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Jello Biafra with the Melvins

Jello Biafra with the Melvins: live in New Yorklive in New York (2005)
Alternative Tentacles Records

Reviewer Rating: 5


Contributed by: greenertongreenerton
(others by this writer | submit your own)

When I first heard the Melvins were going to be playing some shows with Jello Biafra, I flipped. The chance to hear Jello sing DK songs again live was too much to pass up, so I bought my tickets the day they went on sale. Obviously, I'm a huge Jello fan. I have every Dead Kennedys album, the Lard.


When I first heard the Melvins were going to be playing some shows with Jello Biafra, I flipped. The chance to hear Jello sing DK songs again live was too much to pass up, so I bought my tickets the day they went on sale. Obviously, I'm a huge Jello fan. I have every Dead Kennedys album, the Lard, Mojo-nixon, and DOA albums, and a number of his spoken-word releases and both of the Jelvins albums. Seeing the man perform was incredible, but let me start from the beginning.

It was basically a four-band bill, with Mouth Sewn Shut opening, followed by Alice Donut, a Melvins set, and then the Jelvins. I was (obviously) one of "those guys" there to see Jello. I'd never heard of either of the first two bands, and I'd never heard a Melvins song. Sure, I know plenty about them; I know the guitarist goes by the title of King Buzzo; I know they're very strange [looking]; I know they're from Washington (being from Washington myself); I know they have a million albums; I know that many people refer to them as "the heaviest band ever." However, I still had no idea what they sounded like.

Mouth Sewn Shut went on at 8pm, and they were pretty entertaining. They definitely have that "new" hardcore sound -- the heavy, almost-metal chugging riffs, constant inaudible screaming, etc. Personally, I prefer hardcore along the lines of Minor Threat or Kid Dynamite, but they were a worthy opener.

Next up was Alice Donut. I honestly had no idea of what to expect from these guys. I knew they're an older band, but I asked a few people what they sounded like and got wildly different answers from each person. The most fitting description I heard was definitely "a bastard child of the Pixies and Fugazi." I thoroughly enjoyed their set and plan on picking up an album of theirs; they really DID sound like some mash of the Pixies and Fugazi, complete with falsetto vocals and female bassist, and crazy dual guitar harmonies. To seal the deal, towards the end of the set they did a cover of the Fugazi classic, "Waiting Room," but instead of a straight cover, the drummer swapped places with the lead singer and did the vocals on trombone. It was fucking hilarious, and a lot of fun.

Ah, the legendary Melvins. The band everyone's heard of, but few have actually heard‚?¶or something like that. I REALLY didn't know what to expect from these guys. Their hour-long set consisted of what seemed to be about five songs. These guys were heavy as hell, and actually quite good once they got going. I don't know if I'd buy one of their records (I'm not that into the real heavy metal stuff) but they were definitely good at what they did. The set began with five minutes of the bassist screaming into a distorted voicebox and making random noises with his bass, then ten more minutes of them repeating virtually the same riff over and over (their drummer had some nice fills in there, though). After they were done boring the crowd, they finally got to some actual music, which was good. I don't know any of their songs, so I can't tell you what they played, but I enjoyed it. At the end of their set with their last chord still ringing, Buzzo and the bassist turned their backs on the crowd and donned black ski masks. A roadie in another ski mask came out and put up a set list up on the front of the drum set, and on the side of the stage you could see a contrasting figure in white jogging in place.

The crowd went fucking crazy as the Melvins tore into "Plethysmograph." Jello sounded as good as ever, and was energetic and entertaining throughout the rest of the show. His attire was amusing, as well; he came out in a white surgeon coat splattered with blood, and when he removed it he was wearing a jacket of the American flag (heh). Underneath that was the "Democracy / We Deliver" shirt with the requisite picture of the airplane dropping bombs. After "McGruff the Crime Dog," Jello talked to the crowd about various political topics, including the last election, of course. After that, they went into a handful of DK songs (listed below). The Melvins did a fanstic job with them, though Buzzo did fuck up a bit on the opening of "Holiday in Cambodia," but no one really cared. The rewritten "California Uber Alles" was fantastic, with Jello miming body builder moves throughout. In fact, Jello's hilarious miming was probably the best thing about the entire show; he animated virtually every song, from flinching and covering his crotch during "Plethysmograph" to pretending to drive an SUV for "Yuppie Cadillac." He stage dove early in the show, which was pretty amusing‚?¶but the best one came at the end. For "Holiday in Cambodia," Jello went old school, taking off his shirt -- sure, he's gained a few pounds, but it still brought me back to watching old `80s bootlegs of DK playing small punk shows. Right in the middle of the song, he caught security off-guard by leaping into the crowd yet again; it was fucking hilarious to see the club security swarm around to pull him out of the crowd. The man may be nearly 50 years old, but he sure doesn't show it.

All in all, it was a fantastic show. If the tour's coming by, you'd be doing yourself a great disservice by not attending. I did my best to remember the set list -- I know I got the DK songs right, but I'm not positive on the order, nor on a couple of the Jelvins songs. The first few are in order though, and if I wasn't sure about a song I marked it.

Set List:

  • Plethysmograph
  • McGruff the Crime Dog
  • -----
  • When Ya Get Drafted
  • Kali-f√∂rnia √?ber Alles 21st Century
  • I Am the Owl
  • -----
  • Yuppie Cadillac
  • Wholly Bun Bull? (I really don't remember what song they played here, but I know it wasn't "Islamic Bomb")
  • Voted Off the Island
  • -----
  • Chemical Warfare
  • Caped Crusader
  • Lessons in What Not to Become
  • Bleed for Me
  • Lighter Side of Global Terrorism
  • -----
Encore:
  • Rock‚??n'Roll McDonald's (Wesley Willis cover!!)
  • Holiday in Cambodia

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 8, 2005)

Regarding the Jello/Melvins NYC-Webster Hall show:
The 7th song was Forkboy (Lard)

And I'm pretty sure that Drug Me was played too, so that would be song 11.

So what was song 3? And the last song before the encore? Was there one? I thought Lighter Side was the last song (80% sure).

Anonymous (November 8, 2005)

Jello Biafra and the Melvins (Jelvins)

Friday Nov. 4, 2005 ‚?? The Crystal Ballroom, Portland OR

Set List (as best I can ‚?¶.)

 Plethysmograph
 McGruff the Crime Dog
 -----
 When Ya Get Drafted
 Kali-f√∂rnia √?ber Alles 21st Century
 I Am the Owl
 Moon over marin(?)
 -----
 Yuppie Cadillac
 (played some Melvins tunes I didn‚??t know in this part I think‚?¶.)
 Voted Off the Island
 -----

 Drug Me

 Chemical Warfare
 Caped Crusader
 Lessons in What Not to Become

 -----
Encore:

 Holiday in Cambodia

There were an assortment of warm up bands who mostly made loud sonic noise with evil electronic toys. Sometimes it is hard to imagine anything so loud could be so boring. There was a four piece with Dale Crover on guitar that played a couple of good riffs.

Finally the Melvins played a couple of songs I didn‚??t know. Great riffs and thundering melody lines, weak lyrics and subdued vocals without much stage presence. Sort of like their career.

But finally they set their guitars down and put on black ski masks They picked up the instruments and kicked into Plethysmograph as Jello came running out in the white blood covered jacket. He fumbled the mic right at the start and missed the first two lines, but after that he had the crowd and the band rocking. Strong lyrics and energy and stage presence? These are subjects Jello knows a bit about.

I was a punk fan years ago ‚?? and saw Jello and the DKs once at the Oregon State Fairgrounds ‚?? but right now I would have to say I am a far bigger fan of the Jelvins than of anything that has come before.

This was a truly fucking great concert and this might be the most righteous ass kickin name calling truth spewing punk band on the planet right now.

Highlights: Jello‚??s upside down (danger signal) American flag shirt
McGruff the crime dog ‚?? with Jello miming a evil little sadist in a doggie mask to the crowd.
Kalifornia uber alles 21st cen ‚?? This song rocks in any century.
Voted off the Island ‚?? this is a punk song for the 21st century by a middle aged man.

Ultimate highlight ‚?? Drug Me ‚?? seemingly went on for about 35 minutes and incorporated a bunch of other riffs and noise and chaos and sludge.

Wish List:
I Fought the Law ‚?? this seems like it could be a great Jelvins song in case anyone has a mind‚?¶.

Rating: 5 stars plus

clamum (October 31, 2005)

Wow, that guy bitching about the reviewer's comparison of Alice Donut's sound to Pixies/Fugazi has the worst case of PMS I've ever fucking seen

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

"I saw this new grind band called SheWhoCorrupts last night in Chicago. Those chicks were pretty hot, but the drummer chick was kind of hairy and had a bulge. The singer kept throwing herself at me, usually off of the speaker stacks.

-Ken"

I'm guessing they are fans of He Who Corrupts With A Name Like That!.

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

review the fucking album already

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

Oh my god!
I own three Alice donut records but still can¬īt classify them.
Silly me :-) .
B.t.w I like all of them but thought their live-album was boring so I sold it.

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

Hey Dante, My fist is greased and at the ready to stretch your rectum to a width that was previously unimaginable. I'll reach in an pull your tongue back until you're licking your own ass from the inside. I'll criticize whoever I damn well feel like.

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

I saw this new grind band called SheWhoCorrupts last night in Chicago. Those chicks were pretty hot, but the drummer chick was kind of hairy and had a bulge. The singer kept throwing herself at me, usually off of the speaker stacks.

-Ken

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

There's always room for Jello.

Anonymous (October 29, 2005)

The Melvins are fucking great...and they're not always "heavy metal". I hesitate to call them metal at all. They're heavy but not metallic or anything.

Plus, their live shows kick ass.

I don't think that the crowd would be bored during a Melvins set. Melvins fans are pretty devoted and should be used to all their fucking around that they do.

lushj (October 28, 2005)

Oh yeah, and for the Melvins, I'd check out "Ozma" first. Riffs. Fucking Brutal.

Looking forward to seeing this in Frisco on Halloween- there's gonna be special Schwarteneggar-themed shirts just for that show, plus all the rest of the regular madness of an AT Halloween show. Not sure what my costume will be. Right now it looks like I'll be dressed as "overworked and not yet drunk merch person" but hopefully that will change.

lushj (October 28, 2005)

Go to http://www.alicedonut.com/ for mp3s from all over their long history. I'd call em twisted, creepy art-jam punk/soundtrack to a bad bad acid trip. Yeah, I think an LSD reference is always accurate when it comes to Alice Donut... Check out "Egg" or their DK cover "Halloween"

P.S.- Their version of "My Boyfriend's Back" is... wow. I love it, it's one of their more traditional sounding songs.

P.P.S.- You can get their music direct from http://www.alicedonut.com or http://alternativetentacles.com

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

A 40-year-old Hartford man was arrested on allegations that he placed envelopes containing photos of his genitals on or in vehicles of unsuspecting females who had parked to shop at local malls in Hartford, West Bend and Germantown.

Jeffrey Hein appeared in Washington County Circuit Court on Thursday on eight counts of lewd and lascivious behavior and five counts of disorderly conduct.

More charges may be forthcoming today, according to the district attorney's office. Some of those charges could be exposing a child to harmful material - more serious felony charges - because some of the victims were as young as 16, police sources said.

The Hartford Police Department had been investigating at least eight such incidents dating back to January and occurring as late as this past Monday, according to Hartford Police Chief Thomas Jones.

In mid-September, Jones said, his officers identified Hein as a potential suspect after they observed him driving a vehicle that matched one seen in video footage from a surveillance cameras in one of the Hartford incidents.

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"This observation was significant as it allowed investigators to further gain substantial evidence linking the suspect to these incidents," he said.

Authorities from Hartford, West Bend and Germantown then combined notes and saw very strong similarities, Jones said.

On Wednesday, authorities obtained a search warrant for the suspect‚??s home on Falcon Drive in Hartford and for his vehicle. Numerous photos were seized in the subsequent search, Jones said.

Hein then voluntarily appeared at the Hartford Police Department and willingly answered questions posed by investigators of the Hartford and West Bend departments. He then admitted his involvement in all eight of the Hartford cases, seven in West Bend and one in Germantown.

He was then arrested Wednesday and taken to the Washington County Jail.

Jones said that, during questioning, Hein said "he wasn‚??t doing it in a stalking manner, but more of a joke."

It appears, Jones said, that the women who had photos placed on their cars weren't in danger, and "that should be a relief to the community."

Jones said Hein created the photos on more of a "massive scale at a time, and had them available to him. He had one to three in his vehicle and when he had the opportunity is when he claims to have done it."

In the Germantown incident, said Police Chief Pete Hoell, Hein allegedly placed a photo in a car parked in an apartment building complex "next door to the police department."

In the city of West Bend, the incidents took place in various city shopping outlets including ShopKo, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart and Kmart, said Sgt. Gus Unertl.

If convicted on all recorded counts, Hein could face prison time of almost six years and a fine of up to $85,000. If the more serious exposing a child to harmful material charges are filed, then Hein could face a much stiffer prison sentence.

Hein is being held in the county jail on a $3,000 cash bond.

Hein's next court date has been tentatively set for Oct. 26.

This story appeared in the West Bend Daily News on October 21, 2005.
 

He was handing out flyers for this show. It's s cross of the Pixies and The Melvins.
 

 

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

Somebody named their kid Jello? That's stupid. These guys will never "make it"!

Dante3000 (October 28, 2005)

Alrighty everyone save your big damn words for your in class essay in fourth period.
Here's the facts, don't like a review? Tough shit. All the reviews on this site are free and done by fans who don't get paid. So if it's bad, stop and read something else. The only "bad" reviews that should be brought up are the 3 lines of "this band rocks buy this" or "This band sucks, for no reason". Those should be kept to oneself, and this isn't one of those reviews.
As for not knowing how to descirbe Alice Donut...Uhm, I'm sure they're gods in your little world, but outside of this microscopic world of punk no one has even heard of them, let alone heard them. So suck it up.
-Dante

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

i am the owl and bleed for me??!?!??!?!?!

goddamn it. i wish i was there.

greenerton (October 28, 2005)

Alice Donut sounds like a mix of The Pixies and The Melvins???

My friend, you obviously listened to a clueless person's opinion, took it for fact, and then reiterated it through your review. That's fucking laughable, and is typical of the weak reviews on this site.

Saying Alice Donut is like a mix of The Pixies and Fugazi is like saying The Ramones are like a mix of The Beatles and The Stones. I guess the Stones and The Beatles are like the Ramones in that they're all rock bands. And I guess Alice Donut is like The Pixies and Fugazi in that they're all rock bands.

First of all, what's your problem man? I went to a show, enjoyed myself, came here and reviewed it. So I've never heard Alice Donut before. OMG, LYNCH ME! I'm a huge Pixies/Fugazi fan, so naturally when I heard Alice Donut's set, they sounded most like a mix of the Pixies and Fugazi more than anything else. Yes, I'm aware of the fact that they've been around longer than either band. My apologies for having an opinion regarding the sound of a band, I'll be sure to keep it to myself next time I review something!

In all honesty, what the fuck is wrong with you? Do you just get off on harassing people for no reason? Get over yourself.

Alice Donut's two-guitar breakdowns sound similar to that of Fugazi. Their vocals (from what I could hear - the sound was all fucked up) resembled the Pixies. I couldn't understand anything their lead singer was saying, as such I don't know any of their lyrics and can't speak regarding them.

This is what I think of the band having heard them for the first time. Perhaps my opinion will greatlly change once I listen to one of their albums, I really don't know because I haven't gotten around to it yet.

That is all.

Nick_V (October 28, 2005)

Rock over London, Rock on, Chicago.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

i hesitate to attach any homosexual referenes to his persona yet to my understanding, his bombastic proficiency at utilizing disproprotionately difficult and disparate syntax of the english script to further his quasi-futile and half witted attempts at condescension are fruitless and banal. so in conclusion, he's a mother fuckin douchebag.

and jello playing chemical warfare with the melvins is like so fuckin kool.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)


My point, fuckhead, was to criticize the review. You do not find me in the review area, and therefore it is not contingent uoponme to provide descriptions of bands. You should just depend on the astute and erudite writers at Punknews.com to provide that service.

The reviews on Punknews.com are like a high school "punk" clique meets bonehead English 101.

How's that for some critical algebra?

And you, my friend, are like a little kid meets a computer:Hilarity ensues when the Beav tries to handle a newfangled, high tech invention while Wally and Eddie make wry comments.

Go ahead, rise to my bait...

you're gay right?

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

"To the poster below me....
through your 19 paragraphs of bitching & moaning, you never once offered your own opinion of what exactly Alice Donut do sound like, making your rant absolutely fucking pointless."

My point, fuckhead, was to criticize the review. You do not find me in the review area, and therefore it is not contingent uoponme to provide descriptions of bands. You should just depend on the astute and erudite writers at Punknews.com to provide that service.

The reviews on Punknews.com are like a high school "punk" clique meets bonehead English 101.

How's that for some critical algebra?

And you, my friend, are like a little kid meets a computer:Hilarity ensues when the Beav tries to handle a newfangled, high tech invention while Wally and Eddie make wry comments.

Go ahead, rise to my bait...

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

Haha, his rant down there just made him sound like a pretentious assclown.

Oh heavens forgive the poor smuck who's never heard of the band before and isn't familiar with the whole style the band plays yet has to try and describe what the band sounds like to people who've never heard of Alice Donut before but still, at the same time, has to please the obsessive holier than thou pricks who always proclaim their mightiness of knowing a high quality review over some low grade pedestrian review.

Who would have thought that people hold such stiff and strong demands on the reviews here at punknews? How dare these reviewers here at punknews, who aren't professional writers, be so careless as to just describe bands as sounding like bands that most everyone knows about with total disregard!!

How dare they just simplify it than to dig deep and explain in fifty paragraphs as to the complex structure at which this band draws its detailed sound along with the deeply rooted influences from specific bands and the scene around them!!!

rkl (October 28, 2005)

To the poster below me....
through your 19 paragraphs of bitching & moaning, you never once offered your own opinion of what exactly Alice Donut do sound like, making your rant absolutely fucking pointless.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

Alice Donut sounds like a mix of The Pixies and The Melvins???

My friend, you obviously listened to a clueless person's opinion, took it for fact, and then reiterated it through your review. That's fucking laughable, and is typical of the weak reviews on this site.

Saying Alice Donut is like a mix of The Pixies and Fugazi is like saying The Ramones are like a mix of The Beatles and The Stones. I guess the Stones and The Beatles are like the Ramones in that they're all rock bands. And I guess Alice Donut is like The Pixies and Fugazi in that they're all rock bands.

NWA is like The Sugarhill Gang meets Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five.

The Dillinger Escape Plan is like the Circle Jerks meets DRI.

Get a clue or quit trying to act like you know anything, kid. Your laughable and inept descriptions did nothing to describe the band. If critical algebra (Band X Band Y = Band Z) is the best you can muster, just quit.

Yes, I'm criticizing the, ahem, critic. One might think that the reviewer would have enough preexisting information about the event/bands to offer up some kind of relevant information.

The White Sox is like the Cubs meets the Cardinals?

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

I think Mouth Sewn Shut is Bill & Will from Toxic Narcotic's new band (side project).

jamespastepunk (October 28, 2005)

*Dumb

jamespastepunk (October 28, 2005)

Why didn't they play Dump Punk Kids?

Jesse (October 28, 2005)

I fucking love the Melvins. Hands down.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

No band can properly cover a Willis song. I doubt even Jello can do that man justice. Rock on Chicago.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

Shit man, you are the luckiest man on earth. That Jello/Melvins album has been in my player forever. And Alice Donut?!? Who could ask for more? Why doesn't this lineup go on tour with the Fleshies?

kenjamin (October 28, 2005)

I was going to see this tour in philly but neither my roommate or I had a car at the moment and neither of us could afford the train. 25 bucks round trip!! Fuck you Septa, Fuck you NJ transit! Why is it called public transportation if the public can't afford it? We demand social justice mr. Biafra.

greenerton (October 28, 2005)

Yeah, he stage dived twice. Fucking hilarious.

Rock 'n' Roll Mcdonald's was amazing.

TheOneTrueBill (October 28, 2005)

never mind, i guess my internet explorer kept this page from when i first opened it.

TheOneTrueBill (October 28, 2005)

Where did half the reviews go?

joeg (October 28, 2005)

jello stage dived? he's pretty heavy dude now, isn't he?

jamalxbearings (October 28, 2005)

Wesley Willis, amazing.

Dante3000 (October 28, 2005)

Yeah...That's what I'm talkin about! Bat Fest, be prepared to have you face ripped off...I love jello...Esspecially orange...that's the shit.
-Dante

joeg (October 28, 2005)

i'm seeing this in 2 weeks. now this is as close to seeing the dead kennedys as i'll ever get.

TheNightProwler (October 28, 2005)

They need to do a full scale US tour, I don't think they've ever come to Chicago yet to do a show.

maverick (October 28, 2005)

Holy shit, they covered Wesley Willis? Please tell me someone recorded this.

-Scott

TheOneTrueBill (October 28, 2005)

I wish I was there.

Anonymous (October 28, 2005)

Nothing like watching some overrated Punx Rawkahs

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