Dick Dale; Storytime, Planet, August 8, 1995

As selections for support bands go the Storytime election was the right choice on this Tuesday eve. Neither Storytime or Dale are particularly renown for their lyrical gymnastics, instead there remains their respective command of the six-stringed instrument, albeit several generations and board shapes apart.

With a second drum kit on stage caging bass freak Paul Sanbrook into a foldback speaker prison in the corner, Storytime powered through undetered on their minute stage and delivered, for me at least, a set which I can write something different about. There was of course that overwhelming ‘sand in jocks’ feel that you come to expect, and have delivered, by Storytime, but this August ’95 Storytime were meaner and a tad more creative than I’ve seen in my previous outings.

Riding smoothly between emotions, styles and tracks from their two CD releases, Storytime seem to be breaking free of the basic limtations of their non-vocal three piece format and have fleetingly turned an enquiring eye to the harder world of metal. Diversity in a Storytime set is greatly appreciated by us Perth punters.

With Dick Dale on stage the reason for my fellow community of Planet punters being what they were became apparent. A near full house of surfers, rockabillys and folk who collect vinyl were here to see the guy who was THERE, probably sharing sodas with Jan’n’Dean and the whole fifties surf scene.

With Dale’s Fender amp hanging from the ceiling as to not disturb the distinctive sound from such a unit, the ponytailed grandpa shredded plectrums at the rate of two per song. I wondered why the roady was waving his arms at the lighting guy – Dale seemed to have designated a crowd member to pass him new picks during tracks and he needed to see how worn they were while playing. No strobes for this set, just a blur of shredding plastic to inspire the crowd’s bouncing admiration.

You could take some of the comments by bemused wallflowers on board – that Dale’s last successful album was fifteen years ago – or you could, as the majority of the audience did, take in the beach and waves imagery that flowed from Dale’s shredding plastic picks as a sound of ‘ol California care free technocolor beach-dom – revved up and applied to cult gangster movies.

Yes, Dale did play Miserlou and a whole lot besides. But he also diverged a whole swag of kiddies away from televised pulp violence instead towards those soundtracks of technocolor fantasy where girl meets boy …

It certainly wasn’t a gig for trainspotters, just a celebration of the Fender amp and a guitar hero who could still wow an alien crowd.

Adam Connors