I know it's nothing but the coincidence, but is there more appropriate date to see Dead Kennedys than the 4th of July? I highly doubt it. So, yeah, this show was good before it even started. However, one question was hanging up in the air since the show announcement. While the organizers were very loud in speaking of 'the greatest hardcore band of all time' coming to town, some of the fans were sticking to Biafra's version of 'the world's greediest karaoke band.' The truth, as usual, was in between.
Yes, Dead Kennedys are way past their prime, Biafra is out of the band for the past three decades, and they haven't released new music ever since. Having that in mind, writing the band off wouldn't be hard, but it would be wrong. Klaus Flouride, East Bay Ray, and D.H. Peligro are all legends on their own and seeing them on the stage is something every punk kind ever should experience at least once. So what was it like?
Much like Marky Ramone's Blitzkrieg, Dead Kennedys are defacto legacy act, an inactive band in terms of new music, that digs into history. And they have a lot of it. DK can't really offer anything new or revolutionary at this point, but they have loads of hits under their belt, and they still know how to deliver them. With expectations in reality, the show couldn't go wrong. Old enough not to give a fuck, and simply enjoy the show, while young enough to still have the energy, Dead Kennedys were firing from the heavy artillery. Handpicking the legendary hits and crowd-favorites, the band delivered a set pretty much everyone wanted to hear.
However, don't mistake DK of today for a tribute, or a 'karaoke' band. They may play three-decade-old songs, they may not have had new music in so long, but they still bring their messages with themselves. Again, those messages aren't new, we heard them so many times, but every time something may have sounded washed out, too obvious or like 'preaching to the converted' I would remember who's the current president of the USA. Or Serbia. On the other hand, as much as Dead Kennedys provided a real punk rock party, the overall impression I tend to keep from the show is - sad. It's just sad to know that songs like 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off,' 'Kill The Poor' or 'California Über Alles' are still important as they were thirty or forty years ago. Maybe even more.