Deke Dickerson & the Trashmen at the Minnesota State Fair, 8/27/14

Categories: Last Night
Photo by Steve Cohen

Deke Dickerson with the Trashmen
Minnesota State Fair's Schell's Stage, St. Paul
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Deke Dickerson teaming with the Trashmen for two nights at the Minnesota State Fair's newly erected Schilling Amphitheater felt like a no-brainer. The legendary Minnesota garage, surf, old school rock 'n' roll band was fresh off another career highlight, their umpteenth release, Bringing Back the Trash, which features Dickerson sitting in with the band.

An influential axeman himself, Dickerson formed his first rockabilly band, Untamed Youth, in the '80s when he was only 17. But he still couldn't get over the fact he has been performing with his childhood heroes spoke earnestly and proudly of the experience of making new music with the band.

Photos by Steve Cohen

Re-energized by Dickerson, the Trashmen brought massive amounts of reverbed amplifiers and their stockpile of garage rock style that had their fans all smiles for the whole night.

For the most part, the Trashmen took advantage of Dickerson's presence as he laid out some of the meaner solos throughout their set. Playing mostly newer material and focusing on their new record, in his consistently in awe and charmingly self-deprecating manner, Dickerson warned the audience, "Here's a song from our new album. If you don't like it, feel free to boo!"

Gradually toes and heels started tapping among the polite audience, and it felt everyone was slowly just warming up to the band's new songs. Ripping through some mean Stratocaster soloing, original guitarist Tony Andreason stood stoically as he tore out staccato melodies that danced about the firm backbeat of replacement drummer Robin Reed. Holding down a steady groove with his father, bassist Rob Reed, Robin also filled in for the famous Trashmen vocals on several songs.

A cold ending on their version of "It's So Easy" would slowly get the audience on edge and ready to move on the wide open dance floor. Only a few young girls seemed to be feeling the music. There was more than one father/daughter combo bopping along to the surf beats. Swinging around in circles with pink blankets, the children were getting the party going as more folks found their way up front.

"Hey, we're playing a lot of the new record and none of you have booed!" Dickerson acknowledged.

Photo by Steve Cohen

As if to tease the audience, Dickerson asked, "What's the Word?" A buzz of the lips hinted at the Trashmen's biggest hit, "Surfin' Bird" but it was only the follow-up, '64's equally solid "Bird Dance Beat." The heavy rhythm and soaring guitars accompanied nicely with the audience singing right along, "Pappa Oo Maw Maw, Pappa Oo Maw Maw."

Slowing things down a bit, Dickerson took the lead in a truly rocking version of perhaps the Trashmen's biggest influence, Link Wray's "Rumble."

With sweetness and a steady beat, picking things up a tad, Dickerson introduced the band's favorite Everly Brothers' song, "Claudette." The sentimental vibe last through each song as Dickerson seemed to keep pinching himself while on stage, "I'm with my favorite band! I really can't believe I'm doing this."

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