The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth

Dead Kennedys

It’s a balmy Thursday night in Bournemouth and the possibility of the gig of the year is upon us. A band who I and many others thought we’d never see around these parts are in town as part of their European Tour. Dead Kennedys are synonymous with the American HC/Punk scene and despite Jello Biafra no longer being the main man, this was always going to be a sold-out show.

Opening tonight are Leamington Spa’s Loom. I won’t begin to try and pigeonhole them but they display elements of Post/Punk and Shoegaze. I catch them mid-set and their singer is doing his utmost to dampen the mood. Their wall of sound echoes hints of JAMC and they are all decked out in black. Their music is competent despite the obvious Shoegaze style of no movement (drummer aside), who is energetic throughout. Tank (vox) makes no effort to engage with this crowd, in fact his disinterest seems somewhat deliberate. No song titles are mentioned and barely a thank you leaves his lips. It does, however, leave you wanting more, maybe in a more intimate setting, you might see them open up. A decent start though.

At 9pm sharp it’s time for the main event. One by one the Dead Kennedys take to the stage. They open with “Forward to Death” which sounds ropey at best, followed by “Winnebago Warrior” where Ron’s mic breaks down. He is so energetic he doesn’t even realise, Klaus (bass) comes to his rescue! Mic repaired they play the first biggie “Police Truck”, which sends this Bmth crowd into a frenzy. Ron (vox) does his best to engage with the crowd, taking every opportunity to explain song origins and content (with a slight political slant in places).

“Buzzbomb” precedes the brilliant “Landlord” where Ron uses the crowd for the choruses. “Jock-O-Rama” precedes an energetic “Kill the Poor”, again with crowd interaction. “MP3 Get Off The Web” is poignantly dissected by Ron, lecturing us on too many hours spent in front of our PC’s. It’s at this point some of us are tiring of this constant “filler”. Ok, it’s entertaining to a point, but it’s not as if they donít have more songs.

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DHP (drums) gets in on the act, explaining multiculturalism at gigs nowadays before announcing “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. Which sets us up nicely for set closer “California Uber Alles”, which is a great way to end the main set.

We are afforded 5 minutes to catch our breath before they return on “Bleed With Me”. More ranting and humour from Ron precedes the wonderful “Viva Las Vegas”, including some nonsense about being “too old for Punk”. He gets away with it every time with that jovial smile. I suppose the acid test for a band in their autumn years is how they deliver their finer songs. They end this encore on “Holiday in Cambodia” where Ray’s guitar parts are note perfect. He barely looks up, just confidently delivering the intricacies of his musicianship. As they leave the stage once more some punters are leaving. I’ve been “tapped up” that there’s one more song in the set. They return and duly oblige with a “Chemical Warfare/Sweet Home Alabama” mash-up. Ron uses this crowd for the last time and that folks is that.

If memory serves me well this is their first visit to Bournemouth, and they haven’t disappointed. Will they ever return, we shall see. Good to see a full house in a Bournemouth venue, where everyone on ‘the scene’ came out to see the band as one. Proof if ever it were in doubt, this town has a great music scene.

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Set List
Forward To Death
Winnebago Warrior
Police Truck
Let’s Lynch the Landlord
Kill the Poor
MP3 Get Off the Webb
Moon Over Marin
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
California Uber Alles

1st encore
Bleed For Me
Viva Las Vegas
Holiday in Cambodia

2nd encore

Chemical Warfare/Sweet Home Alabama (mash-up)



Review and Pictures by Ross A. Ferrone
Videos by Chris Orr (Via YouTube)
Pictures by Charlie Raven

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