Dead Kennedys

Hard Rock Café on the Strip, Sept. 19

There’s something jarring about watching a group of men in their 50s crank out bitter high school anthems for a crowd that hasn’t sniffed a classroom in decades, particularly when founding members Klaus Flouride and East Bay Ray look like your junior high math and chemistry teachers, respectively. But such is the state of the Dead Kennedys in 2012, functioning like a perpetual-motion youthful anger machine.

In between perfunctory derision aimed vaguely in the direction of Mitt Romney and flop-sweat-drenched stage banter, singer Ron “Skip” Greer offered a spitting-distance approximation of Jello Biafara’s voice, but the persona was all punk-by-numbers.

It was even worse when Greer attempted to slip a fresh coat of paint on stale material, reworking “MTV Get Off the Air” as “MTV Get Off the Web.” (Though it must delight the band to no end that Jerry Brown is once again governor of California—”über alles,” indeed.) Still, at some point you have to let the cognitive dissonance of punk nostalgia go and admit that hearing “Too Drunk to Fuck” live is pretty goddamned fun. ★★★☆☆

Suggested Next Read

Adam Ant


Adam Ant

By Geoff Carter

When I saw Adam Ant at the Aladdin in ’92, I thought he was washed up. At the time the ’80s pop star was touring behind Manners & Physique, an album of clumsy R&B far removed from the punky glam with Burundi-style drumming that made his name. Here was the king of the New Romantic subgenre, jumping on Prince’s train several years after it had left the station.