Live Review: The Dead Kennedy’s – The Academy, Dublin 20.05.2023

Photo credit David McEneaney

Photos & Words – David McEneaney

What can you say about the Dead Kennedys that hasn’t already been said?

The fact that they can still sell out venues despite not releasing any new material since 1986 is testament alone to their legendary status.
They have not been without controversy over the years, from internal feuds with their previous singer and tragically losing their drummer D.H. Peligro in 2022, to issues dating as far back as their formation and their choice of name. 
None of that seemed to matter once they took the stage of The Academy in Dublin on Saturday 20th May, and you could see how they are as relevant today as they were during their all too brief run from 1978 to 1986.
Just before the gig the walked on stage and gave a touching tribute to their late drummer, dedicating the music to him before coming back out a few mins later to perform a gig that he would be proud of.
The current singer Ron ‘Skip’ Greer started as he meant to go on, fast, intense, relentless…just like a DK song…and kept up this momentum throughout the entire gig, only taking a break from running all over the stage in-between songs to speak directly to the crowd about various things, from stories about the songs to political issues to the fact that Irish people don’t understand the difference between football and soccer…
East Bay Ray and Klaus Flouride were more like the strong, silent types, standing confidently on the stage and looking like they were enjoying themselves, confident in their legacy and constantly looking out over the sea of loyal fans, which ranged from the obvious hardcore fans still wearing their DK T-shirts they clearly got back in the 80s to a new, younger generation who had recently discovered the band.
A particular stand out scene to me was two guys right up at the front of the barrier who had brought their daughters, and their daughters were screaming along to the songs even louder than their dads. This alone showed me the power and timelessness of the Dead Kennedys, and proved that their colourful and interesting history has influenced so many people over the years, and continues to do so to this day.
So many bands wouldn’t be anywhere today without hearing them, and culture in general wouldn’t be the same without their work.
With the way they still perform with more energy than bands less than half their age, still clearly enjoy performing and the way they can still make an entire venue pay attention 37 years after their last release, it makes me wonder what a new record from them would sound like today. Clearly they still have a lot to say and be angry about, and it’s not like the world has gotten a lot better since their last record, so I suppose once can only dream of hearing some new DK material.
For now though, the fact that they are still touring is enough. If you are a fan, have just heard about them, or are in any way curious as to one of the most influential hardcore punk bands that helps start it all and influenced countless bands since…I would highly recommend you get a ticket for the nearest gig and prepare to scream along with the rest of the room.

Forward To Death
Winnebago Warrior
Police Truck
Lets Lynch The Landlord
Kill the Poor
MP3 Get Off the Web
To Drunk To Fuck
Moon Over Marin
Naiz Punks Fuck Off
Calif Uber Alles
Bleed for Me (Incl snippet of Taylor Swift’ s ‘Shake It Off’)
Viva Las Vegas (Elvis Presley cover)
Holiday In Cambodia
Chemical Warfare (Incorporating a small part of ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ by Lynyrd Skynrd)

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