Tuesday 13 August 2019

On Stage: Dead Kennedys @ Melkweg

Apparently this is the time to see legendary punk bands, since after The Damned played Melkweg only a few days ago, now Dead Kennedys are playing on the same spot. The band was one of the front-runners of the hardcore punk in the late seventies and I simply have to see this band.

Dead Kennedys at Melkweg Amsterdam, August 11 2019

As a bonus, another icon from the hardcore punk scene, D.O.A., are playing as support act. Unfortunately we don't make it to the venue on time to catch their show. I really hope to see them some day after all. The nice thing about Dead Kennedys is that three of their members have been playing with the band forever. Only singer Ron Greer is the latest addition and has been with the band since 2006 as their fourth singer. Like The Damned this band has been around for more than four decades, which is quite remarkable.

This didn't have any effect on the level of energy shown on stage. Bassist Klaus Flouride and guitarist East Bay Ray may look a bit static next to the active Greer, but are playing in a lively way nevertheless. I love the surf influences in Ray's guitar playing, who adds a lot of melody to the mostly fast and loud songs.

At the back drummer D.H. Peligro is playing the fast grooves and fills with great ease. The sound mix isn't great though tonight and his drums sound isn't heavy enough or could have used more punch, which is not his fault. I'm not in a bad position sound wise, but drums and guitars could have been balanced better, giving the music a more edgy sound. Fortunately it doesn't have a big effect on the performance and it doesn't take long for a pit to form in front of the stage.

Greer is a singer that will fire up the crowd but also likes to pester them for a bit. Dead Kennedys have always been a political band and Greer is sharing many of their political views. At the same time he's clowning around a bit, telling somewhat awkward stories, only to get under the people's skin. You can hear people grumble about this a bit or yelling the band should start playing. I think it is actually quite entertaining although at times it takes the speed out of the show. His vocals are maybe a bit less heavy but he's able to fill Jello Bafla's big shoes, the original singer of Dead Kennedys.

Fortunately the band doesn't have trouble picking it back up again and their music certainly helps there. They haven't released any new music for a long time, although they did rewrite 'MTV Get Off The Air' to 'MP3 Get Off The Web'. Still their songs haven't lost much of their impact and meaning. A song like 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' hasn't been more relevant for a long time than nowadays. At the end they play their big hits and the pit grows wilder. 'Holiday In Cambodia' obviously is one of the highlights of the night and ends the first encore. The band returns for 'Chemical Warfare' to extend this wild party for one more song. It's good we still have these bands around that are willing to make a statement, backed up by some furious rock music.

All Pictures

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01. Forward to Death
02. Winnebago Warrior
03. Police Truck
04. Buzzbomb
05. Let's Lynch the Landlord
06. Jock-O-Rama
07. Kill the Poor
08. MP3 Get Off The Web
09. Too Drunk To Fuck
10. Moon Over Marin
11. Nazi Punks Fuck Off
12. California Über Alles
13. Bleed for Me
14. Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley cover)
15. Holiday in Cambodia
Encore 2:
16. Chemical Warfare

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