Churchill's Pub, Miami
Saturday, October 27, 2012
Better Than: Getting hit in the head with a beer bottle by Josh Homme.
At one point in time, a Dwarves performance came with the caveat that you were guaranteed to either witness or take part in fistfights, public nudity, illicit drug use, and be generally engulfed in exactly the kind of debauched scene that your parents were absolutely convinced took place at all punk rock shows. The sort of nightmarish orgy that kept Ronald Reagan up till dawn.
But Saturday night's Dwarves set at Churchill's Pub proved to be a bit more tame than the nihilistic insanity of yore. Nevertheless, Blag Dahlia and his team of punk rock wreckers managed to put on a great show for a costumed crowd, including the resurrected G.G. Allin.
A veritable fall cornucopia of South Florida's punk stylists opened the night for the infamous kings of scum-punk, including the ever-ironically named Severe Disappointments and the shades-at-night fun of Pool Party, as well as Flees, the Ruins, and Enough!
All of the groups did a fine job of warming up the crowd and baring South Florida's formidable set of punk teeth, with special marks in order for Pool Party and its refreshingly simple take on party punk.
Following the parade of locals, DJ Skidmark dropped a set of choice, genre-appropriate tunes that fit into the shuffle of the night like the needle hits a groove. And after a brief introduction from Skidmark, the Dwarves found their way to the stage.
Though drummer Gregory Pecker appeared wearing the hat of a mariachi, HeWhoCannotBeNamed was absent, leaving the stage feeling fairly less Dwarves-y without the iconic nude luchador on guitar. Meanwhile, Dahlia's first order of business was to fondle the testicles of the papier-mache cock 'n' balls hanging above the Churchill's stage, before setting off the band's set of rock 'n roll shenanigans.
As the band of miscreants began running down some snotty sounds, the dance floor broke lose with a few pockets of pseudo-slamming and other aggressive shimmying. There was a young woman (dressed as a Native American chief) getting loose on the bar and plenty of other females scattered about the room grooving and jumping to the lascivious sounds of the Dwarves. We even spotted a young lady doing some very interesting things with hula-hoops during the dirty strut of "You've Gotta Burn"!
The next song began with a bang and a mist of beer from the can of an excited fan at the foot of the stage. While the grotesque visuals one might associate a live Dwarves experience were absent, the band sounded spot-on, displaying that little extra insane something that newer bands tend to miss.
Dahlia stalked the stage, speaking with his hands as he sang about sex, drugs, sex, rock n' roll, sex, and drugs. After railing out "Free Cocaine," Dahlia mentioned how we were all in the home of "free cocaine," though the Dahlia of 2012 refrained from consuming any such substances, in mature defiance of his former self.
A brief homage to the recently fallen Bobby Load punctuated the party vibe. Load received his due respect from Dahlia in a move that placed bittersweet smiles on the faces of Bobby's fans and friends in attendance. The crowd quickly returned to what we feel to be the most fitting tribute to Load: Punk rock.
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Highlights of the night ... Members of Dwarves helping audience members take hits off a beer-bong shaped like a brain and stem. The paper mache' penis getting smashed as candy and sparkles flew everywhere. And Dahlia's comically egotistical demands for people to "clap your hands, bitch," because we were in the presence of "rock legends."
The set ended with the band exiting the stage, instruments still plugged in and howling away at full blast. Dahlia could be found hanging around in front of Sweat Records with some people while audience members patiently awaited an encore that never happened.
A bald, shirtless man exited the bar to the soundtrack of an unattended guitar ringing out, his head covered in sparkles and his face a strange combination of satisfied and bewildered. This man's facial expression sums up the night pretty well. And for what it's worth, a tamed version of the Dwarves is still the fuckin' Dwarves!