Dick Dale Continental Club April 13, 2012
Dick Dale, the king of surf rock and grandfather of metal, played decades of music Friday night at the Continental with his near-thrash guitar licks. He's the man behind that iconic riff opening the movie Pulp Fiction, which was also borrowed for an annoyingly catchy Black Eyed Peas song.
Of course, figurative flames were bursting behind him as he was laying down tunes. Dale was even properly positioned onstage to have his hair blowing throughout his vintage shredding.
Dale, born Richard Anthony Monsour, proclaimed to the crowd his pride in keeping it "old school," starting off by showing us how easily he could craft hits by, say, Johnny Cash into something of his own torrential energy.
Now that you may have a ridiculous godlike mental image of Dale, as he well deserves, mind you this man is almost 75 years old and has battled cancer. Not a gram of illness could be seen in his performance, keeping up more bravado than most performers in their mid-40s.
Though, in reality, despite having lived a straight edge life, avoiding recreational drugs of any kind, and having been a vegetarian for decades, Dale is in fact struggling to keep some serious health issues at bay.
I spoke to Dale and his wife Lana after the show, and they shared with me how he has played several times being dangerously ill, having been saved by the grace of his wife, a retired nurse. Lana claimed that due to his energy, some of his health issues could have gone unnoticed and lead to his death, maybe even right onstage.
Dick warmly added, "If something like that were to happen to me, then at least I would go out with a bang, doing something I love."
Dale indeed regardless poured a healthy amount of energy into the Continental Friday night, playing to a crowd packed like sardines, many doing their own dance or twist or whatever you have it to Dale's tunes.
Dale had some further family support from his son Jimmy Dale, who was a fireball of a drum player, keeping up with his father every lick of the way.
Dale put his guitar down mid-show, picked up some drumsticks and started drumming alongside his son. Their chemistry was, not surprisingly, fantastic.
He then walked over to a supporting band member holding a guitar and began using his drum sticks to rip some melodic distortion, basically playing guitar with his drumsticks. He made it look effortless, of course, producing more figurative flames behind him.
Dale is very much a showman, also producing many singalong tunes for the packed crowd. "House of the Rising Sun" seemed to be a crowd favorite, with much of the crowd chanting, or yelping the chorus alongside him covering the song.
More of his own personal instrumental hits could have been played, in my opinion, as opposed to the slew of singalong super-recognizable classic covers he chose, as some of his treasures such as "Riders in the Sky" were skimmed over. That's a cover too, but it's an example that better showcases his mystical skill, in my opinion.
Dale of course closed out the show spitting out his signature Pulp Fiction hit "Miserlou," solidifying his iconic presence. This is especially where most of the crowd couldn't help moving, twisting, playing air guitar, whatever you may have it to this song, despite the extremely packed space.
Personal Bias: Many in the past couple of decades may simply identify Dick Dale as the man behind the guitar riff opening the movie Pulp Fiction with a bang. Can't say I've seen any negative response to that, because, well, he's Dick Dale. I'll say this maybe qualifies as a general bias.
The Crowd: Packed like sardines!
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Overheard In the Crowd: "Ouch!" and "Sorry!" as an older couple were awkwardly dancing around me basically the entire set, in the most adorable way possible.
Random Notebook Dump: Weezer, pushing their 40s, played with some lost energy at last year's FPSF. Dick Dale, almost 75, is, well, still Dick Dale.