I use the side door at the Silver Dollar. That puts me at “semi-regular” status, somewhere between a bachelorette party and a motorcycle club. I step in out of the evening Mandan mist to the familiar hum of the dimly lit, smokey dive that has happily become my second home and gently push my way through the diverse and eclectic crowd to the booth nearest the middle bar (the one with the stuffing exposed from the rip along the back and the busted springs that result in a dip in the seat on the left side.) Mel, my favorite cocktail waitress, with her apple bottom jeans and boots with the fur, meets me with a freshly cracked can of ice cold PBR. “From Doug,” she says as I tip her and nod at the gifter, the bar’s manager of 15 years, a hulking teddy bear of a man who will either give you a hug or the beat down, depending on how you treat your fellow patrons in his presence. Doug nods back as I wedge myself into the table with my usual gang of misfits and say my hellos.
These are my Dirty Blonde Band friends. We don’t really see each other outside of these events. We’re a mix of loyal fans that have gravitated together over time to form a group of groupies. I like them. I like having only this in common with them. It’s like being part of some anonymous club that offers safety and support in this particular environment. My escape. I like it.
As the pack and I conduct our weekly briefing, a spunky girl in torn fishnets and knee high boots, who’s no bigger around than my pinky finger, bustles by on her way to the tiny stage in front of us. “Hey guys!” she chimes in her giddy, high pitched voice. We smile and wave as she hops the single step and approaches the mic. This is Holly, the lead singer of Dirty Blonde. Her husband, Donovan, following close behind, wanders to the drum kit, downs a shot of something green, pulls off his shirt and takes a seat. Stellar lead guitar player Nathan and breathtaking bassist Tommy flank the little blonde woman and their gear fires up.
“Welcome to the legendary Silver Dollar Bar,” hot Tommy howls in his best rock n roll voice, “We are Dirty Blonde and here we go!” And then, out of this small, squeaky girl, comes an impossibly huge voice that gives you chills and the Dirty Blonde Band sizes your Saturday night.
While most local cover bands are sort of unfairly forced into the standard hits, Dirty Blonde has an awesome advantage: a female up front. With that, they can play all sorts of stuff that you might not otherwise hear in a bar in this area that you are guaranteed to immediately recognize and enjoy. Among my personal favorites are “Trouble,” by Pink, “Queen of Hearts” by Juice Newtown and a fabulous Bangles medley. Not only are they familiar and fun but Dirty Blonde, a truly professional and proficient rock band, knocks it out of the park every time with their originality and superior style. With a wealth of musical knowledge and talent, over 40 years of combined experience and an ever changing set list full of the greatest hits of the last 5 decades, this more than nice to look at band WILL entertain and enchant you with their boundless energy and bubbly charm.
The gang and I drink and dance until Tommy tells us they’ve got time for one more and we cheer as they end the night with “Rebel Yell,” while Doug brings up the closing lights. We say our goodbyes and move reluctantly toward the exits. As I pass the stage I give that beautiful bass player a wink. He smiles distractedly as he packs up his rig so I just sigh and head for home, already planning the perfect outfit for the next show and the next opportunity for him to finally notice me. I know that someday being a groupie will pay off. Until then, at least I’ll have a great party to hit every weekend and great friends to party with. Should you wish to join us you can always find us in our corner booth where we’ll surely squeeze you in and show you a good time…as long as you keep your meat hooks off my bass player.
For more information on Dirty Blonde find them on Facebook.
Check out Amber Rae’s blog at: http://redamberrae.wordpress.com/ dive-bar-diva/. Also be sure to “like” Dive Bar Diva on Facebook, listen to her radio show on URL every other Wednesday at 4 p.m. and watch her television segment Thursdays at 9 p.m. on CATV12 or any day any time on Youtube.