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See Dick Play!

Whoa bra, will this Dick Dale dude ever slow down? You'd think he'd be able to rest comfortably on his laurels as the freakin' King of Surf Guitar, relaxing on the balcony of some fatty mansion overlooking a beach full of bikini-clad babes. But he seems to have picked up some sort of Native American spirit guide out there in the high desert of Southern California where he's living these days--with his long silver hair, sharp hawkish features and permanently squinting eyes, Dale looks more like a medicine man than an aging rocker. Add to that the reverb-drenched Middle Eastern and Eastern European melodies and the otherworldly facial expressions on Dick's face as he plays, and you've got yourself the makings of a guitar-toting, leather-clad shaman.

But then he starts to talk--with a charming yet nasally Bostonian accent--and it's clear that Dick ain't no holy man. Before playing "Miserlou" and "Esperanza," he made sure to tell us which movies/commercials feature them, affecting an air of down-to-earth nonchalance about the fact that "What's-her-name? Cameron Diaz?" surfed to his guitar in the last Charlie's Angels movie. And he loves to talk about the songs he's written and played with his 11-year-old son Jimmy, whom he's dubbed "the Prince of Surf Guitar."

In short, he's a proud daddy who's just as proud of how much ass he's kicked over the years--which he damn well should be! He's still kicking ass, even if most of his performances are usually similar sets of his biggest hits. Last Friday night at the Brookdale Lodge was no exception. First, there were the covers. "Pipeline," "Peppermint Man" and "Hey Bo Diddley" proved that Dick can play and sing, but who knew that he could sing like Louis Armstrong, covering his "Kiss to Build a Dream On" right down to the flashy trumpet solo? He also picked up some sticks and helped his drummer double-team the kit. Then there was the cover of "Smoke on the Water," when Dick made full use of his wireless hook-up and wandered all over the lodge.

Taking things down a few notches, Dick and his bassist sat down to do an acoustic guitar duet, which promised to be interesting but was unfortunately the weakest part of his set--until he broke into two songs honoring the Man in Black: "Folsom Prison Blues," followed by an electric version of "Ring of Fire," which sounded pretty spectacular with the Dale-esque guitar additions.

Only shitty thing was, Dale and Co. performed on a stage that was about 3 inches high, making it pretty much impossible for anybody more than four rows back to see what in the hell was going on. If only he'd worn high heels.

All of My Love to Ween

Ween fans were either at the show on Saturday or they don't even want to hear about how good it was, but let me just say that their cover of Led Zeppelin's "All of My Love" alone made coming out worthwhile.

Upcoming

South African superstars Ladysmith Black Mambazo (of Paul Simon's Graceland fame) perform on Sunday, Oct. 5, at the Rio Theatre. Scarab, Sunspot Jonz, D-Styles (from the Invisibl Skratch Piklz), Beat Junkies, Daddy Kev, Asleep, Onry (from Old Dominion), Mr. Brady (from Battle Axe) and the Lost and Found Generation perform at the Vets Hall on Friday, Oct. 18, at 8pm. CD release party: Aza, a local band based around two musicians from Morocco, plays music from North Africa with a funky kick on Friday, Oct. 3, at Kuumbwa. Accordion wild man Jason Webley performs on Oct. 3, at 8pm in the Jahva House. Complex powerhouse trio Tregenza performs with Westbound Stagecoach and Angry for Life on Saturday, Oct. 4, at the Jury Room.

Mike Connor

White On

Something tells me these White Album Live folks are on to something. A sold-out Mello Center was going nuts for what the talented ensemble of local musicians was serving up Saturday night, and I can't see why they shouldn't turn this into a regular thing. There's theoretically no limit to the Beatles Infestation they could bring to Santa Cruz County and beyond. An annual local happening? Take it on the road, maybe? And hey, did someone say Sgt. Pepper Live?

Steve Palopoli

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From the October 1-8, 2003 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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