Photo by DFFD123
The Dictators NYC at the Parlor in Newport, R.I., on Sept. 17. Had I known there would be Spookyworld lighting, I would have dug my zombie makeup out a month early. #nofilter
This thing of ours ain’t always pretty or easy. Sometimes, like a pitcher who finds out in his first inning that half his stuff isn’t working, a band has to simply soldier on and find a way to make the magic happen.
This was the terrain the Dictators NYC found themselves in in their recent w/e in MA and RI. Indifferent or incompetent sound men, borrowed equipment, and a singer whose voice was working on zero days’ rest added up to a thin hand.
Friday’s gig was at Once, a swanky new place in Somerville, MA, in front of a boisterous crowd that HDM immediately cozied up to by telling us that we all s*cked for being Red Sox fans. We love you too, Big Guy. I hope those cleat marks on the Yankees’ necks wash off with a little soap.
While a ton of fun for everyone who wasn’t on stage, you could see that the guys were a little frustrated by the technical difficulties. This proved to be a foreshadowing of things to come the next night.
The Dictators NYC brought the savage beat to Reggie’s in Chicago this past Friday for the first time since 2003. Fans from all over the Cheese Belt gathered to hear the awesome roar, and the band did not disappoint.
Considering how frazzled the band members were from dealing with van problems that almost derailed the gig, it would have been within their rights to not have had their “A” game going. Instead, we got a smoking performance from a band that seemed to be rejuvenated once they hit the stage and heard the roar of the lights and the smell of the crowd.
Half of the fun this night came from watching HDM and Dean get jiggy with it. Some of their Solid Gold moments were their tango during “Faster and Louder,” the modified Temptations march from “Get Ready” during “I Stand Tall,” and Dean’s shaking of his money-maker during “Baby Let’s Twist.”
Photo credit: Mike Dewey
This date in 1991 found our guys on their second weekend road trip of 1991. After a couple of tentative shows in Providence and Boston the prior w/e, this show in Washington, DC, presented a confident and tight band, in one of their best shows of that year.
While we don’t condone bootlegs, we certainly do enjoy them, and this show is one of the very best. It’s from the Ross the Boss Megamix series, with his amp 3 times louder than anyone else on stage. Sometimes these things happen for a reason. This night’s reason was to make sure we could appreciate his Dharma-esque, extended and exciting solos in “Loyola” and “Stay With Me,” the likes of which were unheard before or since. Thrilling stuff.
The Dictators NYC, the band with more name changes than P. Diddy, hit the Bowery Electric this past Thursday for their first New York show of the year. As always, BE was packed with the sweaty faithful, wanting it fast and loud, and our boys did not disappoint.
Sometimes it’s big things (Oh my God, they’re actually playing? It’s been five years!) from shows that make for the memories, and sometimes it’s little things. Here are a few of the little gifts the show had to offer:
• A much-needed pitchfork was taken to the set list. “Savage Beat,” “I Stand Tall” and “Minnesota Strip” are in; “Haircut and Attitude,” “Pu**y and Money” and “American Beat” are on the bench. (The lobbying committee to add “Master Race Rock” and “Cars and Girls” meets on Wednesdays at DFFD HQ. All are welcome. Conference Room B, bring a snack.)
• Having Dean do the perverted whispering BV during “Minn Strip,” and never go near the mic for the rest of the show, is genius.
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!”
Andy Shernoff’s Song Workshop is in the middle of a month-long residency at Otto’s Shrunken Head on 14th Street in NYC. We caught the set last Wednesday.
These gigs are rare chances to peek behind the songwriter’s curtain, and witness songs as they are being brought to life. The musicians barely know the tunes — experiments are made, risks taken, mistakes shrugged off. It’s endearing to hear the material in this manner, and it’s a unique experience for the audience.
This was the first time I’ve noticed just how amazing Brian Hurd and Tricia Scotti truly are, and how they are both perfectly suited for their supporting roles. They both display musical intuition that sometimes borders on the telepathic. Brian, who’s rocking the largest set of mutton chops since the heyday of Andre the Giant, never overplays, and always supplies what the song needs. Sometimes it’s a wailing solo, sometimes a background fill, but he’s always spot on and soulful. And Mother of God, what a voice on Tricia Scotti. It is a wonder of nature. I would pay to hear her sing the phone book.
Three of the night’s tunes were new to these ears, and all were memorable. “I Just Want To Save Your Soul” is almost spiritual in tone, while “I Know a Song To Save Your Life” has a Paul McCartney vibe (the GOOD Macca, not the “Just Another Day” Macca). “I Cried Love” was the best of the newbies, with a simple, soothing feel that is reminiscent of “Stay With Me” while sounding nothing like that classic.
The Otto’s residency wraps up tomorrow. There are more shows coming in Queens, and another soon at Café Nine in New Haven. There will be lots of Shernoff to go around in 2013.
Photo courtesy of Natalie Bradt
“Monitors are for pu**ies!” declared the too-sexy-for-his-white-jeans HDM, as Manitoba blazed their way through a 40-minute greatest hits set at Wavestomp this past Sunday. This was the debut of Wavestomp, and judging from the size of the crowd and the level of good vibes, it’s destined to become an annual event.
The gig took place in the “ballroom” of Rocks Off concert cruise’s largest ship, The Princess, as it did laps around the Statue of Liberty. While the ship initially seemed like an odd venue, the unique layout — with the stairs serving as tiered seating and the upper deck doubling as a wrap-around balcony — actually made for a nice and compact auditorium feel.
This show was as close to a Dictators convention as we’ve had thus far, and the competition was intense for the coveted “who traveled the farthest” award. “Boston? Feh, plus your team sux. North Carolina? Now we’re talking! Wisconsin? Who has Google Maps, which one’s father away? Wait, Minneapolis?? I think we have a winner!”
I’m running out of adjectives with which to describe just how great this band sounds, and how much F-U-N fun these gigs are.
Set list from 7/22/12:
• 1. The Party Starts Now
• 2. Next Big Thing
• 3. Avenue A
• 4. Haircut and Attitude
• 5. Slow Death
• 6. Who Will Save Rock + Roll
• 7. New York, New York
• 8. Stay With Me
“Baby, Let’s Twist” and “American Beat” were cut at the line of scrimmage due to time constraints.
— Salvi C.