Still creating chaos after more than 30 years despite some lineup changes and a few dramas along the way, American punk icons The Dead Kennedys have returned to Australia to create havoc once again. Original members D.H Peligro, East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride , and Ron “Skip” Greer on vocals are every bit as hard as they were in their formative years with Jello Biafra leading the charge. Fowlers Live never disappoints when it comes to loud and fast acts, and the night went off without a hitch largely due to the fact that most DK fans (like myself) are getting a little more ‘mature’ to be creating carnage in the mosh pit. There was though, a solid night of ear splitting music right from the get go with local indie punks the Young Offenders delivering an infusion of ska/punk to warm the crowd. Kudos to them for belting out The Clash’s ‘Safe European Home’, these guys did well and were as tight as a hipster’s skinny jeans.
Next up were The Bennies from Melbourne, who came to party with their psychedelic/metal/ska trip and didn’t hold back an inch. Their songs were not so much songs of substance, but songs about, and seemingly inspired by substances. Mushroom Tea and Sensi-mi were horticulturally themed and one can only presume these guys love a spot of gardening on a Sunday.
Finally, the masters of politically discontented punk took to the stage and, after a false start that you’d expect from a punk gig, launched into a hardcore set that was like a tornado of noise, sweat and chaos. The Dead Kennedys were in fine form and despite the iconic Jello Biafra not being the musical spokesperson these days, Skip Greer made an impression as the current frontman complete with anti-establishment quips and political observations in between songs. They ground through well known songs including Forward To Death, Let’s Lynch The Landlord, Chemical Warfare, and of course had to refer to this government’s recent dole restrictions as the perfect intro for Kill The Poor.
It was an eclectic crowd to say the least. There were the younger skate crowd in that are the second or third generation of DK fans, and then there were the old school punks that wore an array of pre-millennial punk fashions including T-shirts emblazoned with Sex Pistols, Black Flag, and a host of other pioneers of punk. There was one elderly gent with a Sid Vicious patch on his jacket who looked like he could have been a Professor. This observations though, is no slight on the fans or a slur on the present fashion sense, but an acknowledgment that the Dead Kennedys have reached multiple generations of fans with their music, which still has relevance today. The poor are still being screwed over by the rich. People are losing freedoms daily. Countries are killing each other over oil. These are the things the Dead Kennedys sang about and they still bear truths even 30 years after being written.
Musically, it was as Dead Kennedy’s as you’ll ever get. There were a few songs that were out of synch for a little but they quickly recovered and continued to bombard the room with their signature California punk sound. Greer’s erratic nature is a perfect fit for the band, and whilst he’s not Jello Biafra he’s a charismatic singer that was true to the band’s persona. There was of course, an encore after they departed the stage initially, and they ended their Adelaide show suitably with Holiday In Cambodia sending the moshpit into overdrive. These guys delivered a kick-arse concert and still have the anarchic style that made them famous. Get out and see these guys, screw your eardrums!
It’s a few hours after the gig and as I write my ears are still gratefully ringing long after. They may be getting older, but the Dead Kennedys still know how to ruin a perfectly quiet evening!
Reviewed by Darren Hassan
DEAD KENNEDYS’ AUSTRALIAN TOUR DATES
September 30 – Fowlers, Adelaide
Wednesday 1st October 170 Russell Melbourne-www.170Russell.com.au
Friday 3rd October HiFi Brisbane-www.oztix.com.au
Saturday 4th October Coolangatta Hotel Coolangatta-www.oztix.com.au
Sunday 5th October HiFi Sydney *Public holiday eve*-www.oztix.com.au
Wednesday 8th October Mona Vale Hotel Mona Vale-www.dashtickets.com.au
Thursday 9th October The Entrance Leagues Club Entrance-www.dashtickets.com.au
Friday 10th October The Small Ballroom Newcastle-www.dashtickets.com.au
Saturday 11th October Capitol Perth-www.oztix.com.au