The So-Cal Hoe-Down

Taking the West Coast by Force

 On Saturday, September 18th, the So-Cal Hoe Down took the West Coast by force by way of the Port of Los Angeles at San Pedro. It was a treat being so close to home with all-star headliners known for their high-energy live performances. Throw Rag, Fishbone, and Suicidal Tendencies rocked the stage as well as The Untouchables, Streetwalkin Cheetahs, Nashville Pussy, and T.S.O.L.

Before Suicidal Tendencies unleashed their fury of sound, audience members enjoyed a live set by T.S.O.L. who have dominated the punk rock circuit for decades and have been featured in cult classic films like Return of The Living Dead and Suburbia.  These greats were followed by Horrorpops, with Kim Nekroman of The Nekromantix and his wife Patricia Day on stand-up bass. While I was backstage I saw Brian Perera, owner of Cleopatra Records who came to see the Horror Pops and caught part of T.S.O.L‘s set as well. “T.S.O.L was good, we originally did a deal with them some years back with the original lineup, an album called ‘Who’s Screwin’ Who.’ Production credit goes out to Paul Roessler from 45 Grave.” Perera and Cleopatra Records have been releasing material from The Horrorpops like “Live at the Wiltern” which came out right before the pandemic kicked in. “I think they always put on a great show.”

It was unquestionable who everyone was there to see, launching into their set like a rocket and blasting in unison with the joyous roar of the crowd, Suicidal Tendencies filled the crisp air as they soared to the heights with their first song, blasting in with “You Can’t Bring Me Down” with 17-year-old Ty Trujillo (their newest member) slamming feverishly on the strings of his bass, his notes reigning from above a true Thor’s hammer pounding down. Lead singer Mike Muir kept pace with the fast, hard-pounding drum beats and smokin’ guitars. It was a rush of excitement. They delivered the same youthful energy and excitement of astounding mayhem while remaining forceful and authentic to their sound. “Send Me Your Money” and “Institutionalized” were the standout performances.

While backstage I met up with Hollywood Actress and Genetic Genealogist Avangelene DeVille who felt the highlight of the entire event was watching Suicidal Tendencies headline the Hoe-Down. “I found myself not only captivated by Ty Trujillo‘s head bangin’, hair flippin’ performance but was completely mesmerized by his fast-paced fingers dancing across the strings of his bass. They had such intense energy and stage presence, I didn’t want the night to end.” 

Things heated up with the dirty reggae style of the great and mighty Fishbone, who brought the funk while celebrating their bass player, Norwood Fisher’s birthday. Charismatic frontman Angelo Moore was looking sharp and sounding good as ever, commanding the stage like a true rock’n’roll pro with high energy performance. They delivered their hits with precision while keeping their show live and refreshing, much to the delight of the actively engaged crowd. One thing is for sure; Fishbone knows how to rock and has been doing so since the band’s inception in Los Angeles, California, in 1979. It’s always a big party on stage. They ended their set with “Party at Ground Zero” with fans dancing and skanking wild.
The first time I became familiar with Throw Rag was in 2002, I had been given an advance copy of their E.P. to review, and they were music to my ears. When I heard they were playing a Dee Dee Ramone memorial at the Key Club, I had to check them out and have been a fan ever since. They never fail to put their all into a show. Lead singer Sean Wheeler commands the stage with bad-boy confidence, a mix between Lux Interior and Iggy Stooge with a special way of drawing in his audience. At the SoCal Hoe Down, a special for their fans awaited: Craig Jackman who hasn’t performed with Throw Rag in over 15 years was back with a washboard on his chest and a spoon in his hands making music once again. Their chemistry made it seem like he had always been there. They opened with “Spanish Intro” and then fired into “Swingset Superman,”  then aced a Simon Stokes cover: “Miniskirt Blues,” which was also covered by the Cramps with Iggy Pop on vocals moons ago. Throw Rag was smoking hot, and they burned through their set like wildfire. Guitarist Patrick ‘Dean McQueen’ Bostrom slid and scaled his guitar all to the pleasure of the crowd, and we loved every note of it.
During an interview with Patrick, he addressed such gratitude to their fans and shared, “I was so fired up, thrilled really, to be a part of the Hoedown this year. It was such a release… The release of all the pent-up frustration of not being able to play last year because of all the restrictions due to Covid…. A big thank you to everyone who came and supported all the bands and us. Shout out to Scott and Vanessa for pulling it off. Jorge E. Disguster also plays drums with us when not on tour with The Hangmen, we love and appreciate him and he is part of the family!! “
Sean spoke backstage and said “Throw Rag has been a band since Halloween 1993, so that’s over half my life in this band. At this point, it’s really a celebration of life and long-time friendships. Wouldn’t trade it for the world!”
Chris also expressed excitement: “I was incredibly excited about the Hoedown weekend because I don’t get the opportunity to play with my band Throw Rag as much as I use to. I live in Austin now, and I’ve been playing drums for Supersuckers for 10yrs now. That makes it very challenging to be involved. Throw some COVID in the mix, and suddenly it is three years since I’ve even seen my bandmates! It only got more special with the return of Jacko on the washboard. So much love and respect for this band I’m in. There’s nothing like it.”
Parking was surprisingly painless and easy and there were plenty of vendors, including food, beer, and merchandise. And as a surprising treat, Punk Rock Karaoke made an appearance featuring Stan Lee of The Dickies.  “Angelo Moore singing ‘Nervous Breakdown’ was unquestionably the highlight” according to Stan.
There’s always a mastermind behind these incredible events. Organizer Vanessa Nicole Turbay shared, “Every inch of the show is pretty grassroots. That includes the selection. We held the festival for two years until I was diagnosed with cancer and took 2018 off as a result. In 2019 medical bills were piling up, so we brought it back. With COVID causing a huge struggle due to not being sure what restrictions, travel, and if the event itself could even occur. This specific event has taken place four times. My partner and I have been putting this show together annually since 2016, with its first event being held in Santa Ana, and the past two years in San Pedro. For me, the highlight was bringing bands together that usually wouldn’t share the same stage. Such as Untouchables, and Nashville Pussy. Suicidal is always a great show, and of course, how could you forget Throw Rag, which is one of my favorite bands to watch!”
Great job on a great show -looking forward to what’s to be in store for the next So-Cal Hoe-Down.

Suicidal Tendencies

T.S.O.L.

Horrorpops

Fishbone

Throw Rag

Nashville Pussy

 

 

 

Article by Maggie St.Thomas

Photographs by Maggie St.Thomas,