It’s kind of amazing that Dwarves still exist. The band formed in Chicago in the mid-1980s, anchored by lead singer Blag Dahlia (aka Blag the Ripper) and guitarist HeWhoCannotBeNamed, and were disciples of GG Allin’s brand of Punk Rock mayhem — part performance art and almost wholly anarchic. Marked by nudity, self-mutilation, drinking and drugging, Dwarves’ early live shows often lasted less than 15 minutes.
Following a pair of Sonics-influenced Garage Rock records (the aptly titled Horror Stories and Toolin’ for a Warm Teabag), the band hooked up with the fledging Sub Pop label to release 1990’s Blood Guts & Pussy, a breakthrough of sorts — 12 songs in 14 minutes, each a blast of hardcore guitars and Blag’s shouted fantasies about sex and violence. The album also marked the beginning of Dwarves’ penchant for provocative album cover art — this one featuring two nude woman and (what else?) a dwarf, each splattered in blood.
After two more records for Sub Pop, the label dropped them after a hoax involving the faked death of HeWhoCannotBeNamed. Nine (or so) records for a series of labels have appeared since, some anchored by Garage and Punk Rock, others Surf, Metal and even Pop Punk. But all of the releases are laced with Blag’s enduring lyrical preoccupation with debauchery and twisted, dark humor.
Besides the two founders, Dwarves’ current lineup features bassist Rex Everything (aka Nick Oliveri of Queens of the Stone Age fame), guitarist Fresh Prince of Darkness and drummer Dutch Ovens. Expect the band’s local stop to draw heavily from recent albums Radio Free Dwarves and The Dwarves Invented Rock & Roll, and don’t be surprised if Blag pulls out such “classics” as “Drug Store,” which he still delivers with as much enthusiasm as the day it spewed forth more than a quarter century ago.
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