I visited and reported on this show last year and had such a great time I vowed to make the trip back up to New York’s Catskill mountains just outside of Albany to revisit it this year, and I am happy I did.
This was the sixth annual Rats Nest Run-In but only the second for me, it’s a counter culture car show which features predominantly pre 1965 vehicles that are rebuilt by their owners from spare parts of numerous other cars that have been pieced together in all sorts of interesting and imaginary way’s.
The crowd and the mood of this marvelous event is also decidedly counter culture and as diverse as the cars, it’s a really nice mix of old and young hot rodders ranging from infants to the infirmed, there are families with children, psychobilly greasers, and crusty punks walking the large field filled with an endless number of cars, one more interesting than the other.
Dozens and dozens of vendors line the field hawking car parts, tattoo art, retro-rockabilly clothing, and all sorts of interesting crafts and wares that catch your eye, I could have spent a whole day just shopping, but I had bands to see.
Large crowds gather and disperse from the stage (An old semi trailer) as the bands, burlesque performers, and pinup girl contest make their way on and off like clockwork giving the crowd some sort of new sonic or visual adventure every 30-40 minutes or so.
Upon my arrival on Friday I caught a set by The Bothers, a Brooklyn based Rockabilly Roots band that really had it together, they were tight, fun and looked the part with their slicked back hair, high cuffed jeans and tight t shirts…Another great Rockabilly act was Lara Hope and The Arktones featuring Matt Goldpaw of the Arkhams on stand up base, While front gal Lara belted out song after song in a sweet rockin’ voice that was undeniably fitting for this show.
Later when the show moved inside I caught a stellar set by solo artist Kyle Trocolla that blew us all away with his alt country sound and punk lyrics, I am a fan of this genre and I was delighted by this heartfelt gravel voiced set…Next up on the inside stage we saw another new band (new to me anyway) called Pitchfork Militia who delivered a very high energy set and entertained the audience with antics like using a toy fire truck as a guitar slide. Then came The Creepin Cadavers who were an all out Psychobilly assault that was pure high energy fun…And one of my new favorite bands as of that night is The Grizzly Band who came up from Texas and delivered a phenominal alt country set complete with steel guitar, truckers caps, and long beards, all of which added to their authentic sound and feel, and the last band of the evening was again an unexpected surprise called Those Crosstown Rivals who do a punky southern rock, that included hints of classic southern rock with the edge of punk and hints of country that never leaned to much in any direction, lets just say I liked them.
Saturday brought more of the same, so many interesting cars, burlesque and side show acts, and more great music by acts like the rockabilly band Whiskey Kill who did a killer classic rockabilly set, and a really fun and really good Surf band called The Sci Flies who played all the old surf classics while wearing matching Fly masks, later both on the outdoor stage, and again on the indoor stage, American Pinup performed remarkably flawless sets that brought the crowds right to the front of the stage to hear their sets, American Pinup also played this event last year and is an obvious crowd favorite. Finally the night was topped off by the Koffin Kats who as they always do delivered an hour plus of high octane Psychobilly that brought the house down with their unmatched onstage showmanship and operatic vocals that place them at the top of their genre…Thus the evening came to an end.
Sunday we all licked our wounds from the night before, waited to long in line for breakfast then sat in the sun with a lemonade and watched repeat performances by Whiskey Kill, American Pinup, The Bothers and Lara Hope and The Arktones…while awaiting lunch at the free, That’s right free Pig Roast and Tiki Pool Party…by this time much of the crowd had dispersed and headed home leaving maybe 500 or so of us left to enjoy the roasted pigs, nurse our hangovers and listen to more really great music.
This was once again a wonderful weekend and I hope to attend it again next year…I just hope my liver can survive it.