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Dick Dale
November 2003
As mentioned in our ezine, we've been negligent and busy lately so we've been having fun that's gone unreported, such as an absinthe tasting party at degenerate SV's house. She brought back a couple of different brands from abroad and used 'em as an excuse to have a few degenerates over.
Absinthe is slowly becoming legal in various places. There are recipes out there where you can make your own (it's easier than you'd think. There's no fermentation involved, just add vodka to a long list of ingredients, including wormwood.) I found the taste somewhat nasty, vaguely cough-syrup-like, and didn't experience any of the hallucinatory effects. But the party was fun.

There's probably a show or event or something between then and the Dick Dale show, but screw it.

I forget every 5 years or so why I never go to the Highlands - The Uniform. Christ, did you come straight from the office, or don't you own any other clothes? Or perhaps it should just be called The Uniformity. I laughed the first time I heard someone call Darkhorse Tavern "The Dorkhouse."
It's funny because it's true.
But downstairs, now called 10 High, the crowd is a little more varied in fashion, age and demeanor.

The Indicators opened. I never thought much of them. Still don't. It's something like the wimpy parts of Gravyboat or Drive By Truckers, sort of rootsy, sort of rock, but nothing so distinct that it doesn't sound like something you hear ten times an hour on 99X.
I caught almost the whole set and could only tell when one song stopped and another began by the banter in between. Strictly squaresville.
Weird thing is they're good at it - they can all play well, sing well, lyrics ain't half bad, but the total package is lacking... something.
But hell, who the fuck could open for Dick Dale? Not a job I'd take, except to step up to the mike and say "Here's Dick Dale" and slink off stage, perhaps bowing in a Wayne's World we're not worthy fashion.

 

The Indicators cleared off stage, leaving a line of massive amps and drum kit with the Dick Dale logo on it. The room was packed wall to wall and I couldn't believe they couldn't get a bigger, or at least better, venue for the show. 10 High is a shithole. It would've made a great punk bar, but instead it's a miserable yuppie bar.
Ah well. We elbowed a few yupsters aside and weaseled our way up front.
Soon the thunderous sound of Dick's guitar rolled out and he came down the stairs, using a wireless rig.
He played an opening tune, with the usual dour expression of concentration. He doesn't need to jump around or windmill his arms, the man has presence. There's no way to ignore him, even if he weren't unleashing such glorious racket.
Dick had a new backup band since last we saw him. They only made one or two mistakes all evening, despite Dick changing entire genres every few tunes.
Dick stepped up to the mike and said he was feeling a little tired after eating too much, so he'd have to work it off.
He played a few favorites and a few new ones with the furious style he's known for.
About midway through the evening he strapped on an acoustic and did some Spanish guitar, just to mix things up.
He also plays a pretty mean trumpet.
And drums.
And uses drumsticks to play bass.
But it's the mind-bending electric guitar that really makes the show. I only wrote down one thing in my notebook during his entire performance, not wanting to miss a thing, "Amazing Grace worked into Hendrix?"
Thinking back on it, it was one of a few 10 minute jams where he worked from one song into another and sometimes into yet another, each with moments of bravado not possible for lesser men.
Even Dick gets moved by his own music. His fingers blur and the band works hard to keep up.

 

Soon the whole room starts to blur and shake and you can't believe what he's done. How did he get from point A to B?

It was a great show. Maybe it was the big dinner, but he didn't quite have the same fury and fire as the previous time I saw him. But it was still more than worth the $12 cover and a trip to the Highlands!


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