Dwarves | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

San Francisco shit-rock kings the Dwarves were originally the Suburban Nightmare, a psych-garage band formed in 1983 by four rambunctious lads from Highland Park High School. They retained their Seeds/Standells influence on their first album as the Dwarves, 1986's Horror Stories, the back cover of which originally featured the band in fitted paisley finery, with a contact address near Ravinia. After moving to San Francisco and partaking of the city's excellent drugs, the band quickly reinvented itself as a Cramps/Dead Boys-influenced hardcore punk act, their main interests encapsulated in the title of their debut LP for Sub Pop, Blood Guts & Pussy. The band built a legion of fans with two more gory and crass Sub Pop releases before their infamous April Fool's Day hoax in 1993, wherein the group tricked its label into issuing a press release announcing the fictional stabbing death of guitarist He Who Cannot Be Named in a bar fight in Philly. Seattle music fans who were still reeling from the recent deaths of Charlie Ondras (of Unsane) and Stefanie Sargent (of 7 Year Bitch) didn't take the joke lightly--and neither did Sub Pop. The group was canned and called it a day shortly afterward. Founding members Blag the Ripper (fka Blag Dahlia) and He Who subsequently re-formed the Dwarves in '97 and have since released three more albums, including 2000's electronica-infused Come Clean and last year's The Dwarves Must Die (Sympathy), for which the band enlisted the help of Top 40 producer Eric Valentine (Smash Mouth, Queens of the Stone Age). It's a weird change but kind of a welcome one--I mean, how long could they be expected to keep whipping the dead shock-core donkey? Mondo Generator, the Turbo A.C.'s, and the Vacancies open. Fri 11/18, 8 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie, 773-252-6179, $14. All ages.

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