On August 31st, I went to Manhattan’s (le) poisson rouge to see punk bands The Dwarves and The Queers. Just as I expected, it was a well-packed show, as the two headliners have developed a strong following for their own brands of raucous, fast and - most importantly - real punk rock.
The opening act was The Atom Age: a California-based band with a sound that mixes punk with 1960s garage rock, drawing comparisons to Rocket From The Crypt and Less Than Jake. These business-casual-wearing guys brought a lot of fun with their energetic songs, which included a cover of “The Witch” by The Sonics. Their saxophone added some additional zing when it could be heard (I think its attached microphone was acting up.)
After them, it was time for The Queers (my second time seeing them: after the show, one fan told me it was his fifth.) I’d describe their music as easily one of the closest to The Ramones we’ll ever hear again… seriously. While The Queers’ lyrics are way more immature and profanity-laced (a trait that they’ve embraced for decades,) their driving pop-punk captures the same spirit that I get from The Ramones, right down to opening with a cover of “Rockaway Beach.” The rest of the mix mostly consisted of the similarly peppy, one-to-two-minute original songs including “Born To Do Dishes,” “Hi Mom, It’s Me” and “You’re Tripping,” all of which lead to a healthy amount of crowd interaction.
I was the most excited to see shock-punkers The Dwarves for the first time, which made it especially unfortunate to hear lead singer Blag Dahlia’s microphone stop working almost immediately on the first song (“Way Out,” I believe.) After a couple more songs of the mics failing once again, he and the band angrily went out to get some replacement ones from their van, which thankfully took only a minute or two. After that, they were ready to rock with songs like “I Will Deny” and “Over You,” as well as their trademark raunchier stuff like “Let’s F***” and “Back Seat Of My Car.” Toward the end of the show, Dahlia mentioned that there was going to be a surprise afterparty at The Grand Victory in Brooklyn that midnight, but I couldn’t make it with my schedule.
Despite the technical difficulties, I had a really fun night overall. There was plenty of moshing and crowd surfing, and the crowd (particularly right up against the stage) really got into the manic energy.