Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017

Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017Dead Kennedys + Otherkin @ o2 Academy 2, 26th June, 2017

Dead Kennedys

Perfect timing! As I enter the Academy 2 for Dead Kennedys I am greeted by an air raid siren from the PA.  Enter Otherkin to the sound of said siren. Now, if you read BrumLive regularly you will recall that I reviewed this band a few months ago at the Flapper on their own headline tour. Playing to large and lively crowds on many other gigs on that tour they must have been disheartened to see the turnout that night. Embarrassing from Brum as there was less than twenty people there!


Mercifully tonight they are playing to a substantially larger number. It’s good to see a decent turnout of punters, albeit at the older end of the gig going demographic. I fully expect them to be nonplussed, ambivalent and disinterested in general… but ya know what? They may have seen it all before stretching right back to the 80s or perhaps earlier, and jaded though they are, they are actually very receptive to Otherkin. All the way through the set.


As the band kick off, Luke Reilly immediately looks the part of a slick, on fire frontman. Topless, drainpiped and booted with confident strut and posture he pulls out all the rock’n’roll stops.  In my previous review I likened him to a young Jimmy Osterburg and I’m standing by that.  He looks the part and sounds it too of a mixture of Iggy and Joe (surnames unneccessary!).
The band are without doubt on the top of their game, presumably because of the extensive touring they have been engaged in this year. They are warmed up and match fit to the max!


Blasting into opener, “Howling”, they don’t let up until the closer, “Love’s A Liability”. In between they twist, turn and churn out punk rock’n’roll riffs and postures that sound and look nothing but brand new. Better still, it actually feels honest with it. This is undoubtedly part of the reason the are warmly received.  You can’t con a crowd like this by bearing false witness.  You aren’t going to cut it by being plastic.


Bathed in red backlighting they attack both the latest single, “React”, and “Enabler” with it’s Nirvana-esque edge, with a passion. In no time at all Luke is over the barrier and into the crowd with his guitar as he walks amongst us. A pivotal point in any band’s set is the middle.  Otherkin don’t let up on the high octane rush though and songs like “Yeah, I Know” and “She’s A Boy” keep the band on point. They’re all rockin’ fast paced tracks but at no point do they feel two dimensional. A distinct sound and a twist in each track means that you don’t lose interest.  “Ay Ay” with it’s crunchy guitars and surf-esque drumbeat see us through to “Love’s A Liability”, a shouter of a number.  My only complaint is they didn’t play earlier single “Bad Advice”, a Strokes sounding stonker of a track.

Dead Kennedys

It’s fair to say that this has been a special year for this band and thoroughly deserved but it ain’t over yet. You can catch this awesome quartet at Mama Roux’s on October 6th. Believe me, you all need to be there!So, on to the main event, but first here’s a little tale of woe and sadness for you.

Dead Kennedys

A fifteen year old boy had the chance to go see Dead Kennedys in his home town. There was a girl who he’d dated for a couple of weeks and she wanted to see him that same night. The hormones were raging and the band were calling. He was torn. His thought process was that there would always be another chance to see the band. He took the decision to meet the girl only for her to dump him, though not before giving him a single by The Cure for his birthday. Not seeing one of his fave bands, getting dumped and then getting given a single by The Cure. All in all, as Donald would say. “A bad thing. Very bad!!!” Those Otherkin boys are damn right… Love’s A Liability! Don’t fall for it kids… there’ll always be another girl but your fave band will probably split up. If you’re lucky then they’ll reform with a string of vocalists coming and going but it’ll not be the same.

Wind forward thirty five years and that bad decision making kid, me, is seeing the Dead Kennedys. Now, I’ve seen them before, with both singers post of Jello Biafra the original vocalist, and tonight I’ll be seeing them with fourth singer, Ron Greer (ex The Wynona Riders).

Dead KennedysDead Kennedys

It’s difficult to express to todays generation of music fans just how important in the history of Punk this band were. Punk. That watered down word that is banded about as such common currency these days. I get mildly cross when I hear some of the bands described as Punk, even with some of my fellow reviewers on this site. That’s a rant for another day though. The legacy of this band, not only in musical terms as the Hardcore band that broke the UK, was that they gave a generation of Punks a political conscience. Heavily political at socio, economy and eco political levels they opened up the minds of a lot of Punks. On top of that they made you want to jump like a loony. Add into that a heavy dose of tongue-in-cheekness and you had a hell of a band.

Dead Kennedys

Hitting the stage new singer Ron ‘Skip’ Greer leaps straight into the set predominently made up from  the first two albums and early singles. By the third song he is in the pit offering the mic to the front row as the DKs pile drive through the B-Side of their second and probably most well known single. Police Truck. It’s a powerful statement on a true story of 70s San Franciscan cops who abused their position, drinking on the job and sexually abusing prostitutes. A powerful subject and a powerful sound. Credit to ‘Skip’ Greer as he performs this song and the rest of the set with as much verve and almost as much vigour as Jello.

The energy and expressiveness of Jello is there but sans the mime act. To paraphrase Biafra, “This is theatre, not television” and in the great tradition of Dead Kennedys singers, Greer offers us a natural watchable theatrical performance.  If there were anyone like me that had not seen him before; any doubters in the audience, then they were quickly won over.  It helps having three legends of the US Punk scene backing you up.

Dead Kennedys

Klaus Flouride is avuncular looking. Less like an hardcore legend and more like your favorite uncle. When he does choose to move around it brings to mind Punk Rock Dad dancing. On the other side of the stage East Bay Ray with his gangly frame and Maths teacher cool plays those familiar licks in the same relaxed manner as ever. Familiar songs fall from the stage one after another and Ray lays his distinctive guitar sound over each.

Dead Kennedys

One thing that I can’t help noticing is that the songs and stage performance is offered with a lighter sense of humour than ever before.  This is thanks to Skip and his between song banter. The words to “MTV Get off The Air” are changed in their entirety to a rail against technology and the crowd are in the line for “being guilty of helping to kill the music recording industry”. Sport gets the treatment in the introduction to Jock-o-Rama as we Brits are admonished for calling a school childs game football instead of it’s ‘proper name – soccer’.  He also decides for us that we are all to old for Punk Rock which recieves the exact response you would imagine from several hundred ageing punkers. It’s taken in good faith from both side of the barrier.

Dead Kennedys

A rare moment of seriousness comes when drummer D. H. Peligro is given the stage to introduce a song. We are offered a short description of his early days in San Francisco getting chased down and beaten by racist skinheads and the notoriously vicious S.F. cops and how the two band members and friends, East Bay Ray and Klaus, made life bearable for him. We hear why racism makes no sense to him before the band leap into the seminal hardcore song “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”.Another thing that has always stood out about the band’s sound is the opening bar of each song. The moment a song like “California Uber Alles” starts you immediately recognise it. It’s a strength in any band that can create such a recognisable sound and this stands for virtually ever song in the set.

Dead Kennedys

Encores are strong as you would expect and finish with that ultimate Punk classic, “Holiday In Cambodia”, but the problem with having an all-killer-no-filler first two albums and singles is that you’re bound to disappoint someone. No “Halloween”, “Man With The Dogs”, “Life Sentence”, “Moral Majority” nor “Riot”. All songs that have been played live many times and each a DK classic.  Within seconds of the last bars of “Chemical Warfare” dying away the band are in the pit talking to fans and shaking hands. No big star egos with these grounded legends.

The only thing missing from this gig were the people that think that any band with a distortion pedal is a Punk band. They were not present to pay their respects.

Otherkin Setlist

Yeah, I Know
She’s A Boy
Ay Ay
Love’s A Liability

Dead Kennedys Setlist

Forward To Death
Winnabago Warrior
Police Truck
Let’s Lynch The Landlord
Moon Over Marin
Kill The Poor
MP3 Get Off The Web  (MTV Get Off The Air)
Too Drunk To Fuck
Nazi Punks Fuck Off
California Uber Alles
Bleed For Me
Viva Las Vegas
Holiday In Cambodia
Chemical Warfare

Reviewer: Mark Veitch
Photographer: Chris Bowley

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Slam Dunk Midlands – Bands we can’t wait to see

With less than a week to go, ‘Slam Dunkers’ will be prepped to travel to at least one of the […]

The Waterboys @ Warwick Arts Centre, 13th May 2018

Last time I saw The Waterboys at Warwick Arts Centre it was a standing gig, whereas tonight is seated and […]

Scott Hutchison

Deep sadness today at Birmingham Live at the news regarding Scott Hutchison.  As long time fans of his work with […]

Don McLean + Jarrod Dickinson @ Symphony Hall, 10 May 2018

This evening’s performance at the Symphony Hall started with country/blues support act Jarrod Dickinson, with his wife Claire on backing […]

Nickelback @ Genting Arena, 10 May 2018

Canadian rock band Nickelback has had a long tenure creating well-loved music. With more than twenty years in the game, […]

Gang of Youths@ o2 Institute, 9 May 2018

Almost 12 months ago I witnessed the best gig of 2017 when Gang of Youths played the Sunflower Lounge .  […]