Virtually nothing about musical success has to do with a meritocracy. Luck and timing? Yes — good and bad. The negative part of this equation explains why the rock act dada — despite a teaspoon of success in the early '90s – isn't one of the biggest bands of all time. There. I said it and I believe it. Blending the power trio creativity of Cream, the melodies and harmonies of Simon & Garfunkel, and wittily sardonic commentary on SoCal culture, dada released a handful of archly tuneful albums that still blow my mind: "Puzzle," "American Highway Flower," "dada," and "El Subliminoso." Now out on their 25th anniversary tour, dada plays at 9 p.m. Saturday at Café 9, 250 State St., New Haven. Tickets are a reasonable $20 — and, yes, they're fantastic onstage. Call (203) 789-8281.