THE DWARVES, as part of Punk-O-Rama, the Phoenix, June 28. Tickets: $15. Attendance: 1,100. Rating: NNN
At almost 25 minutes, the Phoenix throwdown presented by old-school punk thugs the Dwarves as part of the Punk-O-Rama tour ranked among their longest ever. But was it their best? For a band notorious for pulling pranks and playing nude, decidedly not.
Let's frontload the picture with the pluses. Few guitarists can spray a crowd with harder, sharper, meaner riffs than HeWhoCannotBeNamed, who appeared this night in black jackboots, blue mask and a flesh-coloured thong that completely exposed his wee white ass.
Drenching the Dwarves' spiky bursts of acidic noise in feedback and sweat, HeWho lacked none of the vigour crucial to hardcore shows, even though, judging by his bod, he's probably old enough to have fathered half the lather of kids popping up and down like corks in the ocean at the foot of the stage.
Similarly, screamer Blag Dahlia -- feet stomping and hands jabbing at invisible threats like some kind of Greg Graffin character on crack -- hollered himself hoarse, though admittedly it was for naught, since the sheer volume of the set rendered most lyrics unintelligible.
This being punk, though, performance evolution wasn't on the dance card. So while we were spared/robbed of such Dwarves past classics as Soak The Audience With Band Urine Collected In A Bucket Backstage and Just Try Grabbing My Naked Balls As I Surf Over Your Head, what we got in their place was a straight-shooting punk rock show. History never repeats.