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In 1961, Dick Dale decided to try to musically simulate the heady sensation of surfing, to capture in rock ‘n’ roll the power of the ocean. The result, “Let’s Go Trippin’,” kicked off the surf instrumental craze that eventually swept across America, generating a few national hits and hundreds of vocal-less guitar combos. While Dale never scored a huge hit, he was truly the “King of the Surf Guitar,” employing an imaginative staccato picking style, Leo Fender’s portable reverb unit, and strange Middle Eastern melodies to create the first rock ‘n’ roll music that was all atmosphere and adrenalin. It was a major step for rock ‘n’ roll into the purity of high-tech sound-making and, not surprisingly, a good surf instrumental still carries a timeless charge. As does Dale, who makes a rare area appearance in support of a fine new Hightone album at 8:30 p.m. at the Birchmere, 3901 Mount Vernon Ave., Alexandria. $15. (703) 549-5919. (Jack Shafer)