Punk rock heroes, the Dead Kennedys, hit their home town of San Francisco for the second to last date of their 2012 world tour. To get the obvious question answered first … no, Biafra was not part of this tour. Well-down his solo path with the Guantanamo School of Medicine, these days Jello is largely eschewing the old material; if you’re lucky you may get one DK song which is why the simple fact of the matter is that if you’re a fan of the classics, you’re going to have to get it from 3/4 of the original band along with a replacement singer, Skip Greer.
Although these circumstances are widely known, it still didn’t stop someone from shouting, “you’re a fraud,” when they took the stage. Coming from a guy that forked over the price of a ticket and lined up early for a spot on the rail… genius! Look at it this way, the three original members have been playing without Jello for longer than they played with Jello and there’s obviously still demand. While the Regency was nowhere near full, the number of people there certainly stretched beyond the capacity of some of the obvious alternative venues.
While there were certainly a few old-schoolers in the room, the majority of the crowd would be considered fanbase v2.0 … never old enough to see the original line-up, but deeply enthusiastic of the music and eager to participate. While they appeared barely were able to tolerate openers like Guantanamo Dogpile that threw crap at them from the stage, the kids went-off during the Dead Kennedys’ set. Unfortunately there was one thing in the room that should never be present at a Dead Kennedys show … a barrier between the crowd and the stage. Punk rock such as this has always been a participatory experience and while Skip hopped off the stage many times, it didn’t feel as intimate as it should have been.
With over 25 years since the release of new material, the hour long set didn’t provide many surprises but gave the audience exactly what they came for … Kill the Poor, Nazi Punks F*** Off, Too Drunk To F***, Police Truck, MTV Get Off The Air, Holiday In Cambodia, California Über Alles, Moon Over Marin and more. Ray’s signature style came through clearly while Klaus and D.H. held down the low end … leaving Skip to entertain the crowd with themes that, while over two decades old, remain largely relevant today.
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