Rock Baby Rock It 12 Feat. The Octanes, Los Skarnales, Jesse Dayton Continental Club July 21, 2012
See the pin-ups and hot rods of Rock Baby Rock It in our slideshow.
Hot was the operative word at Saturday's Rock Baby Rock It hot-rod show/musical extravaganza. With temperatures in the high 90s, the parking lot filled with hot-rods was like a Lawrence of Arabia death march in the afternoon heat.
So hot, we thought the makeup might literally melt off all the ladies who had dolled up for the pin-up contest to be held later in the evening. Cutesy umbrellas were everywhere.
But that didn't stop bands from scorching through one-hour sets that proved rockabilly is alive and well in Houston. Adam Burchfield's Octanes brought their own heat as they tore through much of their last album in the blazing sun.
We hadn't seen the Octanes in a while, and they had certainly upped their game for this gig, and were welcomed by a crowd of maybe 200 who huddled in what little shade there was between the buildings at Main and Winbern.
Water sales were brisk.
Perennial favorites Los Skarnales followed and, with the sun moving to the west, found themselves in almost full sun as the set began about 30 minutes behind schedule.
But front man Felipe Galvan, dressed in pink for the occasion, posed in a rock-star stance in front of the stage before counting off "Una, Otra Vez" and leaping onto the stage to get his part of the party started. And Skarnales proved once again that their crowd will follow them anywhere, anytime, in any kind of heat.
The band has recently rearranged its personnel, but little seems to have changed performance-wise as they raced through "Borracho" and other long-time crowd favorites. Galvan was dripping like a marathon runner by the time the action stopped.
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It fell to Jesse Dayton -- dressed in black like Johnny Cash; what was he thinkin'? -- to close down the outdoor portion of the day's events. Working in his three-piece economy combo setting, Dayton let rip immediately with a couple of old Road Kings tunes that he's shaken the dust off of since he's decided to rock out a bit. That he could maintain his energy level as the setting sun shone directly onto him was some kind of miracle.
For those who've only seen Dayton in his large, country band mode the past few years, the return to his rockabilly roots is a pleasant switch. Born and raised on the Gulf Coast by a swamp pop-loving ex-Marine father, Dayton is in his most natural element when he's leaning into old rockabilly chestnuts like "Sugar-Coated Love." He genuinely seems to enjoy delving back into the stuff he was playing 20 years ago at joints like the Ale House.
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But with the end of Dayton's set, most seemed relieved to finally have an excuse to head inside the Continental for a revival under the air-conditioning. By Rocks Off's final count, we had consumed six bottles of water and one Lone Star in just under three hours.
Yes, it was hot out there. Summer Fest hot.