Dead Kennedys Prove the West Coast Punk Scene is Alive and Well
January 16, 2015
The Observatory, Santa Ana, Ca.
The Observatory has been on a roll, hosting one premier punk legend after the other in a single-handed revival of the Orange County punk scene. And, in a venue like the Observatory, each band has felt like a one up of the last. I feel like I am constantly reporting, “best show ever”, but each night has truly felt that way and the shows I’ve missed have caused true stress to my punk loving psyche. Line ups of four and five great bands, in one night, at a low ticket price, with affordable beer and a friendly, but fun pit, great sound, and a short stumble home is more than anyone can ask for. One request Observatory… open another frickin ticket window please! I missed HTTH’s entire first set waiting for my “guest list” tickets (which shared a long line with people clamoring to purchase event tickets) on Friday night; a shame because they sounded great… from the parking lot!
The only thing missing from Friday night’s Observatory show was the reported on stage oral sex act that Thursday’s Belly Up crowd was allegedly awarded (Solana Beach, Ca.). Still, DK pleasured Friday night’s sold out crowd with a five-act line up including the surprisingly fun Mormon-geek punk band, Tarter Control and a blast from my old ass past, Jody Foster’s Army (JFA, est. 1981). For those of you who are under the age of 40, JFA was the hardest, most controversial, and bad ass anti-Reaganomics era skate punk band that the west coast 80’s scene produced and I almost lost my shit when they took the stage! The pit was furious, the music was fast, and the Observatory was packed to capacity.
Dead Kennedys, what can I say? Amazing, brilliant, f-ing PUNK ROCK! Even if the under forty some things didn’t get the majority of lead singer, Skip Greer’s sarcastic anti-capitalism rants. I got it, the guys next to me got it, and the guys who formed the pit on the second level rise (that was a first) got it! To the guy who jumped on stage and knocked Skip to the ground, bad form… you’re a total idiot. Best part, Skip just laughed at you. Watching Klaus Flouride and East Bay Ray produce punk guitar riffs from the late 1970’s was an honor; even without Jello Biafra (just a side note, run for the Green Party Presidential nomination again, please Jello, you have my vote!) this is DK (he’s a legend and can not be replaced, but he left the band 20 plus years ago people… let it go and move on already!). The crowd showed their appreciation of DK when they ripped through two of my favorites, “Police Truck” and “Too Drunk to Fuck” (Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death, Decay, 1981/1987). Skip, to your stated concern, “I may be too old for punk”, you ARE punk and so is the rest of DK and when one of you dies with you will go a piece of the soul of punk forever. The encores of “California Über Alles” and “Holiday in Cambodia” (Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables, Cherry Red Records, 1980) were nothing short of cliche, but totally necessary and as I skipped out to beat the traffic I caught one last glimpse of a packed house with total buy-in; a completely flippin’ stoked crowd of fans who wanted it to keep going on and on. One suggestion DK, lower your t-shirt prices! Holy crap guys, a punk band should never charge over $15 for a t-shirt, especially one that preaches anti-conservative/capitalist policies: “kill, kill, kill the poor” (yes, kids, its meant to be sarcastic) not the punks trying to support your swag!
Sarah Tonin –
13 Stitches Magazine Reviewer