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Hootenanny 2002
July 6, 2002 at Hidden Valley - Irvine, CA  by Kari Rogers

The City of Irvine, seemingly devoid of culture, hosted an all day concert called the Hootenanny on July 6th at the old Lion Country Safari grounds. Irvine, generally seen as the type of community that you might spot one of the numerous power walkers being cited for wearing a mismatched sweat outfit, wouldn’t seem to be a fit venue to host an event such as this but it actually turned out to be the perfect location for the all day event. 

The grassy rolling hills were covered with acres of color.  And we’re not talkin’ wildflowers.  Ink, dye and paint were displayed on 95% of the concertgoers. The beautiful (and not so beautiful) people paraded around in their best punk rock attire, checking out the gas  guzzling hot rods, in every stage of restoration, and lots of vendor booths.  This reporter noted the generation X'ers managing themselves much better these days.  Many of the attendees used earplugs to save their hearing for their day job and sunscreen was not a foreign word.  A lot of the girls were fashionably toting Asian-influenced bamboo umbrellas to protect their skin (or fresh tattoos) from the sun.

Some previous Hootenanny attendees were hesitant to buy tickets to this year's event.  This seems to be due to the perceived lack of a solid rock-a-billy line up.   Bands such as Tiger Army were on the bill instead of someone like the ever-popular (yet so overdone) Social Distortion.  Bands such as X, Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros, The Reverend Horton Heat, The Blasters, Hank Williams III, Lee Rocker, Russell Scott and King Bees drew the regulars back while new acts such as Tiger Army and Nashville Pussy brought on a whole new group of fans to the Hootenanny.  Original Sinners, James Intveld, and Cadillac Tramps also headlined as the main stage entertainment.

The main stage was set up to allow constant entertainment.  As one band rocked the crowd the next band got set up.  So you know the line up and the set up…now let’s talk about the bands.  Upon my arrival,  the first band up was Original Sinners, Exene’s latest and definitely greatest band, was an act not to miss.  The band has a lot of fun playing and they perform well together, musically.  And if you haven’t purchased the CD out on Nitro records already – you should! Having the opportunity to meet and briefly speak to Exene Cervenka, Kim Chi and Jason Edge (Drummer, Matt Young, and Sam Soto, guitarist, were unavailable) of Original Sinners, you can tell that they are really excited to be playing together and were also very excited to hear that fans are really liking the new stuff.  Their combination of styles and sounds really ties in the old with the new.  (Check out some sample tracks and CD review on antimusic.com.)

Second up was James Intveld.  Not being familiar with Intveld’s name or music, there were no expectations.  Deciding to relax behind the scenes for a moment with friends, enjoy the shade and drink one of the  complimentary RedBull and vodka drinks flowing on this sunny day in So Cal; but I was quickly drawn back out to the front of the stage by Intveld's music.  Intveld and his band, the more traditional country-sounding performer of the day, was the act to be caught! Not only is he adorable, he is a really talented musician.  (I honestly don't know how I didn't know about him prior to the Hootenanny.)  Check your local calendar section and make it a point to check 'em out next time they're in town.

Tiger Army brought out a hellacious look and sound that came along with a whole set of newcomers to the  scene.  Picture if you will, a hardcore punk three-pieced band where the intimidating blue-eyed lead singer beats on a purple stand up bass, screaming fast, thrashing tunes for pit lovers while his two cohorts entertain the masses with their in-your-face, punk-charged tunes.

Nashville Pussy, new to the Hootenanny, played on the main stage.  Many guy friends have said you gotta see this band.  Thinking the hot chicks in the band might be swaying their “opinions”, it was never a priority to see them play.  What a mistake.  This band shreds! Ruyter (pronounced “rider”) Suys is like a female version of  Angus Young of AC DC fame.  Her incredible energy on stage is infectious.  Newcomer to the band, Katie Lynn Campbell, is not only very easy on the eyes but a perfect fit for this balls-out rockin’ foursome.  Though flanked by the lovely ladies, front man, Blaine Cartwright, and drummer, Jeremy Thompson, some how stay focused on grinding out the tunes giving the crowd a full-throttle assault.

Lee Rocker was as good as he always is.  What can be said about the Rock-a-Billy performer.  He has really made a name for himself and kept a strong following of fans since the Stray Cats.  He and his band never  disappoint fans. Playing traditional bass slapping, upbeat tempo, swinging songs - one after the other - it makes you have to grab a partner and swing them 'til you're both giddy.  Can't wait to see these guys again.

Cadillac Tramps, a local Orange County band that has been off and on the club scene for at least the last decade, joined this year's Hootenanny.  The Tramps have always been fun to see.  Whether you are in the pit of some sweat box club in Costa Mesa or sweltering at some live concert in the park - you are gonna bounce  around to the driving guitar and drumbeats.  Lead man, Gabby, is infamous for commanding an audience with his wicked smile, menacing laugh and talented voice.  Good to see y'all back - you know who you are.

X.  They are true legends by their own right.  Debuting on the scene when rock and roll basically dominated, this band was able to rise above all the skeptics who scoffed at their punk-country style; they were able to withstand break-ups and keep creating a unique sound that no other band to this day has been able to  reproduce.  Several decades later, fans still line up tickets and rush the stage at shows.  Everyone had family and friends flanking the stage to cheer on their performance.  Many of the performers also had their children and/or significant other in tow. 

It was a pleasure to meet the band and take pictures while they played all the classics.  Their energy never tires - neither does their chemistry they have with each other while on stage.  Glad you guys are still performing and fans are crossing their fingers that new material will be next on the list for your dedicated fans.

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros were a different act then most hearing them for the first time expected.  The reggae-style grooves that are Joe Strummer's latest  were a nice surprise.  The band broke out a Clash tune or two, which really riled up the crowd into a screaming frenzy.  After the performance, Joe Strummer, despite his horrible cold, was especially kind to his fans, tirelessly signing autographs and posing for personal photos.  Thanks Joe and we all hope your feeling better.

The Reverend Horton Heat was full of the usual groovy, psycho-billy sounds that draw the crowd to his shows.  Blending swinging rhythms, surf-beats, and cool stage attire, they closed out the show with an energetic punch that made you want more!

All in all, the crowd was pleasantly non-violent for an all day outdoor concert.  These shows usually breed trouble after everyone is hot and tired.  Pining for a front row position to see the headliner usually fuels physical outbursts at this type of event.  Overall, the impression of the performances and venue were good.  The show was professional and it's nice to see that the fire hose didn't have to extinguish any fashion disputes.  Just some good old fashioned thrashin'!
 
 

Shout Outs:  Big thanks to George for believing in me, to Carol Phillips at TPG and Nashville Pussy for taking care of my ticket, and Moto Photo in Newport Beach for cutting me a deal.
 

Photos by Kari Rogers. Copyright 2002 Iconoclast Entertainment Group and Kari Rogers - All Rights Reserved.

Kari Rogers is a contributing writer for antiMUSIC and the iconoFAN Network. 


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