DEAD KENNEDYS, THE: Live at the Deaf Club: CD

I’m no one, but I’m still uneasy with the fact that the Dead Kennedys are touring without Jello Biafra. It’s not that I believe one side over the other, either. It’s just kinda ironic that accounting books split up a band that spent so much time rallying against capitalism and the machine. And I like bands playing under a moniker having as many original performers as possible. That’s just my bias. Anyhow, this is a cool, well-recorded artifact – a full set from 1979 in San Francisco, the Dead Kennedys playing their last night as a five-piece. Jello’s French frog falsetto leads the charge and one of the most respected (and rightfully so) hardcore bands of all time plows through an inventive set. As time goes on, it sort of amazes me that, at one time, this band was one of the fastest going. Now they’d be considered mid-paced. They seemed to blister my brain the first time I ever laid ears on them. Going back, I notice such a strong surf influence that, quizzically, seemed to have eluded me completely when I was younger. Now, I realize what accomplished musicians they were and how they worked as a cohesive whole (say what you will, I just didn’t hold on to my Klaus Fluoride solo albums). As a footnote, this includes a previously unreleased Dead Kennedy’s song, “Gaslight.” The song’s nothing to go ga-ga over and has the feel of an extra scene on a DVD that really doesn’t leave an impression. The disco version of “Kill the Poor” is pretty sweet, though. Overall, not bad at all, and if you have all their studio albums and are on the hunt for something new, this’ll fit the bill nicely. 

 –todd (Manifesto)