We're fewer than five songs into the Dwarves' set, Friday night at Three Links, and the music has stopped, the drums have been kicked over, and the band has left the stage.
No one seems immediately clear on what happened at that moment. No one, that is, except the guy standing right in front of me.
"It was the purse chick! She did something to the bass guy!"
Ah! The "purse chick". Allow me to explain.
To back up even further (less than three songs into the set), the band has already kindly accomodated a good half-dozen stage divers. Dallas stage divers, that is..meaning not all of them were in it just for the leap. Granted, a few did it right: they quickly ran up, took a springboard hop and vanished into the bodies. Some, however, were stopping to stand on Dwarves' frontman Blag Dahlia's mark (not a good idea, especially on a more snug club-size stage), and looking for that 2.5 seconds of glory of being in front of one of the greatest punk acts in the world.
Blag, naturally, was not having it. Was he cruel to the divers? Pissed off? Aggressive and violent? No. Ain't no entertainer got time for that (sorry). Blag did what the Dwarves do. He gave the people a little shit; picked on them a little, for laughs. And in the process, turned it into the kind of bonus entertainment this outfit is reputed for. The best one was the guy in the two-tone ballcap, who paused at the front to do his best zippy, wacky Blag impression. His fancy cap was snatched off his head by the man himself, and zinged into the crowd. The kid gave Blag a "what the fuck?" look, and dove off. Laughter ensued.
In between songs, Blag noticed a purse on the side of the stage. "Who's using my stage for storage space?" he said. As the next song started, he rifled through it, tossing some of the contents playfully over his shoulder. He didn't toss valuables into the crowd, he didn't destroy anything, he was just having fun, and entertaining us. All in punk-fun, and again laughter again ensued.
Was this truly why the show stopped? Did the "purse girl" lash out at the band for what had been done to her belongings? As of press time, it's still unclear and doesn't really matter.
What did matter about Friday night was this:
-The Flat Tires warmed up the crowd for The Queers nicely, and have a hell of a lead guitarist: speedy, bendy, tastefully-placed lead breaks and punk-a-billy reminiscent of Reverend Horton Heat's Full Custom Gospel Sounds-era. (I missed the two bands prior.)
-The Queers got the crowd to unfold their arms, start swirling a leisurely, easy-to-navigate pit, and give a few seasoned stage divers a chance to blow the dust off their skills. Musically, things went fast-and-greasy well. They were granted multiple encores.
-The Dwarves hit the ground at the breakneck of midnight, fast and relentlessly. Obviously charged to have a sold out show, they were frantic, zany, fun and ridiculously charged with very infectious energy.
-Following the melee' moment of kicked over gear, Three Links owner Scott Beggs (assisted by Here Holy Spain's Wes Niles) hopped up and set everything back upright, and the show picked up within minutes as if nothing had happened. The Dwarves blazed several more for us, stopped cold, left the stage and it was over. As quickly as it started, the earth cooled, the madness fell to the wayside and we all walked away pitty, foul-smelling and satisfied.
Well played, gentlemen. A night not to be forgotten.