. After that set we went and got more food and drinks and set up shop on the bleachers, where we decided to stay the rest of the night. My other brother in law and his girlfriend met us and we all hung out and watched The Reverend Horton Heat. I had seen him previously, because he came out after The Hurricanes to thank everyone for being there. He playing a few songs and from where we were, we saw people moshing and another set of people actually dancing. It was a nice view of two different groups of people coming together to enjoy the same type of music in their own ways. There were three guests that were brought out during The Reverend’s set, Deke Dickerson, Big Sandy and Unknown Hinson. Fun fact, Unknown Hinson is a singer/songwriter and the voice on the Squidbillies. We stayed until the end or The Reverend’s last song, but left during the encore. It was cold and we were all sun burnt so we enjoyed the encore as we walked back to our cars.
For my first Horton’s Hayride, I had a great time. I was there with family, we ate and drank and enjoyed the music together. The location was great because it was sunny but the ocean breeze cooled us down. Everyone who worked there was nice and even the security guards had a great attitude no matter what was going on. I really hope they have this at the same place next year, I’ll be there with plenty of sunblock on.
If you want to check out the gallery of pictures click here