Thursday, 29 July 2010

407 THE DICKIES, Caffeine, Bristol Fleece, Sunday 6 June 1999

A welcome return to gig activity with me for Mr. Paul Garratt, following a nasty bout of glandular fever which still debilitates him a little. Still, I picked him up from his mams, and off we did trot, getting to the Fleece well before support Caffeine came on. If they are the same lot who sucked supporting "The Still" 6 years ago, they've "progressed" from a sub-RATM band to a sub Green Day lot, all punk thrash, bluster and no real identity or tunes. They were largely ignored by the larger-then-expected crowd.

Ignorance is something you could never offer the Dickies though. Now down to 2 original members - the squat, Deputy Dawg-like Stan Lee, and the rakishly thin, Iggy on helium vocalist Leonard Graves Phillips - they were nevertheless still stuck in their extraordinary cartoon punk rock timewarp, and sucked us all in with them. An early "Paranoid" and "Nights In White Satin", both dispatched at 1,000 mph, set the tone for some splendid thrashy yet together sounding vintage US punk classics. "Pretty Please Me" was a highlight for me, as was Leonard's plea, before playing their latest single; "please please please buy the fucking record; it's been 20 years since we had a novelty hit here (in the UK) and I've spent all that time on my mother's sofa shooting up heroin!".

The banter continued in this vein (ouch!); "I can't work - they'd kill me in MacDonalds! Imagine it; "hey, you're Leonard Graves Phillips of the Dickies! Great band! Anyway, I'll have a Big Mac..."".

Oddly, Phillips has a very deep spoken voice; quite where the helium blabbermouth singing voice comes from, fuelling the fantastically entertaining punk rock, I don't know! All the props were in evidence as well; the ape mask, the snorkel and blow-up sex doll for the brilliant "Waterslide", and of course Stuart, the full-arm-length penis glove puppet. Weird and wonderful.

Got lost on the way back from PG's house after dropping an incredulous PG home, just to top a bizarre yet brilliant night. As with my last Dickies gig, this is one to tell the grand-kids about...!

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