The Dwarves, The Queers, Masked Intruder, The Atom Age
July 15, 2014
Bottom of the Hill
San Francisco, CA


Queer Things in Small Packages

Sure, all us elderly folk are familiar with Mtv Unplugged. But only true music enthusiasts know about NU Unplugged, where budding tonal geniuses flow in abundance. NU Unplugged, also known as My High School’s Annual Talent Show, was always a non-literal riot. And those lucky enough to have been there for it’s seminal production in 1998 will never forget the band Another Red Herring. That’s why it was a night for the ages when Another Red Herring’s bass player, one Robb Grimes, and their fret-licking mass of forehead, one Me, decided to attend a show at Bottom of the Hill. We hoped there wouldn’t be too many talent show enthusiasts fanning out on us and we could peacefully enjoy a plethora of the most wonderfully weird with such bands as The Dwarves, The Queers, Masked Intruder and The Atom Age. Twould promise to be a jovial night of air-born deliveries.

photo-27Oakland’s own The Atom Age were beginning their set as Robb and I stood awaiting entrance to the sold-out show. From outside I could tell that The Atom Age was the sort of shit I would love and as I stepped inside I was nigh disappointed. They rock and they rule and have a stage presence that speaks as loud as their music. There’s a total of five dudes in the band, including a saxaphone player. They have this incredible rockabilly steeze, most of them sporting button-up shirts and pompadours, all of the above weathered from their movements on stage. They were busting out a sound that was some fast and surfy originality. Their energy alone held their sound aloft, but the music they produced coupled with their demeanor made everything gravy. Side note alert: I got one of their CDs and it’s on regular rotation in my rig.

photo-29Next upon the agenda was Masked Intruder and their title proved to be no mere threat: they were quite masked. Of the ski variety. Their set had all kinds of action including a mascot in the garb of a cop who was pretty much there to make sure we rocked hard enough for punk rock’s legal standards. I’d never met a group of dudes in ski masks that were so sensitive. Their singer crooned on about broken hearts and chicks, but he certainly showed some serious plums between songs as he yelled at us various suggestions on how to return the noise. He also had a thick-ass New England accent, which I feel helped his cause. They were successfully getting the crowd revved, including the aforementioned cop-figure jumping down in the mosh pit and helping people negate their partially-rooted feet.

After Masked Intruder Robb and I stepped outside to enjoy some fresh air but first I headed over to the merch tables and see what was on hand. I was chatting with the guy at The Dwarves’ table about a rumor I’d heard about Blag Dahlia, The Dwarves’ lead singer, getting a BJ while singing on stage the night before in Sacramento. He nodded with a smile. “I filmed it. Wanna see?” Before I’d had a chance to respond he busted out his phone and yep, it certainly was not a lie. Not at all. This made me both excited and terrified for what was to come. I took small refuge in the fact that there was still one more band before The Dwarves, The Queers.


I’d seen The Queers twice before and was really looking forward to reliving it. I friggin love that band. I discovered them back when I was a pre-teen dipshit and their songs of surfer girls and Burger King Queens helped me through many-a heartbreak. They bring the ruckus when they play too and tonight was no exception. The crowd was just as excited as I was. It’s rad seeing The Queers in San Francisco cause they have a serious fan-base here (as I assume they do in most major cities) and no one’s afraid to show their enthusiasm. It just turns into this wonderful, bloody, rowdy sing-a-long. At one point one of the guitarists for The Atom Age got up and played a couple songs with them. My excitement flared once again when Joe Queer said that despite their raucous behavior, he felt like they were The Partridge Family compared to The Dwarves. I nervously smiled.


Bottom of the Hill has these tray-like shelves that run alongside the walls for people to set their beers on. I thought this looked like a good perch to snag between bands. Robb and I leaned, claiming such a zone, while we watched the folks become more and more greased with their beverages of choice. Then the lights dimmed and everyone rushed in from their own nether regions as The Dwarves took the stage. I was first introduced to this band from the many skate videos they soundtrack and I’ve always loved their lyrical humor. They have the kind of potentially fictional content that expresses this playful and sex-crazed persona that could only really be invented by a really fucked up but also really smart individual. Either that or it’s all completely true and The Dwarves are just fucking insane. Either way, I love it.

photo-33This was the first time I’d seen them live and I was entranced. Their guitarist, HeWhoCannotBeNamed, wore a shoulder-strapped banana hammock and an S&M leather head-piece, while Blag Dahlia would orate on about how many girls he’d fucked in San Francisco. He would then bellow into song as he hurled his body upon the uplifted hands of the crowd. The pit became a live entity and I watched it all unfold from my little shelf of a beer-soaked recliner. No dicks got sucked, but it was an amazing set nonetheless. I’d never seen a Dwarf stand so tall.

The show was incredible from beginning to end, even in the mental shadow of that noteworthy performance during NU Unplugged in 1998. A performance that involved a guitar player, named Me, who would never have picked up a guitar in the first place if weren’t for a group of guys named The Queers. I mean, I don’t play anymore, but still.


One Response to Queer Things in Small Packages with The Dwarves, The Queers, Masked Intruder and The Atom Age

  1. Adirtyghost says:

    Blag is a fucked up person who fucks women over & lies to them. Drunk and ugly chicks fuck and suck him. I got stds from him after that night & i might be pregnant. He’s cool.