Dictators, The with The Bellrays at Spaceland: Dude, I think it was sometime in Sept. 2000 By Nam

NYC’s delegates of original punk rock and good times graced the unworthy, rafter-bursting crowd of Angelenos once again with their trademark formula for fun: “Cars, girls surfing, beer — because you KNOW — nothing else matters here.” This show followed closely with their Sunday night crescendo performance at The Shakedown (I don’t care who the next band was — nobody fucking follows The Dictators!) and they were in fine form as they raced through the classics — “Stay With Me,” “Who Will Save Rock’n’Roll?” the Dead Boy’s “Sonic Reducer,” and more. No sign of “Cars and Girls,” although the chicks were hollerin’ for it like it was going-going-gone out of fashion. Nonetheless, Handsome Dick and the boys were a fine-tuned engine of 200 octane, rock’n’roll power, high performance… what else would you fucking expect from the original purveyors of rock, wrestling, and that New York-tough-as-hell attitude. The ladies will tell you again and again — that’s the sexiest thing on earth! You wanna see the testimony of their continuing greatness, just read what I lifted off their website, <thedictators.com>:

“You know, I used to drive a cab in this dirty, stinkin’ ol’ town, and one time on the Upper East Side, I picked up Art Garfunkel. I took him over to the West Side Highway, and I said, “Art, I’m dumping you in the river. Your voice is too high.”

Awesome is not a word that does justice to this uber-mensch, Handsome Dick Manitoba. There’s a priceless vat of common sense tidbits, Nick Tosches quotes, and more on this highly recommended site. Oh, and be sure to hang out at Manitoba’s bar in the Big Apple next time you’re around. They feature live acts with the HDM seal of approval, so you know you’ll be in good hands.

Back to the show: I was raging like a storm in the middle of a hot monsoon season when I realized that my ribs were getting crushed by the PA. Rocking out in the front row comes with hazards one must endure in order to survive the brutal rock of The Dictators. The next day as I unclothed myself to take a well earned-shower, I saw the black and blue Dalmatian prints of bruises littering my body. All I could do was smile knowing that each bruise counted as each song in the long repertoire of the last great American band to survive the punk rock heydays of CBGB’s.

A sceneworthy note: guess who I saw in the ladies room? None other than Corey formerly of Nashville Pussy. We had a brief chat about The BellRays (it was their last show with the original lineup). Corey was swearin’ up and down like they were the next best thing since single-wrapped cheese food. She seemed pretty haggard and tired, like the rock’n’roll lifestyle caught up to her fast. Oh well, word on the street is that she’s joining Hole. On that note I throw my hands up in the air and proclaim, “Oi!”