The Dwarves 25th anniversary is no small occasion and as opposed to your conceited significant other who got too drunk one night and wound up getting/getting you pregnant forcing the two of you into an exhaustive relationship of convenience, for this anniversary the Dwarves are giving you the gift. The Dwarves Are Born Again DVD is not your standard mid-level touring group’s rockumentary. After all, we are talking about punk’s last man standing. They’re a band so evil they’ve been permanently banned from Canada, were fired from SupPop for faking the nude, gimp hooded guitarist Hewhocannotbenamed’s death, and who’ve survived for a quarter of a century on nothing more than three minute anthems, liquor, low grade speed and Satan. They’re still touring in fact, while sensitive lesser musicians such as Cobain and 2pac dropped like flies around them from trifling matters like drug abuse and gunshots wounds to the chest
The DVD is conveniently split into several sections of goodies based on various topics of distinguished taste. In the “Greedy Worldwide” portion of The Dwarves Are Born Again, the audience is taken like a terrified hostage around the globe to showcase live performances of singles spanning all eight studio albums. From onstage sexual deviance in Tokyo, a Dwarves vs. the entirety of the audience brawl in NYC, to a metal tinged performance in Melbourne it’s hard not to get sucked into the exuberance of their energetic live performances.
Due to the riotous nature of their live shows, a visit to the video archives presents those singles in an audible format. The progression of the band is clearly visible through medium. The video for “I’m a Living Sickness” from 1986 was recorded on old school analogue video, complete with poor lighting, DIY effects, and a Friday the XIII plot that was featured heavily on MTV, y’know back when music television actually played music. Golden era Dwarves is painfully underrepresented, the only track from the seminal and highly popular The Dwarves Are Young and Good Looking is “We Must Have Blood” and sadly that video is a mash up of live performances with much less of the sex and gore we’ve all come to love. However, it seems they’ve made up for that lack with their most recent album Born Again where even the ‘clean version’ of their videos contain all the blood soaked nudity and circus sideshow variety you can muster.
As with most DVDs the devil’s in the details. The Dwarves Are Born Again is no exception. My personal favorite addendum is the “Let’s Have Some Violence” extra. Much like the performance portion, this section takes you from Sydney to Porto to Minneapolis and all parts between to show footage from the trenches. While circle pits and mouth-guards have become de riguer for the audience at punk shows these days, it’s doubtful whether any band has bled as much onstage as the Dwarves have. On more than one occasion the entire set is abandoned, instruments smashed, and the venue told to go fuck itself after a fight between Blag or guitarist Vag Moore erupts against paying audience goers, if not the entire audience.
Though much of the fan base is split over classic versus the new, urban influenced Dwarves of more recent albums, none can deny the new exploration of genres is still as clever as ever. Just see the line: “Queens of the trust fund/ you used to sleep on my floor/ Now I sleep through your records.” And though it might be debatable whether the Dwarves still are the best looking band in show business, no group has ever done as well for as long on as little. Whether (literally) thrashing fans who sneak past security trying to rush the stage, leaving a visible trail of fiery destruction dotting the map wherever their tour takes them around the world, impregnating your ma, or converting generations of school age children to worship Satan, the Dwarves prove the old maxim: Punk’s not dead. You see, evil never dies.
MP3: Dwarves “Better Be Women”