LIVE: Dwarves @ Rebellion, Manchester

By Tom Walsh

It’s almost half an hour after Dwarves have wrapped up another high octane, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it set and enigmatic frontman Blag Dahlia is wandering the streets of Manchester without a care in the world.

“I like to walk,” he responds. He is still a good distance away from tonight’s venue but is almost at peace with a decision to wander off stage and into the Manchurian night after being our preacher for 40 breathtaking minutes. For anyone else, this would seem like an odd thing to do but when you are the self-proclaimed best singer in rock and roll, you can do what you like.

There are many things that are changing at a rapid rate in the world. The climate is out of control, governments are lurching towards fascism and every drink seems to cost £6, so it’s good that some things stay the same. It’s good to know that whatever happens, Dwarves will always be the best band in the world.

Led by Blag Dahlia, the rock legend, master of the game and the newly-crowned “James Brown of punk rock”, they lay waste to their patented problematic material of free cocaine, hedonism and fine melodies. While there is the notable absence of the mysterious HeWhoCannotBeNamed (no, not Voldemort), Dwarves curate a masterclass in the finest punk rock.

They sway between the uncontrollable veracity of ‘I Will Deny’ to the swinging lounge music of ‘You Gotta Burn’. Dahlia conducts like the freewheeling showman he is, the mic glides from leatherbound hand to leatherbound hand as he pushes it into the face of each baying audience to provide the needed respite.

Rex Everything (Nick Oliveri, for those of you not familiar with the hardest rocking band in punk) compliments the grooves of Dahlia’s silky voice with guttural wilhelm screams. They flicker between the newer material of ‘Forget Me Not’ and ‘Sluts of the USA’ to the classics of ‘Back Seat of My Car’ and ‘Demonica’.

There is a moment to remember when a Dwarves show really would be a life-in-your-own-hands event and where fights and pretty much anything else you could imagine would occur. It is signified in the visceral ‘We Must Have Blood’ after which Dahlia takes a moment to share a solution to the ongoing environmental problem we find ourselves, however it’s merely the lead-in for ‘Dwarves Are Still the Best Band Ever’.

We’ve barely clocked over 40 minutes before Dwarves furiously wrap up ‘Unrepentant’ and Dahlia drops down off the stage and wanders out into the night. Where he is going, we don’t know. Why is he doing it? He likes to walk, he says.

Blag the Ripper – rock legend, the greatest frontman there ever was, ever is and ever will be, the enigma wrapped in a tank top – where he’s going no-one knows. What we do know, though, is that Dwarves remain the best band in the world.