TVD Live Shots: Dead Kennedys at the Electric Ballroom, 8/9

Dead Kennedys remain a force to be reckoned with, four decades on, with yet another triumphant return to London.

This time instead of two shows in a smaller venue the band opted for one night only at the legendary Electric Ballroom. The excitement around the recent release of the three-CD set, simply titled DK 40, and the jam-packed venue makes a clear statement about the sign of the times—impending doom for the climate and the political landscape—but also offers up a lesson in longevity. East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, D.H. Peligro, and Ron “Skip” Greer were once again in top form tearing through a blistering 75-minute set that celebrated one of punk rock’s most excellent catalogs.

It’s way, way, way past time to stop with the lazy comments, “It’s not DK without Jello,” because it is. Go see this fucking show and tell me you didn’t think it was spectacular. Skip does a brilliant job keeping the original angst of the songs while also adding a jolt of his own explosive style. I think it’s time to see the band record a new album with him as the chemistry is 100% there and the fans are ready. It’s clear that the band is open for a reunion and the ball’s in Jello’s court. While he says he’s just too busy to make it work, but we can all bet that it will happen in time, DK 40 certainly lays the groundwork while provoking the question of a new record.

The setlist was a history lesson in punk rock featuring all the classics we know and love including “Police Truck,” “Too Drunk to Fuck,” and of course “Holiday in Cambodia.” It’s interesting to hear “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and watch not only the insane antics of Skip but the reaction and energy from the crowd. It’s a song that could easily be the anthem for a chaotic few years in the States, but the fact that this song can still carry the message and have that kind of effect on a crowd of both new and old fans alike nearly forty years later is a testament to the importance of this band.

Dead Kennedys continue to tour so don’t miss this one, and the three-disc live set DK 40 is available now.

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