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Dead Kennedys - Holidays in the Sun, Blackpool, 21/7/2002

  by Alex Halls

published: 9 / 8 / 2002

Dead Kennedys - Holidays in the Sun, Blackpool, 21/7/2002


Nearly twenty five years old, and having replaced frontman Jello Biafra with new singer Brandon Cruz, the Dead Kennedys prove to have lost none of their bite in a powerful performance at the climax of the Holidays in the Sun punk festival

Arriving on the Olympia stage barely after 21:45, the Dead Kennedys polished off what was a fantastic weekend at Holidays In The Sun in Blackpool. Since their first live album, 'Mutiny On The Bay', around a year ago, the Dead Kennedys have proven their finesse on stage, with a set of tracks from different époques. Today’s performance substantiated the live recording and gave the packed arena another piece of what the band are all about: a democratic ensemble, working collectively and giving the audience the benefit of their musical wisdom. The Dead Kennedys first emerged onto the American Hardcore Punk scene in 1978 shortly after an advert was placed in a local paper. East Bay Ray, as the founder, collected a group of budding musicians together to form one of the most recognised and respected punk bands of all time. Jello Biafra (vocals), East Bay Ray (guitar), Klaus Flouride (bassist) and D.H. Peligro (drums) set the scene alight with tracks of sheer class and indulgence. Although Jello Biafra has now left after legal wrangling over the band’s direction and commercialisation, new man Brandon Cruz brings the Dead Kennedys to the forefront of punk again. Despite his lack of political conversation between songs, which Biafra was known for, Cruz asserts himself immaculately over an impressionable Blackpool crowd as the lights shine on what is to be another fine performance. There are those who argue that the Dead Kennedys are nothing without Biafra, but that is simply not true. They are something special and, granted their style may have changed since Biafra’s departure, they remain an act that is hard to follow, hence their status as headliners. Walking on stage, the band are greeted with cheers of ecstasy and delight> The lights fade in and out, turning white to red slowly, marking the silhouettes of authority on their admirers’ pale faces. The usual favourites,' Police Truck' and 'Holiday In Cambodia', are always the easiest to pick out from the set. Their class, and the way in which they balance punk rock with that slight hardcore element, put these songs in the vanguard at the time they were written. Now, there is a sense of nostalgia attached to them as well, but nothing can detract from the effect they continue to have on each and every celebrator who has come to Blackpool for this special occasion. 'Police Truck' is warming, yet chilling; at times you feel safe within it, at others its danger feels too close for comfort. As Peligro exerts his energy onto the ever-boisterous crowd, frontman, Cruz, laps up every last bit of energy the crowd throw back at him, propelling the vocals over, above and into the minds of the delighted onlookers; their eyes gazing in awe. The Dead Kennedys truly are an act in themselves and through their dedication over the last years have proven that commitment brings out the best in people. Blackpool was honoured to be graced with the presence. May they return in the future.

Picture Gallery:-
Dead Kennedys - Holidays in the Sun, Blackpool, 21/7/2002

Dead Kennedys - Holidays in the Sun, Blackpool, 21/7/2002

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Interview (2007)
Dead Kennedys - Interview
Former Dead Kennedys singer Jello Biafra speaks to Denzil Watson about his spoken word solo shows, Bushism and global capitalism and the demise of his one time band

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