Are Young and Good Looking (Recess)
by Duke Crevenator
What’s up with the Dwarves? Are these fancy produced harmonies I’m hearing? Snazzy samples segueing into the following track? Has someone stolen the band name from the legendary, brawling bad-ass Dwarves of yore? Apparently not, but if you’re expecting the Dwarves of years past you’re in for a shock. As a long-time fan, my initial reaction was a bitter one, until the second track “We Must Have Blood.” I quickly realized that the Dwarves may have matured in terms of production and musicianship, but spiritually, they have remained quite true to their roots. They appear to be on the same kind of track as fellow aging punkers the Queers – keeping the sense of humor of their early work, but with the vastly improved musical ability that comes with being around for so stinking long. I don’t think there is a throwaway track on this record, but the standouts are “You Gotta Burn,” “One Time Only,” and “Pimp.” The one complaint, and this goes for nearly all the punk releases I’ve heard lately, is that it’s VERY short. The total time is 39 minutes, with a good ten minutes or more of that being silence before the hidden track at the end of the disc. If I’m paying money for a disc, it’s a ripoff to get only half an hour, not to mention those absurd ten-minute silences before hidden tracks. This isn’t just a condemnation of the Dwarves, though; all these fucking bands should make their discs at least 40 minutes of real music. Shit, you can fit 74 minutes on a fucking CD, right?
It is always reassuring to know, however, that despite the well-produced tracks on this album, the Dwarves’ live appearances remain an exciting adventure. In April of this year, I had the pleasure of seeing them play in Lawrence, Kansas with hometown heroes Cocknoose. The show was at a club called the Outhouse, which sits in the middle of a cornfield, of all places. Unfortunately for the Dwarves, Cocknoose got the sold out crowd so riled up that they didn’t stand a chance.
As soon as the band hit the stage they were attacked. It was like a Viet Nam ambush. Somehow, nearly the entire crowd had scores of bottle rockets and plenty of empty bottles to shoot them from. As the Dwarves attempted to begin their first song there was a barrage of fire from all sides. Every member of the band had explosions going off around him. Blag Jesus (lead vocals) had several popping off right in front of him. The Dwarves bravely attempted to continue until finally, the drummer was hit in the head with a skyrocket. It knocked him on his ass, HARD. That’s when they knew it was time to go into full retreat. Screaming “You’re nothing but a bunch of fucking inbreds! You hear, INBREDS!” as they trashed their equipment in an attempt at retreat, the crowd ran out of bottle rockets. It didn’t matter to them, now they had something to do with the bottles, which they heaved with gusto at the band as their retreat began in earnest. The Dwarves had lasted on stage for all of eight minutes. The crowd’s fury, brought on by Cocknoose, had not been sated, however. Once they realized there was no more music, they headed outside en masse and attacked the first car they saw, a 1969 Torino. Within 20 minutes the car was rolled over, all the windows were smashed, the seats removed, and it was in flames. I think KFK put it best when he turned to me and said, “This is like the fucking fall of Saigon!” Yep, the Dwarves haven’t really changed that much after all.