The Dickies | Review
Voodoo, Belfast • Saturday 15 July ’17
By Neil Trelford
Life begins at forty or so they say. So here we are in 2017 with The Dickies celebrating their fortieth year with a hits packed UK and Ireland Tour.
In the aftermath of lead singer Leonard Graves Phillips’ provocative rant at a feminist activist during their appearance on a recent state-side Vans Warped Tour, these LA punk stalwarts crossed the Atlantic with their baggage of simmering controversy amongst fellow punk artists.
So tonight, who actually cared about the Vans Warped Tour controversy? By the rapturous welcome on stage by a lively Voodoo crowd; apparently no one!
The scene could be a throwback to 1977 Hollywood’s Whisky A Go Go as these veterans energetically opened with ‘Rosemary’, the opening track from their third album Stukas Over Disney Land.
Without gasping for breath they bludgeoned their way through a trio of fan favourites ‘Fan Mail’, ‘I’m OK, You’re OK’ and ‘Tricia Toyota’. Each one sung along to by the buoyant revellers.
The Dickies are career fun-sters and continue with more two and a half minute bubblegum rock blasts; ‘Free Willy’ from 2001 studio album All This And Puppet Stew, ‘Got It At The Store’ and ‘Give It Back’ from their acclaimed debut album The Incredible Shrinking Dickies.
Source: The Dickies – Topic
The pedal is eased of the gas ever so slightly as they belt out their unique rendition of the classic ‘Nights In White Satin’, an original hit by The Moody Blues back in 1967.
After three rapid-fire tracks from their fourth studio album Idjit Savant, founding member Stan Lee rips his Spiderman strapped guitar into the torrent of ‘Waterslide’ while front man Phillips play acts wearing a snorkel mask and dances with a seventies-style tacky blow up doll.
It’s this renowned zaniness that has the fans both singing along and laughing.
‘Manny, Moe and Jack’ epitomises the infectious simplicity of everyday life as they sing about their favourite car mechanics.
Source: Hector Kiki
Tonight The Dickies are a powerhouse five piece with lead guitar Ben David Seelig, former Adolescents bass guitarist Eddie Tatar, and drummer Adam Gomez who has collaborated with Adolescents and Nashville Pussy.
Within seconds they power into top gear and storm through an ultra-fast yet almost poetic version of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’ before Phillips leads the gang back into whacky comedy.
After a somewhat self-reflecting yet satirical rant about the Vans Warped Tour bust up, he sports a puppy hand puppet while squeaking out a classic B-side ‘Doggie Do’ followed instantaneously pulling on a monkey face mask to rattle through ‘You Drive Me Ape’.
Having blistered their way to the end of the main set, they end it with a big-hitter ‘Gigantor, a song that was covered by modern day punk band The Offspring, signifying just how iconic and influential their dynamic and energetic songs have been across four decades.
As Phillips sits out the first tune of the encore, the band drive the juggernaut instrumental ‘Rondo (The Midget’s Revenge)’ full steam ahead. If your country ever needed a new national anthem, then vote for it! The guitars power uplifts you, drives you along Route 66 and the drums thunder you through all the great cities along the way.
With enough fuel left in their tank for only two more, the gap filler ‘Nobody But Me’ leaves the grand finale for their only UK Top 10 hit single. Counting in with One Banana, Two Banana, Three Banana, Four, ‘Banana Splits Tra La La Song)’ is the count out to a wonderful fun-filled rollercoaster of music and madness. The song was the original theme tune for the US children’s television program The Banana Splits Adventure Hour.
And what an Adventure Hour The Dickies just treated Belfast to, twenty-two brilliant songs -now that is worthy of more Fan Mail.
Neil Trelford is the author of The Youth Club. Follow the link for further reading http://culturehubmagazine.co.uk/9139-2/