Monday, March 23, 2015

This Little Underground: Dwarves, The Queers, Richie Ramone (Backbooth)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 23, 2015 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge The Dwarves' Blag Dahlia and HeWhoCannotBeNamed - THE DWARVES
  • The Dwarves
  • The Dwarves' Blag Dahlia and HeWhoCannotBeNamed

Of the legendary players at the recent old-school punk show (Mar. 21, Backbooth), Richie Ramone’s set was a bit of big-name mediocrity and the Queers, though lock-tight, were unfortunately still the Queers. More exciting than either of their individual sets was when the Queers brought Richie back up to play “Sheena is a Punk Rocker” for their finale.

click to enlarge The Queers at Backbooth - LINDSAY TOMPKINS
  • Lindsay Tompkins
  • The Queers at Backbooth

But I was there for the Dwarves. Their actual music hasn’t been especially prime since the ‘90s and they haven’t been truly dangerous since before that, but what they embody – the artistic provocation, the system-jolting mischief and, not even gonna lie, the wanton nudity – is something that doesn’t just endear them to me personally but guarantees their seat in the rock & roll pantheon.

click to enlarge The Dwarves at Backbooth - LINDSAY TOMPKINS
  • Lindsay Tompkins
  • The Dwarves at Backbooth

Although the Dwarves have settled into more of a pop-punk sound that’s somewhat antithetical to their blood-guts-pussy doctrine, their live kick remains sonically raw and fitting. But about their famous shock factor: The only danger I’ve personally seen from bandleader Blag Dahlia is him sorta hitting on my girlfriend at the old Will’s. Guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed – who tends to perform in a luchador mask and little else – has been the only band member certifying any of it in the times I’ve seen the Dwarves in this century. But either he was absent or he’s gained a little weight and lost a lot of pizzazz. Absent that, the most shocking thing about this show was the absence of shock or even spectacle, which isn’t exactly the right direction to go in terms of taking people by surprise. Look, a decent straight-up rock show is never anything to turn your nose up at. But for a band whose legacy and currency is as built on outrageousness as the Dwarves, it’s just not enough. 

click to enlarge What's SUPPOSED  to happen at a Dwarves show - MIKE ROSATI
  • Mike Rosati
  • What's SUPPOSED to happen at a Dwarves show

click to enlarge What ACTUALLY happened at this Dwarves show (Backbooth) - LINDSAY TOMPKINS
  • Lindsay Tompkins
  • What ACTUALLY happened at this Dwarves show (Backbooth)


This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene. 

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