The Dwarves

with Batpiss and Kremlings

Their days of on-stage sex and self-mutilation may be over, but Chicago’s The Dwarves continue to flip a middle finger to modern standards of social decency. They’re also churning out damn fine punk rock records. These guys don’t tour often, and even though its a weeknight in Geelong, I’m expecting quite a spectacle.

Up first, Kremlings smear themselves all over the stage. This is high-strung, antisocial violence, and I lap it up. At the pinnacle of their weirdo angst, blood pisses from vocalist Andre Merino’s nose. He stands smiling amongst the grinding pummel his bandmates are whipping up, throwing a bloody wink into the crowd. The image is seared into my brain.

Batpiss look casually agitated in comparison. Their songs still manage to sound raw as fuck, but I’ve seen these guys in full flight, and they’re definitely in cruise mode right now. I want shower them in broken glass and see what happens, but I’m far too polite for provocation. The urgency is a pantomime, and for tonight that’s ok. The shitty sound matters even less, it’s a fun set.

The Dwarves are known for shuffling their lineup around. But I’m extremely surprised to see core guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed is missing. Without him perched on stage clad in nothing but a jock strap and a wrestling mask (if that), it just doesn’t feel like a Dwarves show. The four members who’ve made the trek out here have gotten old, things feel sedate. These guys can handle anything the crowd can throw at them, and on a rowdy night no doubt they’d shine. But it’s not a rowdy night, and I’m a little bored.

Nonetheless, the back to back combination of ‘I Will Deny’ and ‘Everybody’s Girl’ is undeniably enjoyable. Their new tracks are actually some of the most impressive, ‘Sluts of the USA’ offering up pedal to the metal mindlessness. Vocalist Blag Dahlia kicks off ‘Act Like You Know’ with a humble request: “alright, let’s have some violence.” He fails to spark a response, and I’m not disappointed. This is a set packed with nostalgia, things feel pretty fun, we’ve all accepted that tonight’s just not going to get that wild. It’s all over in 40 minutes, but there’s enough packed into that time that I’m satisfied.

Did this show live up to its potential? Definitely not. But my nostalgia is appeased, and I’m not asking for those 40 minutes of my life back.
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