If you haven’t already heard of Dead Men Walking, chances are you already missed your opportunity to catch them live. Hot off of the May 5 release of their debut album, Easy Piracy, the Dead Men Walking are in the midst of a 6 date West Coast run which wraps up Sunday in San Diego at the Soda Bar. While you may not have heard of the band, you’ve been living under a rock if you haven’t at least heard of some of its members … featuring Captain Sensible of the Damned on bass, singer and guitarist Mike Peters of the The Alarm, Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom and The Living End frontman Chris Cheney, there’s well-over a century of combined musicianship. Born of jamming cover tunes in clubs with a revolving door of participants, the current line-up holds down the core of a punk-a-billy ethos that defines the DMW.
San Francisco was one of the cities fortunate to get a visit from DWM and while the Brick & Mortar Music Hall felt downright empty when openers Barb Wire Dolls took the stage, the room quickly filled, reaching packed-status by the time the Dead Men kicked off their set around 10:30 with Rock & Roll Kills from Easy Piracy. Given the band’s origins as a live act, it shouldn’t have been a huge surprise where things went next … the setlist bounced back and forth between material from the new album and each musician handling vocal duties on covers from their respective band. The new material meshed surprisingly well with the old but hearing The Stand, 45 R.P.M and Prisoner Of Society sung by their original singers were true standouts.
If you were paying any attention at all, you couldn’t have missed Jello Biafra’s name out front on the marquee. Keeping with tradition, Dead Men Walking brought Mr. Biafra out as a guest for a five song encore. I’m sure that anyone there would admit that Jello gyrating on stage as he sang the Stray Cats’ Rock This Town oddly and unexpectedly worked. With that done, Jello set aside the mic stand and returned to form for a truly epic version of Let’s Lynch the Landlord that had the crowd singing along as the Captain nailed the signature bass groove.
Sadly, everything must come to end though after nearly 90 minutes, the band took their bows though it was pretty clear that both Jello and the crowd would have been happy to keep the party rolling.
- Rock & Roll Kills (Dead Men Walking)
- Neat Neat Neat (The Damned)
- Deadman Blues (Dead Men Walking)
- Runaway Boys (Stray Cats)
- Damned Damned Damned (Dead Men Walking)
- The Stand (The Alarm)
- Prisoner of Society (The Living End)
- Song For Eddie (Dead Men Walking)
- Sold Me Down The River (The Alarm)
- Rumble in Brighton (Stray Cats)
- 45 R.P.M. (The Alarm)
- Smash It Up (The Damned)
- Rock This Town (Stray Cats)
- Let’s Lynch The Landlord (Dead Kennedys)
- I Fought The Law (The Crickets)
- New Rose (The Damned)
- (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!) (Beastie Boys)
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