||Sheffield Hallam University
||The Back Room
2, 2001 to January 9, 2001
• Back to Live
Kennedys @ Rock Café - Stourbridge, UK
Show Date: April
Review By: Pete
I sidle up to the edge of the stage
to take some photos. Out of the corner of my eye I
see a familiar looking bulk tear into the mosh like
an rhino embracing the chaos as Phil finally lives
up to the long standing joke that he looks like a
young Ozzy Osbourne. Fuck this, I think to myself,
and bounce off to join him. Punk never died, it just
went all ages, spanning the generations in an orgy
of sweat and shoving. Old punks, metallers, young
goth industrialists, an alarming number of 12 year
olds and every variety of black-clad freak you can
imagine staggered around in a seething mass of happy
aggression. This was Stourbridge, April 1st 2004.
The Dead Kennedys were in town and they fucking rocked.
To be honest I was doubtful about this. 25 years after
the height of their magnificence and without their
lead singer, Jello Biafra, one of the most important
US punk bands ever were doing a gig in Stourbridge
at the Rock Cafe 2000. Jez had seen a flyer and suggested
we all go. Once this had turned out to not be a joke
I signed up. What the hell, if it's good then it's
good and if it's terrible then it might be terrible
in a good way. Add to this that the six of us were
all both too young to remember it the first time and
too old to have parents who did and the whole thing
started to take on levels of irony I usually shy away
from. I'm not even a fan in the real sense - sure,
I like their stuff a lot but all I own is the greatest
hits CD. In fact I don't even own that having mp3'd
it from a mate.
The venue was in an industrial estate
under what looked like a Dominos Pizza warehouse.
"It's in a fucking industrial estate!" someone
said, and yes, that was kinda laughable. But I started
thinking how perfect it was. If you're going to see
a seminal punk band you really want it to be in a
total dive part of town. And so we went in.
I was immediately struck with a strange
sense of nostalgia as I realised I hadn't been to
somewhere like this for a good five years. Here were
the beautiful freaks and weirdoes, the losers with
attitude, the people who's definition comes from not
really having a definition other than a big fuck you
to the rest of society. And a love of black clothing.
Oh, and a fondness for loud aggressive dissonant ROCK.
The support band were good. Of course
I can't remember their name and memories of their
music has been somewhat crushed by what followed,
but they put on a solid display of OI!, speedy ska-punk
with a message. Had they been headlining they could
have pulled it off no problem but they weren't and
despite their efforts they failed to fill the dance
floor. Such is the lot of the support but it did seem
a little portentous. Was the crowd really that apathetic?
Were we just going to stand around drinking our beers
and clapping politely when the main act arrived? Of
As they filed onto the stage there wasn't
a whoop of recognition, probably because no-one recognised
them, but the guitarists looked a bit old and the
singer greeted us with an American accent so it was
probably them. The first couple of songs I didn't
recognise but Let's Lynch The Landlord got everyone
going and the mosh pit started filling. As the intro
to Holiday in Cambodia kicked in the place went wild
and stayed that way for the rest of the evening.
Musically they were spot on and after
20 years you'd expect that. But it wasn't just a note-perfect
rendition of their greatest hits - there was enough
noodling (for want of a better word) to prove they
weren't a tribute to their earlier selves. Ironically
it was Biafra-replacement Jeff Penalty's performance
that made it work. While his sneers and yelps channeled
the authenticity of the original recordings he was
no ersatz copy, taking the songs he loved and making
them his own. Of course you could argue this is punk
and it's not the technical proficiency of the musicians
that matter, more their attitude, in which case Penalty
had attitude in buckets and was pouring it all over
At the end I felt cleansed in a way
only possible when you're soaked in the sweat of 50
other people. A punk gig is a glorious thing of friendly
violence where you can jump and shove as much as you
like in the knowledge that should you fall someone
will help you up and throw you back. I hadn't done
this for years and I should have done, repeatedly.
- Pete Ashton
Kennedys @ The Waterfront - Norwich, UK
Show Date: June 27,
Review By: Chris
Hi, just thought I'd send you a review of your gig
at the Waterfront, Norwich. Can I just say Hi to East
Bay Ray, you made my year by coming out and talking
after the gig in Norwich.
Having been a fan of the Kennedys since about 1980,
I was amazed to see that they were not only touring,
but coming close enough for me to be able to go and
I didn't know what to expect, but after reading a
couple of reviews of the shows in the states, I was
really looking forward to a good night, and wasn't
disappointed....all the classic tracks were played
superbly by Ray, Klaus and D.H., with "new boy"
Brandon Cruz really making the whole show come alive.
I don't care wot others say, he's as good as Jello
at singing, and a nice guy too as we found out at
the end when, to our surprise and delight, the whole
band came out for a chat and a signing session.
I'd like to thank the band for coming to the UK,
being as good as ever, and for not being "big
pop stars". Getting to talk to the band is something
I'll be telling people about for years to come...even
if most of 'em say "who?"
They played Moon Over Marin (my favourite track)
Buzzbomb (second fav) all the singles, Chemical Warfare,
Let's Lynch The Land-Lord etc etc etc.
If you ever get the chance, I don't think you'll
see anything better than this.
(This ain't no way to go to heaven
BUZZBOMB cornered at the 7-11)
Kennedys @ Sheffield Hallam University - Sheffield,
Show Date: June 21,
Review By: Scott
Twenty one years after my only sight of the DKs in
Glasgow, I finally saw three of the greatest band
ever again. It cost me £100 for petrol(I live
250 miles away!),a cheap hotel, drinks and a ticket.
The best money I have ever spent.
From the first to the last they were tight, powerful,
good-humoured and political WITHOUT the preaching.
Sure Brandon missed the odd word but 100 plus of the
700 crowd knew and sang every word anyway. Biafra
apologists were thankfully nowhere to be seen, he
was not missed.....
Oh and Jello I don’t think we were "ripped
off." £8 for five bands and an unbelievably
hardworking schedule through UK/Europe. Set list was
17 songs plus "Bleed for Me" ie all the
great songs except Riot and before the lyrics turned
into verbal diarrhea. Musically the best show I have
ever seen, three long demanded encores and the band
who came out to talk for 30/40 minutes were grinning
from ear to ear - unfortunately not enough skate parks
for Brandon, its too cold. I hope the 400 mile bus
journey to Aberdeen, Scotland wasn’t too bad.
Grateful thanks to all the band, hope you can get
to Glasgow/Edinburgh/Newcastle sometime soon, and
I’ll try to get to Blackpool 21 July. Dead Kennedys
Uber Alles !!!
- Scott Fae, Scotland
Kennedys @ The Station - West Warwick, RI
Show Date: May 18,
Review By: Brian
"These Kennedys are far from Dead"
When I first heard that the legendary Dead Kennedys
were touring I was ecstatic. Having been just 14 when
they disbanded, I was never fortunate enough to see
Sadly, as this announcement was heard, there appeared
to be just as many "no Jello equals no DK's"
pessimists as there were those of us who were waiting
with baited breath for this show. Anyway their loss,
on with the show...
Klaus, Ray and D.H. were fantastic! They sounded
as amazingly tight and precise as they could have
possibly been. Old school Dr. Know front man (Brandon
Cruz) was as good as anyone could have hoped for,
considering he was filling the royal shoes of the
extraordinary, gifted and unique Biafra, and we were
all not just thrilled with his performance, but in
awe of it as well. If you think just anyone could
have pulled this off, you are sadly mistaken.
The show started with a kick in the face as they
blasted right into "Police Truck" The crowd
went ballistic and never stopped. The band owned everyone
in the club from that point on. They blazed through
some popular favorites such as "Nazi Punks,"
Too Drunk To Fuck," "Bleed For Me,"
"Holiday in Cambodia" and "California
Uber Alles" (personally I was hoping for "We've
Got a Bigger Problem Now" instead, but whose
The rest of the vibrant set included such classics
as "Kill The Poor," "Forward To Death,"
"Let's Lynch The Landlord," "I Kill
Children," "Winnebago Warrior." Klaus'
fingers were literally shredding the bass strings
on my favorite song of the night, the frenzied "Buzzbomb."
The set ended with a frantic version of "Chemical
Warfare" that left us feeling as though the building
was going to implode at any given moment.
The Dead Kennedys are back and they are as deadly
as ever! I saw some faces that I've not seen present
at a show in well over 10 years. This tour is indeed
something not to be missed. The only real disappointment
of the night was the total lack of "Frankenchrist"
and "Bedtime For Democracy" material. I
have no idea why these 2 monumental slabs were completely
omitted, but "A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch,"
"Jock O Rama," "Rambozo The Clown,"
"Macho Insecurity" and "One Way Ticket
To Pluto" would have made super additions to
an already incredible show.
Overall a fantastic show, not to mention you could
purchase a quality T-shirt, 3 buttons and a sticker
all for only $20.00.
- Brian DeAndrade
Lincoln, Rhode Island
Kennedys @ The Back Room - Austin, TX
Show Date: March 14,
Review By: Katie
I was at the show at the Back Room last night, and
I just wanted to say thanks for reuniting, playing
in Austin, and signing my "Bedtime for Democracy"
album. I went in to the show not knowing what to expect
from Brandon Cruz as a singer, but I came out thrilled
to have seen you all. Everyone did such a great job,
and it seems like you all are out there for the fans,
having a great time, which is really amazing for such
a well known band. I was too young to see you back
in the 80's so I'm glad I finally got to. To top it
all off, not only did I get to see you, but it was
definitely the best show I've ever been to. Before
yesterday, it had always been a dream to see the band,
and now that I have I can't tell you how grateful
- Katie Cowen
Kennedys @ Roseland Theater - Portland, OR
Show Date: March 10,
Review By: Tyler
The show took place on Sunday, March 10th 2002 at
The Roseland Theater, Portland Oregon. The show was
very amazing. I had worries about Brandon not fitting
my perspectives for a Jello Biafra replacement, but
he did it easily, plus so much more. Brandon sang
loud, he sang hard, he sang great. To see 3 original
DK legends up on stage was enough to make you want
to cheer and yell, but Brandon more than filled his
part. The show can easily said to be brilliant, amazing,
and triumphant. The crowd was wild, excited, and the
energy was amazing. You could feel the unity in the
air; as Brandon got in your face with the microphone.
The DK's were as live and energetic as they were 16
years ago. They gave it they're best, and so much
more. Definitely not a show to pass up.
Thanks again Brandon, Klaus, Ray, and D.H.
- Tyler Bennett
Kennedys @ The Chamber - Atlanta, GA
Show Date: February
Review By: Donovan
The Dead Kennedy's (minus Jello) put on one hell
of a show tonight in Atlanta. Huge crowd that was
really into it. The pit was going strong the entire
night with 40 year olds and 18 year olds alike. Cruz
was energetic and was in the crowd many times.
Jello, you told us in one of your press releases
to judge the show for ourselves. I did and it was
THANK YOU GUYS FOR GETTING OUT THERE AND PLAYING
AFTER ALL OF THESE YEARS. I hope you come back to
Kennedys @ Rialto Theater - Tucson, AZ
Show Date: January
Review By: Melinda
I would love to comment about the recent Dead Kennedy's
show that I attended in Tucson, Arizona at the Rialto
Theater, January 23rd. I went to see the DK's thinking
that I was going to be really disappointed, being
that Jello was not in the band anymore. But I left
the concert in amazement, I was never so happy to
see any band in my life.
I walked in with a pretty bad attitude, thinking
that the show was going to be pretty crummy. The members
came out, and for the first time, I saw Brandon. I
thought, oh he is going to butcher this show up pretty
badly. The music started and it pumped right through
me, perfectly played, I was very impressed. Brandon
started to sing and I was floored, he sounded wonderful.
Even better than Jello, without the attitude and preaching.
He was so energetic, and the best thing was, he was
there for the fans. He was very outgoing and involved
the crowd. He'd hand over his Mic and let people sing
along. He said, our stage is your stage, and noticed
the body guards roughing the crowed up, and told them
to leave everyone alone, they were doing more harm
than good. He rev'd up the crowd, everyone was so
into the show. They had such wonderful attitudes,
Klaus and East Bay Ray were joking around on stage
and just having a good time. Never EVER what I expected
from such a big, well known band. The show sounded
perfect and the band members looked and sounded more
wonderful than I could have ever imagined. A day I
will never forget. I have been a huge fan for many
years, and never had I thought I would have the opportunity
to see them live.
After the show I had expected to leave feeling great
about the show, but something I never expected to
happen did. The band came off stage and started to
mingle with the crowd. Signing autographs, talking
to fans like they were their long time friends. I
don't know of any band that would take the time to
recognize their fans like that. The guy next to me
was practically hyperventilating over a set list that
I received. When he found out that he can personally
speak with the band I thought he was going to pass
out. I never felt so good about going to a concert
in my life. Not to mention, the DK merchandise was
DIRT CHEAP. I could not believe it. 18 bucks for a
long sleeve T-shirt? You can't pick up a deal like
that ANYWHERE, especially not a concert. I went in
there hoping for Jello, I walked out of there thinking
that if he was there, none of these wonderful experiences
would have happened. I am glad I missed out on Jello's
preaching and attitude, and instead I got a bunch
of wonderful musicians with down to earth attitudes
and who truly care about their fans. There is so much
more I would like to say, but more than all, thank
you, thank you so much for the best show in my life,
my life is now complete.
- Melinda Deiter
Kennedys Brazil Tour
January 2, 2001 to January 9,
Review By: Matthias
As the promoter of the recent Dead Kennedys tour
in Brazil/South America we have been approached by
both promoters and press (print and web), from South
America, the U.S.A. and especially Europe with questions
regarding the recent South American tour and the current
Dead Kennedys situation.
As we have been attacked by Mr. Biafra in all kind
of media including radio interviews, press statements
and similar we now do feel forced into responding
to that matter by presenting the facts because we
do strongly feel that the public is on purpose mislead
and misinformed by Mr. Biafra to shape their opinion
in his own personal interest.
1. In contrary to Mr. Biafra's comments, the Dead
Kennedys Brazilian tour was a total success with turnouts
at an average 1200 paying per night which was more
than 20% above the projected/expected.
2. In contrary to Mr. Biafra's comments, ticket prices
ranged from 6 US$ (Curitiba adv/door) to a maximum
ticket price of 10 US$ (adv/door) (Sao Paulo, first
400 tickets were 8 US$), tickets in Rio de Janeiro
were priced at 6-8 US$, in Santos 6-8 US$. No Tickets
priced above these values were on sale at any venue
and/or for any section of any venue. Official band
merchandise/T Shirts were priced at 8 US$.
3. In contrary to Mr. Biafra's comments, there was
no "corporate" promoter, agent, sponsor
or similar involved at any stage of the Dead Kennedys
Brazilian tour. The band and their representatives
made every effort to realize the event by being very
co-operative and realistic about their demands and
financial requirements considering high production
costs vs low ticket prices and so on. The whole production
was financially based on ticket sales only and no
other party was involved financially or logistically.
4. In contrary to Mr. Biafra's comments, the tour
was a very big critical success confirmed by the paying
public as well as by professional critics and members
of the music scene. There was no protest verbal or
in print against the tour because of Mr. Biafra's
absence. At the very opposite, at several in store
signings and especially after the shows the fans expressed
their loyalty to the band and not to a single band
member in particular. New band member and singer Brandon
Cruz was fully accepted and did receive many congratulations
after the shows by fans, press, club owners alike.
5. In contrary to Mr. Biafra's, comments there was
no misleading advertising to promote the tour, at
the very opposite, we did spend a considerably big
amount of time controlling artworks and advertising
(print and web) from all cities and made sure the
current line up is explicitly mentioned. There was
no unrelevant photographic material used by us or
our local representatives. There were no ticket returns,
protests etc at box offices or venues. The tour was
never billed as a reunion for the simple fact that
it isn't one.
During the time previous to tour start, Mr. Biafra
tried severely to interfere into our and the bands
affairs by contacting press, websites, calling local
(Brazilian) radio stations spreading misinformation
& rumors trying to boycott and undermine the upcoming
events. It seems that Mr. Biafra thinks of himself
more important to the DKs success than he actually
is, as this first tour of the DKs in a long time proved
without any doubt. It proves that people care about
the music. not internal band politics for any reason
whatsoever. The impression is that Mr. Biafra calls
for a revolution in his support but nobody shows up.
As a promoter who works constantly with a wide range
of punk rock acts in between others we obviously took
our time to make a decision if we would work with
the band when contacted by them. We came to the conclusion
that it is up to the people to decide if they want
to see the band or not. If you are curious, want to
hear the classic songs and want to give the band a
chance you buy a ticket and go, if you feel the current
line up will not fulfill your expectations and disappoint
you…don't go. As simple as that.
We do think Mr. Biafra's attitude and actions are
very questionable considering the public image he
tries to project. On the other hand, as this tour
proved, there are a lot of people who simply do not
care what he has to say about the tour (as we do)
but prefer to let the music do the talking.
We are not in the position to comment on the relation
between the band, Mr. Biafra and Alternative Tentacles
but we do recommend the following website for further
- Matthias Prill & Partners
MP Tour Management