Saturday, July 21, 2012

Fast, Hard and Loud

We've always wanted to check out the Abbey Bar, on the top floor of Appalachian Brewery's very old building in Harrisburg, and last night was the right time:  legend Dick Dale was stopping by on his relentless 2012 tour.  He's 75, but you would not know it; this force of nature gives 100% every night -- he was in Cambridge, MA the night before and heading to Brooklyn, NYC for Saturday night!  He was right at the merch table with his wife a few minutes after the blistering show, and I got a beautiful poster autographed.  He couldn't hear anything, but I thanked him for coming to our little burg.
The evening began with Buzzchopper, a trio from Lancaster that I can't believe I'd never heard of before.  I guess you could call their sound psycho-surf, and you can hear how heavy metal and punk clearly owe their origins to take-no-prisoners live surf music (not the 2 1/2 minute commercial singles we all heard on the radio).  No vocals -- the pure thing.  Guitarist Paul Keareney plays his homemade Frankeninstrument which rests on a stand; it seems to be a modified Telecaster with a Gibson lap steel attached to it.  Drummer Aaron Shiflet kept that  dat dat....DAT  classic beat sharp, and the stage was also graced by rhythm guitarist Cynthia Sin, a petite gal in black wielding a black SG.  They began, grinning, with the Twilight Zone theme, which got the packed house grinning, too.  Ended with "Pipeline," the set was unexpectedly awesome and too short.  They're playing at some place called The Depot in York soon, at a "Freaky Tiki Surf Party," and I think we should make the trip (as it were).
Mr. Dale has some new bandmates:  his bass player of over 20 years left to rejoin the current lineup of the Surfaris and has been replaced by the insane Sam Bolle.  He looks exactly like a young Al Franken, and never stops jumping, weaving and bobbing, playing off the unpredictable Dale like he's been doing it for years.  Son Jimmy Dale is the drummer, and he, like his dad, never lets up for a second.  Dale joined him in the drum solo for "Bo Diddley," then took his sticks and played on the bass which Sam held at shoulder height.  Dale can play anything, and it's always in no usual way.
Highlights were a threatening-sounding "House of the Rising Sun," "Summertime Blues," "Misirlou" twice, "Nitro," a Johnny Cash mashup featuring "Ring of Fire," and the closer, "Amazing Grace."
Surf's up, Harrisburg!  What a night.

"Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become your character, and your character becomes your desitny.  Figure that out."  --  Dick Dale

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