There’s nothing like a dose of punk rock to assault your sensibilities and get the adrenaline running fast enough to keep the old peepers wide open. Melbourne’s punk aficionados rolled into The Evelyn to see a band first conceived after a Damned gig, way back in ’77.
The Dickies took British and New York punk and injected it with their own Californian serum to make a new slapstick brand of irreverently silly music. In doing so they endeared themselves to fans of the genre everywhere, yet here in Australia we have had to wait 28 years to glimpse the band in all its glory.
After two Melbourne punk acts Pow Pow Kids and Strawberry Fist Cake warmed-up the crowd, we waited patiently for The Dickies to show.
This night there was a surprise band member making an appearance…Bethany the blow up doll was a popular and nubile addition, and she proved a popular dance partner.
Leonard Graves Phillips’ (vocals) nerdy appearance belies the fact that he is a legend in these, very critical, circles. More power to him as he has outstayed some very tough times indeed with the deaths of several band members due to drug misuse and other health issues. Typically though, The Evelyn sound was shit and for most of the night it was difficult to hear any of Phillips’ vocals. Combine that with microphone feedback, and the band and punters were in for frustrating times.
Still, the show must go on, and that’s exactly what happened. The punters knew the words, the chords, the very essence of the music, and were in the mood to enjoy what The Dickies were dishing out. 24 songs – all of them classics, reverberated around the room and tweaked the eardrums of fans. Stan Lee (guitar), Dave Teague (guitar), Adam Gomez (drums) and Eddie Tater (bass) rocked it hard and fast and got the eclectic crowd excited.
Then…after 22 songs…there it was. It was the one that the oldies were waiting for with baited breath…nana na nanana nah, nana na nananananah. Think chimps, think banana, and think splits. Oh yeah! The cult classic ‘Banana Splits’ theme song. Perhaps a tad annoying but one of those ditties that stays in your brain for 26 years. (I hope that Justin Bieber doesn’t have the same degree of longevity or we may have to take to our brains with a pick-axe.)
It’s not often we get to see bands of such noble standing, so if you love punk rock and you appreciate your music without the bullshit factor, then you should bust your balls to see The Dickies play hard across Australia and New Zealand.
Review by Sharon Brookes, photos by Mary Boukouvalas.