When Dick Dale played at the 9:30 Club in June, I was shocked to notice something obviously weird about his guitar I had never clicked on before: It’s strung upside down. The majority of southpaw guitarists probably start out playing a righty model, but most of them quickly see the importance of restringing their axes to mirror the righthanders’. Apparently, the youthful Dale did not, and his extremely unorthodox instrument forced him to develop his trademark all-single-string-lead style, because with the strings going from high to low, not only would chord fingerings be utterly different (and some probably impossible), but even the act of strumming would involve switching all downstrokes to upstrokes, and vice versa. These days, Dale’s gray ponytail and tanned, wrinkled puss make the King of the Surf Guitar look like the kind of character actor Hollywood used to try to pass off as an Indian. Physiognomic mediocrity notwithstanding, that 9:30 show was a loud, rousing performance, despite three things: 1.) The overenthusiastic crowd was mostly frat boys pumped by the idea that through some imagined alchemy just being at the Dick Dale show would make them Quentin Tarantino, which would in turn transform their dates into Uma Thurman; 2.) Dale’s rhythm section consisted of two studio-slick pros who looked like they called the guitarist Mr. Dale to his face and something a lot less respectful when he wasn’t around; and 3.) Dick sang. When he launched into “Fever” (yes, “Fever”), I knew it was time to go. Pray he only steps up to the mike between songs. With Flat Duo Jets at 8 p.m. at the Bayou, 3135 K St. NW. $17. (202) 333-2897. (James Lochart)