The Power of East Coast Surf

horizontal rule


5/28/06 - SPF-4 and Dick Dale in Northampton MA


Well, well, well, last Saturday (5/28) was a night to remember as SPF-4 played their first-ever sold out show in eclectic Northampton, MA (NoHo) at the infamous Iron Horse Music Hall. The Iron Horse is to NoHo what CBGBs is to NYC and has been host to such acts as Marshall Crenshaw, Tony Levin, The Radiators, & Link Wray.

Oh, yeah, did I mention SPF-4 opened for Mr. Surf Guitar, Dick "I treat my women like I treat my guitar" Dale?! Although I heard many people including the Murdercycle crew announcing that they were there just because of SPF-4. Niiiice!
SPF-4 jumped on stage promptly at 7 pm and, due to DD's gear on stage, were lined-up left to right with Craig (drums) on stage right, followed by Rob, Dave, & Tony going straight across the front of the stage. I think the first row of tables was maybe 3-4 feet from the front of the stage. As this was a rather upscale venue the band was very trad and showed off their laid-back & loungey side. I kept waiting to hear Journey to the Stars, but the band decided to pull it from the set list. However, I was pleased to hear them close with my other favorite SPF-4 tune, Crystal T. But Sam's (my son) pick of the set was the spaghetti western twang melody Round Em Up. But do you know what got the biggest reaction during the SPF-4 set? When Rob shared his impending fatherhood with all of us and introduced his very proud Dad sitting in the audience. The set was too short, just a scant 30 minutes, but it was also quite enjoyable and really primed the audience for the King of the Surf Guitar.
At about 8 pm the thunder roared and the place exploded as Nitro came through the front door at about mach ten. Dick was wireless on his left handed honey of a git. Daxx Nielson and Sam Bolle were all too happy to let the big man have center stage providing an even better rhythm section them last year's tour. The 3 of them play together as if they have been together all their lives, true talents each one of them. The highlight of the set was DD showing off his creativity as he played Sam's bass with Daxx's sticks. I am always amazed at the ingenuity with which Dick performs each song. As this was an all ages show it was also the first time I have seen a DD show when I didn't have to wear ear plugs. I liked it much more.
A bit 'o the set: Taco Wagon, Ghost Riders in the Sky, Rumble, House of the Rising Sun, The Wedge, Ring of Fire, Hava Nagila, Miserlou, Let's Go Trippin', Amazing Grace, Third Stone from the Sun, Hey Bo Diddley... Some he played in entirety, some times it was only a few measures of a tune as he blended it into another. Each note was seamless and Sam & Daxx kept right on with him. 
Ah, well the night ended with me & the family hanging out with the beloved Vinnie "O" and his wife Lynn as Vinnie made sure my son Sam got to meet Dick and that Dick understood just who Sam was. They had a nice talk & Dick signed two tickets for Sam to frame & hang up in his room. (Vinnie, you'll never know how much that meant to me.) It was great to see Kevin from Preston Wayne 4 hanging late and chatting too. 
We left NoHo around 11 pm. Happy, excited, awestruck. All these describe how the kids felt on the way home. Me, well..., I just left wishing for one more note, a little more reverb, a bit more twang. Guess that's how Dick Dale keeps me coming back for more.
written by Blue StingRaye, edited by Bobby D.  
Blue StingRaye
Official NESMA Reviewer



What can I say but, WOW!!  I have been waiting a long time to see SPF-4 and I must say........They Did NOT Disappoint!!!!!!   I only wish that their set could have been longer, especially since my very dear friend DD was LATE!!  When he finally arrived on the sidewalk outside, he had his guitar tech, JoJo Rushing, come inside and get me, and I told him that I thought I was going to have to do "Nitro" with Sammy and Daxx!!!!!LOL
As always, I was very happy to see our Blue StingRaye, lovely as ever, and her entourage, including son Sam, who was broken-in to his first Dick Dale concert!!!  
It was a great night!!! Did I mention SPF-4 kicked ass??!!
Peace, Love & Surf
Vinnie "O"
(Formerly of "SURF SQUAD")


Wow ! We've never played to that many people before !

Rob/Dave/Craig have all experienced big shows in their past bands, but for me this was like - WOW !

When I heard all that noise coming from the audience I was blown away !

I was commenting to the other guys that it's nice to finally play to an audience that really 'gets' surf music and is there to hear it....  we usually have a number of folks who dig it, but to have a whole audience of that size (like 200-210 people?) REALLY get into it, man it was awesome !

Great to meet Vinny from Surf Squad - what a cool guy ! I got this tap on my back as we were loading our stuff up on to the stage in the 4 foot pathway that the DD crew left for us (LOL) and I turn around and there's this big dude with a crewcut - 'Is this SPF-4?'

Appreciate the write-up by BSR, too - thanks for mentioning Rob's tribute to his dad - he's on of our biggest fans and supporters out there in the West ....that little speech brought a tear to my eye as well.

What Rob said was that the last time he saw DD, it was with Dick's son Jimmy Dale. Rob said it was great that his dad was supporting him in his playing and that they would play together, etc. Rob thanked HIS dad for always being there as a support for him (huge cheers from the crowd at that point, btw) and then Rob said that HE'S going to be a dad in JUST A FEW WEEKS - which all of us SPF4'ers are anxiously awaiting news of - and that he hopes he can do the same with his son (yes it's going to be a boy, folks !).... and that news just hit the crowd and they loved it.... it was a great moment, truly a great moment, and I gotta salute Rob on that one.

Also the visit from the Murdercycles guys was a complete surprise.....  a short back story on that:  I saw their event 'Hot Rod Rod Riot' (July 22, 2006) listed a few months ago on the Go Kat Go page ( and it just said 'bands tba', so I emailed the guy and asked if they were looking for bands (I live in CT and am always looking for gigs down there - they seem to be harder to come by than MA shows, not sure why)... told him to check out our MySpace page, and he emailed back a couple days later and we were on for the show (9th Wave will also be on that bill !!).... so they basically just drove up from CT to check us out and see what we were like live.  FROM CT! Unbelievable.

There were about TEN of them, trying to get in to a sold out show, and just as we were getting ready to go upstairs, one of them came down and said 'There's a bunch of us out there who want to come in but can't get a ticket because it's sold out'....  I was like 'Try the back door, LOL'

I don't know how they did it (I think they charmed the owner of the place) but they managed to all get in there just as we started playing....

Another cool thing was that when DD arrived out front, most of them were hanging outside, and they got some GREAT Pics of DD sitting on one of the Murdercycles bikes... you can see them at:


Too much more to type about that night, but suffice to say I had the experience of a lifetime....and DD and the boys were great (got to talk to Sam Bolle out front on the sidewalk for a while !), and DD sat and talked with everyone afterwards and shook hands and took pictures and was a real classy guy.

What a night ! Thanks to everyone who came out !



          Back to NESMA website