The Dickies – Camden, The Underworld – 7 July 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rowland   
Saturday, 15 July 2017 04:30

Still one of the most vivid memories of my junior school playground was singing the Dickies’ version of ‘Banana Splits’ with my mates when it was rocketing up the UK charts in 1979. In fact it was a top ten single for the fun loving California punks. It wasn’t until a few years later that I first heard the band’s debut album from the same year – ‘The Incredible Shrinking Dickies’ – one of the finest slabs of bright orange vinyl ever released. Tonight is all about that album, and a few other Dickies treats, as they play the first of two nights at Camden’s Underworld, performing the whole of that album tonight, with the whole of second album ‘Dawn Of The Dickies’ the following night, in celebration of The Dickies’ 40th anniversary this year.


Dickiesuk 2017


As the band hit the stage, frontman Leonard Graves Phillips makes it clear they will play the whole album, which being a late 70’s punk album isn’t very long, leave the stage, the crowd will shout for more, and they will return with other selected gems, which is just what they do. As they launch into ‘Give It Back’, it’s clear The Dickies have lost none of their ferocious energy.


The sound, as it always is in this top class venue, is loud and clear, and Phillips himself sounds exactly like he did back in 1979, which strikes me in particular during their turbocharged rendition of Black Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid’. Of course that’s not the only cover version on that first album, and their take on The Monkees’ ‘She’ and Barry McGuire’s ‘Eve Of Destruction’ are just as turbocharged.


A zany sense of humour has always been part of The Dickies make up, and Leonard Graves Phillips, apart from possessing one of the most underrated voices in punk, is like a twisted stand-up comedian in places. The glove puppets come out for ‘Poodle Party’ and ‘Shadow Man’, the monkey mask for the outstanding ‘You Drive Me Ape (You Big Gorilla)’, and blow up doll and snorkel for ‘Waterslide’. Serious fun, and seriously great punk rock too.


After the briefest of breaks, the band return for a run through several other Dickies classics, every one a winner, including ‘Hideous’, ‘I’m OK You’re OK’, ‘Got It At the Store’, ‘Toxic Avenger’ and the awesome bigger than big sing along of ‘Gigantor’. They even find time for a bizarre run through a version of The Who’s ‘See Me, Feel Me’, before returning for a stonking encore of The Isley Brothers’ (via The Human Beinz) ‘Nobody But Me’ followed, of course, by an incendiary ‘Banana Splits’, taking me all the way back to that school playground back in 1979.


Back in the day, The Dickies were the fun California sun alternative to the New York mean streets of the Ramones. Sadly The Ramones never made it to 40 years, but 40 years on The Dickies remain one of the finest exponents of original American punk.


The Dickies’ 40th anniversary tour hits Belfast tonight (Saturday 15 July) and then continues as follows:


Sunday 16 – Edinburgh, Studio 24

Monday 17 – Glasgow, Audio

Wednesday 19 – Newcastle, O2 Academy 2

Thursday 20 – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

Friday 21 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms

Saturday 22 – Wolverhampton, Slade Rooms

Sunday 23 – Brighton, Lewes Con Club


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