Thursday, October 17, 2013

Concert Review - KILLER DWARFS


Killer Dwarfs/Modern Superstar/Electric Eye
Sunday, September 14, 2013
Pov’s 65, Spring Lake Park, MN

This being my first time at Pov’s 65 I got to the club early to check it out. Fortunately I caught local Judas Priest tribute band Electric Eye, who hands down is the best tribute band I’ve seen since the Ralph Saenz-fronted Atomic Punks. These guys have got it all down – twin guitars laying down all the riffs and solos with machine-line precision, a rock-solid rhythm section, and yes, a leather-clad vocalist that can pull off Rob Halford’s vocal gymnastics seemingly without effort. Their sound was punishingly loud, and it only added to the impressive hour-long assault of older Priest tunes like “Metal Gods”, “Rock Hard Ride Free”, “Beyond The Realms Of Death”, and a re-worked version of “Turbo Lover” without the guitar synthesizers. Definitely catch Electric Eye playing around town when you can!

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Florida-based Modern Superstar was up next and did little to excite the crowd that remained dispersed around the vast bar area of the club. These guys are trying hard to create a modern hard rock sound, but most of their songs simply lack the hooks and catchy riffs. They only played two songs from their 2011 debut album Under My Skin (“Blue” and “Devil’s Playground”), instead relying heavily on new material from the yet-to-be released second album, such as “Two Months”, “Love Is Crazy”, and “Burning Pages”. New singer Chris Nichols seems to be a good fit for the band, and he carries himself with good stage presence. I admire Modern Superstar’s strong DIY efforts and whatever-it-takes attitude, and despite my negativity they do show some potential.

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Everyone was here for Killer Dwarfs, and the stage area filled up in anticipation of this underappreciated Canadian band. Proving this wasn’t some half-baked reunion tour, the band stormed the stage with an explosive version of “Stand Tall” that led right into “Hard Luck Town”. Vocalist Russ Dwarf then began to take his time chatting with the crowd in introducing “Believe In Me” and “Last Laugh” before things slowed down with “Driftin’ Back”, which included acoustic guitarwork from Russ. “Union Of Pride” was the only song played from Big Deal, and the second half of the set focused on selections from the Dirty Weapons album (“Doesn’t Matter”, “Nothin’ Gets Nothin’”, and “Comin’ Through”). Russ expressed his disdain for bands playing new material that the audience doesn’t know, so the title track was sole track aired from the new Start @ One album. Rock anthem “Keep The Spirit Alive” closed out the set, but of course the crowd was clamoring for “Dirty Weapons”, for which the band returned to play as the encore.

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Although the crowd was small, this is one of the most enthusiastic reactions I’ve seen in a while from the audience. Despite their long absence, Killer Dwarfs have clearly maintained a strong connection with their fan base. A large part of the crowd stuck around and waited for the band to drag their merchandise into the venue, and used to opportunity to chat with the band and take pictures with them for nearly an hour. The entire band’s performance was stellar, but Russ really stole the show as he ran around the stage, collapsed, and did somersaults like a kid on an arena stage for the first time. Hopefully this won’t be the last time we see Killer Dwarfs in the States! Their amazing show once again left me pondering how it could be that Killer Dwarfs never achieved any mainstream recognition.

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Check back soon for a post-show interview with vocalist Russ Dwarf!

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