Removing Barriers: The experience of a fan and a friend of The KiLLeR DWaRfS.
Closing in on the last weekend in August, I arrived in Melbourne, Florida early on Thursday afternoon. It’s the weekend music festival called 80’s in the Park and I’d been looking forward to this for some time. It’s a great opportunity to meet up with my rock ‘n roll brothers and sisters from all over North America, make lots of new friends, and hear and see some of my favourite bands.
Number one on my list for the weekend are my good friends The KiLLeR DWaRfS. (Or as I affectionately refer to them, my DWaRf brothers.) The guys arrived around dinner time on the Friday before their Saturday performance, and learned that the festival, so far, had been quite badly organized and their stage was merely a plywood riser covered by a canopy. Not cool for a band who’s career is still going strong after more than three decades. With the threat of thunderstorms looming, and some not so positive discussions, with the promoter, there was some question of whether they would actually play. But this is the DWaRfS we’re talking about. Of course they would play. They would never let their fans be disappointed.
The hotel was packed with fans who were thrilled to get some real life time with their favorite bands, and I think the DWaRfS provided that more than any other band. They were always around to chat with all the members of “DWaRfNation”, who had flown in from all over North America. During the day, they were at the pool and at the beach. At night they were checking out the other bands with the rest of the crowd and when they weren’t doing that, they were sitting on people’s balconies, chatting it up, or having drinks at the bar surrounded by their peeps. They made a lot of fans very happy.
Which brings me to their show. There was just no denying that the outdoor stage sucked. It was quickly dubbed ‘the kids stage’, and the first thing we noticed, was that it had security barriers set up about thirty feet back from the stage. But the guys knew they had to make the most of it. They were playing at 6:00 which normally would be a bit early but at least with that time slot, they didn’t have to worry about the noise complaints that got the BulletBoys shut down after three songs, on opening night. Before their set started, drummer Darrell jumped off the stage and moved the security barrier forward about 25 feet, to allow the fans to be closer. That was, by far, one of the coolest things I’ve seen a band do. He just grabbed the whole thing and moved it…and the crowd, up to the front of the stage, now only about five feet back. Security wasn’t happy and they told him to move it, which he did…by about a foot. (You just can’t argue with a certified pirate.) And they played a great show, like they always do, making the most of the poor conditions because that’s just how much they love their fans. There’s no denying that every fan can feel the love and they appreciate every minute of every show that they see.
Then when every ounce of energy had been drained out of each of them, they went inside to sign autographs and talk to the fans. I was helping them out at the merch table that night, and it was so great to be immersed in that buzz that comes with the KiLLeR DWaRfS and their “DWaRfNation”. The lineup to talk to them was the longest I saw all weekend and of course, nobody was disappointed. I think they must leave every show with hundreds of new fans.
We shared some great laughs and enjoyed every moment at the beach and the pool, until literally the last minute when we had to get in the shuttle and head to the airport.
It was another great time celebrating great people and great music. I’m so fortunate to be able to join my friends from all over the world, and have these wonderful experiences.