The Dwarves - Live in New Hope (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Dwarves

Live in New Hope (2016)

live show

There were few words wasted at the Dwarves June 16 show in New Hope. Frontman Blag Dahlia spoke less than 20 words between songs, total, and chose to let the music do the talking for him instead.

Dwares tunes run the gamut from hardcore to pop-punk to avant garde sound clashes to singer songwriter ditties. But live, the band reformulated their songs into the sweet spot between hardcore and classic punk, ripping through about 20 jams across their career. Songs like “Back Seat of My Car” and “There better be women” were delivered with a reckless-but skilled- intensity. The band was wont to fly off the hinges, but not so much that they couldn’t snap down in unison when the time came.

Part of this was due to the pleasant surprise of Wrex Everything aka Nick Oliveri on bass. Like many of the best bassist, Oliveri plays his bass like it’s a guitar, smashing out bombastic, violent lines that act as a foil to the guitar, rather than just a support. And of course, that famed, blood curdling Oliveri scream made its appearance throughout the night. Likewise, long running guitarist the Fresh Prince of Darkness made it clear why he has been able to run with this pack of animals for so long- he bashes on the guitar with a muscular confidence. But also, what is perhaps understated, the Fresh Prince likes to sneak in little tricks, like cacophonic screeching and spinning lines, on top of the music itself, the effect, of which, is to really make this chaotic music sound like the chaos that it is. New drummer Hunter Down held his own, driving the unit forward.

Meanwhile, Dahlia himself was in classic Dahlia mode. Throughout the night, he snatched glasses from people’s faces, stole cellphones, and made sure to tell people how great he is. What became clear over the course of show was how skillful Dahlia is at craft and execution. Live, songs like “Fuck you up and get high” and “Everybody’s Girl” are fundamentally different kinds of songs, the former being a percussive shouter while the later being a melody driven crooner. Dahlia was able to not only merge the styles so that they gained momentum from one another, but was able to show the musical linage (as well as the lyrical lineage) between these two kinds of songs.

The band often tells people that they are rock legends. Surprisingly, Dahlia did not make that decree at the New Hope show. The reason for this is clear: the band doesn’t need to tell people that they are rock legends because they prove it by execution gig after gig, song after song.