The Dead Kennedys Keep Punk Alive

Dead Kennedys are here to proclaim that punk is NOT dead!
(L to R: Vocalist/ Ron “Skip” Greer, bassist Geoffrey “Klaus Flouride” Lyall and guitarist Ray “East Bay Ray” Pepperell)

Here at the Ugh Metal site, we’ve covered shows that for the most part the Klown and his sibling attend the shows together because we mutually go to experience the moment. This time, however, the punk and metal gods clashed and caused a divide amongst us. July 21 was an interesting day not just for us but for San Diego. That Friday just happened to be the SD Comic Con International’s second official day and as if last year wasn’t enough to convince us of how the scene can surprise us, this year a splitter was thrown. “WTF are you talking about Klown?” you may be asking. Gather ‘round the fictional campfire, my droogs as your savior of misbehavior shall treat you to Team Klown’s time at the sold out Dead Kennedys show at the Brick by Brick.

The Klown got his night of drunk and punk started with local punk scene legends Systematic Abuse formerly known as The Resentments, winning the attendance portion of the split. The Klown knew then that two things were going to happen, his goofy ass was about to get kicked and that he was going to experience what the diehard punkers have with Systematic Abuse. The collective first treated us to “No Escape” from their 2015 release No Escape. Once drummer Adam Cripe began to hit his house drums and pick up the pace, guitarist Erik Dogol added more liveliness to this punk style mix.

Local legends Systematic Abuse kicked off the sold out show.
(L to R: Drummer Adam Cripe , vocalist Match and bassist Grim)

That speed would later be picked up once again after bassist Grim joined in. Once Match accompanied the ensemble with his harsh vocals, he added the much-needed attitude that night craved. Also from the same album, the band treated us to the energetic and guaranteed circle pit starter “Slasher” which also featured Dogol and Grim doing the backing chorus to amplify the song.

The real treat of the night was when Systematic Abuse paid tribute to our metal god, Lemmy Kilmister as they covered “Ace of Spades” and gave it a faster and punk twist to the metal anthem. The performance had left the early birds clamoring for more and the ones trickling in with intrigue.

Systematic Abuse left people wanting more!
(L to R: Guitarist Erik Dogol, vocalist Match, drummer Cripe and bassist Grim)

As the exploits of the Abuse left intrigued, Authentic Sellout had fans enjoying, moshing and headbanging throughout the show. The band kicked off their set by having a comic con vendor known as The Wizard act as a hype man for the night. Lead guitarist, Christian Borja, immediately followed after The Wizard with an infectious opening riff to lead the charge with “King of Rock n Roll.” Frontman Sulo King will have you doing a double take, at first, because of his resemblance to that of WWE superstar Dean Ambrose.

Once King began his vocal work, it began to sound like a decree to this dynamic song and he would immediately be joined, vocally, by bassist Rice Enright and rhythm guitarist Andy Danger. King continued to  showcase his showmanship by not only starting a circle pit but even joining it during the performance of “American Dream.” Not one to leave a fallen mosher laying on the floor, King helped a female mosher up who happened to tumbled down in the pit and serenaded the rest of the song to her before climbing back up to the stage.

Bassist Rice Enright and guitarist Christian Borja of Authentic Sellout make it rain with sime sweet riffs.

King seemed to be a fan of The Walking Dead because he had brought Lucille with him. For those unaware of Lucille, it is a baseball bat wrapped in barb wire at the barrel. King used the prop to send a clear message of their latest song “Technology.” King decreed that anyone on their cell phone would get them knocked off their hands by Lucille. King would then jump off stage to seek out anyone on their phones to knock them off their hands like he said he would.

Authentic Sellout closed out their time with their hit song from their 2009 Live By The Dollar Sign, Die By The Dollar Sign EP, “Working Class Stiff.” Authentic Sellout left quite the commotion and accomplished to soften the crowd for the kill. Prior to that night, the Klown didn’t know what to expect and was glad that he had a hell of a surprise with these gents.

Sulo King of Authentic Sellout wants to show us his friend Lucille while guitarist Christian Borja strums an epic funeral song.

The local punk powerhouse known as Sculpins took the stage and the Klown, alongside all the attendees, could feel a new commanding and confident presence from this quartet. Although the last time the Klown saw these gents was a little over a year ago,  the Klown still believes that these gents represent the current generation of punkers. Sculpins do a great job to remind you that the death of punk has been greatly exaggerated. The quartet kicked off their set with “Social Acceptance” from their 2015 Force Feeding An Obese Society LP.

From the moment guitarist Branden Parish’s erratic guitar riffs began, the crowd was immediately in a fevered frenzy. But the true spectacle of the band was frontman Adam Gomez. For those who have had the chance to see this man in action, y’know exactly what the Klown is talking about. However, for those who haven’t, you, my child, are missing out because Gomez will one-up you when it comes to feeling the music.

Sculpins made us feel, man!
(L to R: guitarist Branden Parish, vocalist Adam Gomez and drummer Jarrod Monday)

When Gomez is not spazzing out while he shows off his vocals, he will carry his mic stand with one hand, flip it over his shoulder and parade the stage with it while still blaring his powerful, screaming vocals. Another thing to note about Gomez is that the man embodies the punk attitude and spirit by sharing anecdotes of social justice or social commentary as a footnote and an intro to the songs he’s about to perform. After the band’s performance of “Reluctant,” Gomez would show his humility and gratitude for the opportunity given to them. This show was the first time a high profile and sold out show featured a lineup consisting of local bands with one major headliner at the helm.

Much like Sulo King, Gomez also got off stage to join the pit helped a female punker that was caught in the mosh and serenaded a lucky lady that was sitting on a knee scooter and had a cast on her leg before heading back to the stage. Sculpins also premiered a brand new song titled “Peace Offering” and closed their unforgettable performance with “Aiding & Incorporating Death.”

Adam Gomez of Sculpins had a duet with the mic stand!

As much as the Klown really wanted to continue speaking of the show stealing Sculpins, it is time that the Klown chats you up about the legendary Dead Kennedys.  No matter the history, issues, or the roster changes, they are legendary through merit and have managed to stand the test of time. Although the Klown amongst many wish that Jello Biafra would still be part of the band, Ron “Skip” Greer does a great job filling the shoes that were left behind.

The group preceded with their sold out affair with “Forward to Death” and the reception they got was bar-none as the crowd erupted and almost brought down the Brick. Greer not only had an infectious personality, he has a voice that can closely match Biafra’s and is not afraid to use humor when he has to. By the time the band finished playing “Police Truck,” Greer was aware of what was taking place in San Diego and took the time to address and joke about the Comic Con. Such jokes were not only comic book related but also pop culture such as Twin Peaks with the implication that the eleventh season was being announced, and the 20th Transformer movie featuring a very old Mark Wahlberg.

Ron “Skip” Greer of Dead Kennedys happy to see all the Comic Con Pop figures.

By the time “Kill the Poor” was finished, Greer once again started to joke and address an issue most aren’t aware of, musicians including famous ones having to look for some regular employment to make ends meet. In this case, he would turn that around and claim that he had taken a job with the Trump Administration and finished the joke with a confession of him being responsible for Trump’s alleged leaks to Russia. Of course, it would be rather incomplete if the band didn’t dish out their famous hits before the night was through which was done during the band’s encore.

That arsenal consisted of “California Uber Alles” and the band’s satirical cover of Elvis’s “Viva Las Vegas.” The night truly erupted when the famous surfer rock riffs of their mega hit “Holiday in Cambodia” began. Much like some of the other songs, it had crowd participation to sing along with Greer especially when he presented the microphone to someone in the crowd. The band teased the ending by giving us one more encore in the form of “Chemical Warfare.”

East Bay Ray uber alles!

This show was great and the Klown could only wish that a lot of you could have joined him alongside to partake in this moment. No matter what your feelings are regarding the Dead Kennedys, these men show that true artists must go on for the better or worse. But most importantly, the fact that these gents allowed the local punk scene to lead the way for them spoke volumes.

This shows anyone how much of a class act the Dead Kennedys truly were since it’s not too common for a titan to let the local bands pull the crowd in like moths to a flame. The Klown can only hope to see DK pop back in for another night. Most importantly, many thanks to DH Peligro, your drumming skills are exceptional but your humbleness truly defines you.

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