I was a big Dead Kennedys fan in high school, but I never got a chance to see the band because they broke up before I started regularly going to concerts. I had seen their former lead singer and mastermind Jello Biafra do spoken word a couple of times over the years, and that was great, but I had never seen him in concert with a band, so when I saw he was coming to Cleveland, Ohio USA this week, I decided to check it out.
He was great. He's older now, but he has more energy than some teenagers I know. His band, The Guantanamo School Of Medicine, was terrific; he made some right-on political statements; and if the new songs weren't quite as good as the DK classics, then he more than made up for it by playing a few of those classics. My favorite moment of the night though might have been this cover of "Sonic Reducer" just for Cleveland (for some reason, Jello doesn't know it's a Rocket From The Tombs song, as he said something to the effect that he loves Pere Ubu and Rocket From The Tombs, but this Dead Boys classic was his favorite song from Cleveland--what really happened was that co-songwriter Cheetah Chrome took this song with him when he left RFTT to the Dead Boys; since the two best Dead Boys songs, "Reducer" and "Ain't It Fun" were both at least co-written by RFTT members David Thomas and Peter Laughner respectively, Chrome should have kept writing with them as those were good songwriting pairings). Openers Negative Approach helped out Jello's band on this version, and I'm glad that someone caught it on video, so you can hear and see it for yourself.
It's the next best thing to being there live!
*Yips are good things!
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