This date in 2003 once again found us taking a road trip to see the Dictators. Being longtime fans, we were aware that there were often long gaps between gigs, so we tried to see as many as we could to tide us over between breaks.
This particular trip took us to lovely Philadelphia. The “lovely” part, we’ll have to take their word for. We got seriously lost in South Philly, the worst burned-out ghetto this side of “Superfly.” Around and around we drove, 2 of the palest white boys you have ever seen, as we tried to work from the vague directions the pre-Mapquest search provided. With the dome light glaring, we could not have called more attention to ourselves if we’d had an air raid siren shrieking. We simply could not find the club!! The hotel, we found no problem, as we passed that twice! Once we saw our second upside-down car on fire, we figured it was time to call the North Star Bar and ask for directions. My friends, it’s never a good sign when you tell the club your location, and they reply with “Oh my God, get the hell out of there now!”
The gig itself, which was almost anticlimactic after the stress of finding the place, was a lot of fun. This short-lived 4 piece line-up of the Dictators was a rejuvenation period for the band. Both Andy and RTB had to double up to cover for the missing rhythm guitar, and everyone in the band really worked like hell during this period to prove they could pull it off without Scott.
The set list, which had gotten a bit static in 2001 + 2002, also got a good overhaul. “Young, Fast, Scientific” and “Teengenerate” were welcome returns that hadn’t been played in years, and you show me anyone who isn’t happy to hear “Cars and Girls,” and I’ll show you someone who’s too busy shaking his fist at clouds to have fun.
1. Young, Fast, Scientific
2. The Party Starts Now!
3. Master Race Rock
4. Baby Let’s Twist
5. In the Presence of a New God
6. Faster and Louder
7. I Stand Tall
8. Avenue A
9. I Want You Tonight
10. Who Will Save R+R?
11. Cars and Girls
12. I Am Right
13. Minnesota Strip
14. NY NY
16. Stay With Me
19. Sonic Reducer
20. Two Tub Man
— Salvi C.
2 responses to “Lost in the City of Brotherly Hate”
“I Think SHAFT Would Even Be Scared Around Here”
Lemme add a few sylables about that long night ; I flew from Madison to Minneapolis to Boston, then you & I drove from Logan down to Philly, but we never got lost until we hit the one-way mean streets close to the North Star. Nary a cop nor a friendly face to be seen. We finally found the club, thanks to a big long distance cell phone assist to the fabulous Mrs. Robbiecube, back at our 6,000 acre Wisconsin cheese curd ranch.
After avoiding an almost certain violent demise, upon arriving at The North Star Bar, we each pounded several tall frosty beverages in rapid succession, as the Scott-less Dictators buzzsawed through a completely revamped set list. Ross chimed in on backing vocals, including the surferdude falsetto on “Cars And Girls”, and used a wah wah pedal on several tunes that night.
The North Star proved to be a pretty cool club. Post-gig, we briefly hung out with JP & RTB before retiring to our sumptuous suite to enjoy a well- deserved snooze.
Then, bright and surly the next morning, after downing a suitably slimy breakfast at a nearby greasy spoon, it was off to The Paradise!
Fantastic that you found the place. Think I know where yous were at. Oddly, the same thing happened to me my 1st time goin’ to the North Star. Was seein’ Rocket From the Tombs. Which seemed to be where the speeding zombie-like pedestrians I avoided running over and making eye-contact with were launched from. Boarded up shacks in complete darkness. Im from Jersey, 15 min from South Philly but I never came across that part o’ town and never will again… Anyone know who the Dictators opened for at the Troc back like 12 years ago? Can’t remember and was wondering.