East Bay Ray!!!!
San Francisco music history is all too often focused on Jefferson Airplane and the Dead. It is easy to forget that San Francisco spawned hardcore pioneers the Dead Kennedys. They formed in 1978, and despite the sad, bitter break-up in 1986, they transformed punk forever. They played their first show at the Mahubay Gardens at 443 Broadway in North Beach. For 10 plus years this club was the center of the California punk universe.
The DK’s first single, “California Uber Alles”, sounded great in Oakland last Friday. Always politically current, the lyrics were modified to rag on Jerry Brown and Obama. East Bay Ray, surely one of punk’s greatest guitarists, hasn’t lost his touch. Klaus Flouride, also representing the original line-up, played furious bass across the stage at the Metro Operahouse while adding some signature back up vocals. Current lead vocals were handled well by Skip McSkipster aka Ron Greer of the Wynona Riders.
Last time I saw the DK’s, Brandon Cruz, from TV’s Courtship of Eddie’s Father, held the mike. As much as I’d like to see Jello back in the saddle, it is still a thrill to see these songs shred to perfection. “Kill the Poor”, “Holiday in Cambodia”, “Bleed for Me”, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and “Too Drunk to Fuck” raged and the crowd did plenty of stage diving and crowd surfing in appreciation. The show ended with “Chemical Warfare” and a few lines of “Sweet Home Alabama”.
I missed Disciples, but arrived in time to catch another 1979 San Fran punk reunion, Flipper, a band I completely missed back in the day. Too bad. I would’ve been a devotee, and maybe it’s not too late. They are seriously heavy in the best possible way. Droning chord progressions and a lovable/hatable singer that asks every audience member to take a look around and start asking questions. They also sold me the coolest kid t-shirt I have ever seen.
At the end of the set they invited the crowd onto the stage. The singer moved to bass and threw up the peace sign as the fans took over.