Pop punk anthems, singalongs, sophomoric antics, pogo punk dancing, and bubblegum dreams were all I had on my agenda going in to the Soda Bar on a chilly January night in San Diego. It would seem appropriate that I wouldn’t be alone in my idea, seeing as how that’s what The Dickies are known for. When you think of classic bands, nobody sounds more fun than The Dickies. Unfortunately, much like my last time seeing The Dickies, I soon realized that my ideas were vastly different than my fellow punk rockers attending the show that night.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, The Dickies!”
Blazing right into “Killer Klowns,” followed right away into “Fan Mail,” was the perfect start to a night filled with poppy gems. After all these years, it’s so fun and amazing to see that these San Fernando dudes have still got it! Somehow, though, between the blowup sex dolls, the scuba masks, the penis puppet, and the Stan Lee superhuman guitar riffs, a large segment of the crowd was miraculously able to latch onto a lamer, shittier, less fun and more annoying vibe. Sounds impossible? Hard to believe? Misunderstanding on my part? I hoped so, too.
Trust me. I’ve seen more pits than a bowl of cherries, at this point in my life, so this isn’t a complaint about some asshole who “doesn’t get it.” This is written from a rock’n’roll Juggernaut of sorts… so I feel like my complaints are valid, honest, and not alone. Standing at the front of the stage, I was aggressively kicked in my ass. Literally. Taking pics and getting kicked is not my game. And, really, if they were Teenage Kicks, I might’ve understood. These kicks though were from a chick of about forty-five trying to live out her annual punk rock night.
Luckily, I was able to find shelter in the form of a punk rock elder as confused as I was. In fact, once I started looking around and feeling out the crowd, it was obvious that this good-time show was some sort of “amateur night” for old punks who come to one show a year and act out their punk rock aggression from childhood. These people are who make my decision to see an older band annoyingly hard. They show up with un-ironic outfits, fists full of hate, and a severe misunderstanding of what punk rock is—or at least what my opinion of it is. A drunken fist fight in the middle of the pit? Not even close to punk rock. Pushing girls down and spitting beer on everyone? Wrong again. Most of us relate to the music and love the getaway that is offered, and it bums me out when I am focusing on getting my noggin hit or my hair pulled more than watching the band.
At the end of the night, what really matters is that after all this time The Dickies are still dishing out an amazing show. They pioneered the way for so many other fun and poppy bands, and are still showing the kids how it’s done. Anyway—apart from everything I just mentioned—the next time The Dickies come to my town, I’ll be right there. If I have to take an ass-kicking to see a band I love, then kick away, because nobody will notice my tears as I’m singing along.
Cahnie Galletta is a photographer from San Diego, Ca who was privileged enough to grow up in the Southern California punk scene. She has turned her love of shows and art into a way of life. To see her work go to Crowdsurfingthroughlife.tumblr.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sdgidgetphotography. If you are ever getting married, check out her alternative wedding photos sdgidget.portfoliobox.me