@ Newcastle The Cluny, August 11 2010

The Cluny is a swarm of activity as skinheads, Doc Martins and Mohawks gather for some of the finest punk music that is left in the world.

The paying customers sport what seems to be a who’s who of band t-shirts ranging from Tiger Army to Social Distortion to Winnebago Deal.  But they are all here for Dwarves.  

The no frills headline act is about to knock seven bells out of the unsuspecting public. Local support act Automatic, not to be confused with the Welsh mob The Automatic, provided some decent tunes.  Irish punks The Dangerfields brought a more hardcore element to the party but having a drummer as a lead singer kind of sapped the energy out of their performance.

As the support acts scuttled off the anticipation grew for Dwarves.  This is a band that is never afraid of controversy as anyone who has seen any of their album covers can tell you.  They usually involve naked, sometimes blood-covered, women and, of course, a dwarf.

The band strut out with drummer Gnarly Watts bare-chested and wearing a rainbow wig.  Front man Blag Dahlia laps up the applause of his audience before they kick into How It’s Done.  For a band that has been going since the mid-80s their energy is still impressive – OK, the on-stage self-mutilation of those days is gone but this is still one show where you don’t know what’s going to happen next.

Dwarves’ set is incessant with song after song being thrown at you. Dahlia is waltzing around the stage handing his microphone to various members of the now frantic crowd whilst the other members of Dwarves show blatant disregard for their instruments as they are hurled around the stage.

Dahlia stops briefly and remarks “yeh you [the audience] love us, we’re the motherfucking Dwarves, of course you love us!”  He wasn’t wrong as they fired through intense versions of River City, Deadly Eye and I Want You To Die.  The Dwarves’ main lyrics seem to be based around sex with a classic line from one of the tracks ending with “let’s get high and fuck some sluts”.

This show was just like a one night stand.  Arrive, cause some mayhem and leave without a goodbye. And in true Dwarves fashion they did just that.  Towards the end of Act Like You Know Dahlia threw down his microphone, saluted the crowd and left. The audience waited for an encore but Dwarves were long gone and they were left with the drone of feedback from the screeching guitar.

Dwarves put on one of the finest punk shows you will witness. But be warned: it’s not for the feint hearted.

Tom Walsh