Memories of Lives Past: It’s the Return of the Dik Van Dykes

December 30, 2013 at 2:34 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

Ever go to a New Year’s Party, even one a few days early, and realize it’s actually a reunion?  Well, I kind of did that last year at Dik Van Dykes drummer Stu Smith’s 50th birthday party, but this time, this time, it was in Hamilton. Hometown rules.

I’d never been to This Ain’t Hollywood, but it wasn’t hard to find, and damn if it didn’t look like a dozen other grubby bars: Tiny stage at one end, questionable washrooms, a treacherous step in the middle (yes, I nearly fell twice) and hockey on the TV. In other words, the perfect venue to see a band. It bore a striking resemblance to the Corktown Tavern, ( I remember seeing No Means No, Deja Voodoo and Shadowy Men at different times there in the eighties). Greatness awaits.

I should mention too that this was a free show. (“No refunds” read the poster). But along with the price of admission came downloads for the two DVD albums, No One Likes… and Waste Mor Vinyl, posters , coasters, a lanyard and a button. Only the t-shirts cost money (I didn’t buy one and regret it now – someone help me out?).

Like the show at the Bovine last year, memories filled the place. Old friends, closer friends. CFMU royalty (sadly, no Tim Collier), even Forgotten Rebel Mickey DeSadist was there. People I had forgotten introduced themselves to me. I had a couple of experiences where people had forgotten me too. It’s all good.  After a quarter of a century (when I left Hamilton), we’ve all changed a lot, and while Facebook has spoiled a lot of the reasons to go to a reunion, the “road not taken” factor still holds true.  And for someone like me who has trouble keeping up relationships, it was good to see people again. (Even though I’m still not much of a mixer). DVD guitarist Steve Hoy gently chided me a little for sitting at the back. Hey, that was pretty much how I was at university too, and since I had to drive back to Toronto, social lubricants didn’t seem like a good idea. But I moved up for each set.

First up were the, er, marvellous, Late Jimmy Marvelous (one day I’m going to ask someone what that means ). Billed as two DVDs (Steve and Stu) a Wet Spot (the incomparable Pat) and a “cute guy on bass,” the LJM ploughed through songs from their album (which was also free at the merch table), including a lovely version of “Too Fat to Ska.”

The Strummerelos  (spelling right this time!) were next.  Last year their set was drawn exclusively from the Clash, either originals or Clash covers (nothing wrong with that), but this year they drew on wider punk sources including Rancid, the Jam, the Specials and Stiff Little Fingers for the ska-ified versions. The perfect soundtrack for a party. (and there’s lots on You Tube to see )

Third were the Krumones, a tribute to the Ramones who borrow their name from the late, and very great Imants Krumins.  and who played a great selection of Ramones covers.

Finally the Dik Van Dykes at 12:20. The band ambled onto the stage and we all took our places. Just before they began, we noticed what Sarah and Renee were holding. “Silly String ” someone behind me squealed. And Bang! we were into “Lime Green Slime.”

And for the next hour, they thrilled. Missed notes and stumbles. Sure. Did they play everyone’s favourite? Nah. I heard shouts for “Gumby” and the reply “I can’t even remember the words,” but they played so many songs we knew and loved, it didn’t matter.

Not sure how many times I saw the Dik Van Dykes over the years, but they were always pretty much the same.  Equal measures of absurdity, punk and self-deprecating humour. Still can’t sing; still can’t play” went the new song “Oh You” but we didn’t care (though we knew it wasn’t true). They were our band.

Next year, Montreal or St. Catharines?

Set List

1. Lime Green Slime
2. Disneyland
3. Six Feet
4. Law ‘n’ Ornaments
5. Klaus Barbie
6 [oops – can’t read my handwriting – I really should print these things]
7. Curling
8. Harold Snepsts
9. Too much like fun
10. Garage Sale
11. Muskrat Love
12. The Birthday Song
12. Lazlo


Oh You (new Song!!!!)
Auld Lang Syne
Road Warrior

PS: None of my pictures came out and no one seems to have posted their footage on You Tube yet. C’mon get on with it!

PPS: You can get the Dik Van Dykes music on CD Baby (and the Late Jimmy Marvelous) – now what about that Gown and Gavel show?


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