Photo by James BunoanTHE DWARVES
Friday, Oct. 8
Tried to get there early to hang with the Dwarves to drink—yeah, to drink!—in the whole brutal Dwarves experience, but as singer Blag (Blag Dahlia, Blag the Ripper, Blag History Month, Papa's Got a Brand New Blag, Paint It Blag—take your pick) put it, "There's no dressing room at that shithole!" so he didn't want to get there any sooner than he had to. It's certainly no secret that the Dwarves' years of real and exaggerated nihilistic antics—playing naked, attacking the audience, playing one or two songs and trashing the stage and ending the show—have become almost an albatross around their necks, though that was fine and even fun when everything was ultra-fast (but always insidiously, insanely catchy) punk. But now that the band's spent the past several albums (and years) stretching into electronica, pure pop and hip-hop, cultivating such a cretinous fan base may be catching up with them—though a game of Spot the Awful Tattoos played great backup entertainment all night, and watching some blob with a Mohawk talk on his cell phone makes a nice bonus. The Dwarves stepped onstage while their shit-talking rap song "Massacre" played over the PA, with on-and-off guitarist Hewhocannotbenamed clad in a wrestling mask, black jockstrap and nothing else. Blag was all grins and bravado in fingerless gloves and a sleeveless mod target T-shirt. The band jumped into "Dominator," and the floor erupted—pure, stupid, kinetic, misanthropic hatred flowing offstage. The audience slurped it up. Blag swaggered back and forth, gesturing for the faithful to let him hear it: "Yeah! Yeah! Rock legends. Big dicks swinging across Orange County!" Tattooed maniacs pumped their fists and grinned Christmas-morning grins—this crowd was there for chaos. The highlight of the set was the Blood Guts & Pussy—you've at least seen the naked-women-covered-in-blood cover, even if you don't own arguably the best punk record of the '90s—three-pack of "Backseat of My Car," "Detention Girl," and "Astro Boy." Right after: "You Gotta Burn" and a minor audience sing-along as Blag smiled. It was dirty-rock slink meeting heavy-rock thud and even security were bobbing their heads. Finally, "We Must Have Blood" (a theme for the evening?) and an abrupt-but-not-spectacular ending, given the shit the Dwarves have pulled before. It was probably because the equipment was borrowed from Broken Bottles. Kind of like the audience, the Dwarves may look scary now, but at the end of the night, things were perfectly businesslike.