DK Kennedys / River City Rebels

DK Kennedys/River City Rebels: live in Albanylive in Albany (2002)
live show

Reviewer Rating: 2.5

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

Here it is, the DK Kennedy's (all though everything I saw said "Dead Kennedy's") are touring... minus Jello plus Brandon Cruz. The last time they toured I was 5 years old... times were different. Regan was in the White House, the economy was in the crapper, Russia was the enemy, and DK actuall.

Here it is, the DK Kennedy's (all though everything I saw said "Dead Kennedy's") are touring... minus Jello plus Brandon Cruz.

The last time they toured I was 5 years old... times were different. Regan was in the White House, the economy was in the crapper, Russia was the enemy, and DK actually stood for something... okay, I guess things are not THAT different: Bush is in the White House, the economy is in the crapper, and terror is the next 'big enemy.' But, one big change is that (as far as I can tell) DK stands for nothing anymore... the politics are hollow, the words are empty, and the emotion is lacking. They are now no better then the next band out there... they play music, period.

With all this in the back of my mind I head out to the show, it's a good 2 hour drive (plus some additional time for getting lost). The turn out was surprisingly low, I would assume that there were about 200 kids there. I guess a lot of the punks were gun shy of the whole DK legal mess, and I can't say I blame them... in all honesty, if the River City Rebels weren't playing and if I had to actually pay to get in (as opposed to being on the guest list) I probably wouldn't have gone. With that said, I was pretty curious to see what was going on.

We got there about an hour and a half early and since no one was there yet we went to find food. We found this super weird McDonalds, I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone. Everyone was painfully nice, complete with the cop that was going table to table to say "hi" to everyone. After spending way too much money at the fast food joint we head back to the venue...

There were three opening bands, the last of which was the River City Rebels and then DK Kennedy's (or whatever).

The first two bands obviously weren't too memorable as their names slip my mind (I just got to work and it's damn early)...

So, third up are the River City Rebels. After quickly setting up the gear and doing a sound check they turned the house music back on. True to punk form The Rebels don't obey the unspoken rule of making the crowd wait an extra 15 minutes after everything is ready. With the house lights and music still playing they take the stage.

Dan grabs the mic and says something along the lines of "We're the River City Rebels from Vermont.." with that the Rebels hit into Corporate America... the drums start it out, on the fourth progression everyone kicks in with an open D... they never actually played Corporate America, they just use it as their intro...from here they rip into HATE (the first song off of their Victory debut)... The Rebels go through what seemed to be a greatest hits set list... (off the top of my head) they played; Hate, Religion, Army Boy, Military Attitude, That's The Way, Small Town Pride, Life Of A Rebel, No Good, Daddy Was A Drunk, and a couple more... This being my third total time seeing these guys (once each in a different state; CO, VT, and now NY) I knew what to expect, a punk show in the vein of 1977... It's Dan's goal to make sure you either love them or hate them and if you are not enjoying the set he will make sure you enjoy a few verbal jabs... but, with that said there are no leaders within the Rebels... they are all equals, and this leads to a great performance as everyone goes all out.

After the Rebels finish up 3 or 4 DK roadies come out and set up DK's gear and tune their guitars. At this point I have no feeling of excitement, I don't know if 5 years of punk shows has finally taken its toll, or maybe I knew the let down I was in for... whatever it was I was shocked that I was not the least bit excited to see one of my favorite bands.

After all the stuff is set up and the lights go black... DK (or the remaining members) take the stage, I didn't know what to expect. but, what I got was even more weird then my wildest dreams. They were definitely showing their age. The whole set had a vibe of a cover band. The only one that put on a good show was Brandon Cruz. He had a lot of energy and it was entertaining, but he's not even a Dead Kennedy. So, it was weird that the only person putting on a good show doesn't even belong up there...

As far as the sound, they were musically tight... I wouldn't expect anything less of a band that has been around for 24 years. Brandon Cruz did a better job pulling of the vocals than I anticipated, but it still was no where near as good. Jello brought a stage presence and a feel to DK that no one else can match... a DK show without Jello routinley putting in his political speeches is not a DK show...

They played all their bigger songs; California Uber Alles, Police Truck, Too Drunk To Fuck, Moon Over Marin, etc... when asked to play other songs they commented back "we don't know those"... at first I thought it was sarcasm, in retrospect I am not so sure. To me, if this was a whole hearted attempt at exposing a whole new generation to DK they would know all the DK songs, not just a handful of songs that will please an average fan...

After the set I was hanging around talking to the Rebels. Off to my right I see Brandon Cruz and a younger fan with DK's Give Me Convenience, Or Give Me Death LP. She is trying to get Brandon Cruz to sign it... to which he replies "I don't sign any of DK's music... it's not mine." Maybe he summed it up best... it's not his....


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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.
SaxxyRebel (May 26, 2003)

I still think the River City Rebels Own.

Anonymous (June 3, 2002)

who killed them?

Anonymous (June 3, 2002)

i kill children

Anonymous (June 2, 2002)

The best DK tribute that could exist, minus Jello of course, just played in Fort Wayne, IN. Most kids around here don't really know the DK I knew growing up listening to them. I never had the chance to see the real Dead Kennedys when they were touring, and I'm sorry I missed it. But, the show I saw kicked ass. If Jello and the boys can't work out the political bullshit, I'm glad I got to see the guys that wrote the music.....because without the music, Jello would not have had a band. Even though East Bay Ray and Clause Flouride are definitely showing their years, I think they rocked! I'm personally sick of hearing about all of the bull shit about who's suing who, and who should or shouldn't be doing DK stuff. Tribute bands for seventies supergroups do it all of the time, so why can't the original band members (yes, minus the voice and spirit of Jello)do covers of their own songs?
Darren of Pwince

Anonymous (June 1, 2002)

uhhhhh reviewer = dumb.

i would rather watch washed up idiots like DK, then some dumb rehashed River City Rebels bullshit, they fuckin blow!

Dan o Day is the biggest joke ever

Anonymous (May 30, 2002)

I'd pay to see Sticky Little Fingers. Oh and the Sex Pistols are doing some shows again, I'd pay to see that if it were under $12.50... X still tours. 7 Seconds are still incredible. Instead of talking about old bands that shouldn't tour maybe we should talk about bands like Jawbreaker that should stop playing shitty music in Jets To Brazil and play some Jawbreaker again. That would rule...

evildeadalive (May 29, 2002)

Oh yeah, I just thought of another 40 band I would pay to see; NomeansNo. Those guys still rock the house left, and rock the house right.

Anonymous (May 29, 2002)

"Who wants to pay $40 to see guys in their mid-40s play punk rock". I would. If the REAL DK got back together (which I realize is next to impossible), if the Sex Pistols toured again(even if it was just for money), if Joey Ramone came back from the dead and toured with the Ramones again. Id pay to see any of those shows, with a big fat smile on my face.

Anonymous (May 29, 2002)

this saturday there is a show in detroit called Jellorama. a bunch of local bands playing DK's shit. probably a lot better than the actual DK Kennedys show.

ludacris (May 28, 2002)

get the fuck out of here with this fake dead kennedys bullshit. wtf do i know tho, i like ludacris. oh well...

Anonymous (May 28, 2002)

You were on the GUEST LIST?! WOW!

And awesome to hear about that super strange McDonald's! Wow!


Anonymous (May 27, 2002)

Yea Cruz brought up some good points.
But it still seems like they are just out to make money. I mean the songs have no meaning anymore, and i doubt they are going to write any new ones.
I'd rather sit at home and listen to my DK cd's with jello singing like he meant it.

Anonymous (May 27, 2002)

brandon got respect from me now.

Anonymous (May 27, 2002)

I just gained some respect for brandon.

Anonymous (May 27, 2002)

I still won't go see them, cause well, I'd rather go see a more energetic band that still stands for something, but well if that was Brandon Cruz, he did make a few good points.

Anonymous (May 26, 2002)

this is brandon, the guy singing with dead kennedys. i'm glad someone posted a honest review of the gig. as far as not signing the cd for that kid, i said that i won't sign anything that biafra is on, because it's not my art. would he sign dr. know cd's? of course not. hell, i still respect the guy, i just don't agree with some of the things he has done. as far as his being a huge part of getting people aware politically and for what he did for the band and punk rock, i still respect him. i am not out there to dishonor the legacy of dead kennedys. i love the music and the words. and klaus bounces around a lot, and i haven't seen a drummer like peligro in a long time. who cares if we are over 40? since when was there an age limit? when was the punk rock rule book written? why waste your time about who is singing for a band? there are so many other issues in this world right now. why not try to make this a better place to live? that would be better.
thanks for reading,
brandon cruz

Anonymous (May 26, 2002)

The Misfits, the Sex Pistols, and DK are bands that broke up, reformed over ten years later for money, and are pathetic. In the cases of the Misfits and DK, the principle songwriter and the soul of the group wasn't part of the reunion. A band that doesn't write songs is a cover band, and that's what I consider these. Bad Religion and those types of bands aren't the same thing.

Anonymous (May 25, 2002)

The original BR was Greg, Jay, Brett, and another Jay(the drummer). The drummer left in '83 (He sucked) and no one cared. Greg Hetson joined in '83 as 2nd guitar player (And he convinced them to reform after into the unknown) so he basically is considered a original member. At least three original members have been in the band at all times.

So yeah, your facts are wrong. This situation is totally different from the Dead Kennedys as Bad Religion never broke up for 16 years.

Anonymous (May 25, 2002)

I could be misinformed but up until recently the only original BR member in the band was Greg Gaffin, and just now Brett Gurewitz joined up with them. They pretty much fall under the same category as the 'dk kennedys' but at least bad religion writes new material thats decent.

Anonymous (May 25, 2002)

All of those bands with the exception of the Damned and Sex Pistols are in their 30's. And let's not forget the Dead Kennedys NEVER did active shows, they just stood there. (Again, with exception of Jello) So why go see them without jello.

Anonymous (May 25, 2002)

bad reliion are still good, i saw them last year and they played about a 2 hour set of mostly old material, and even in thier prime they werent that active on stage. If you want to talk about a band thats pitiful to watch on stage check out the current misfits, i saw them this summer and didnt know if i wanted to laugh or cry, after a friend of mine who had seen them back in the day w/ danzig talked about them so much i was really dissopointed w/ what i saw, i left after 4 songs so i could get close for AFI

evildeadalive (May 25, 2002)

I saw the Damned a few years back and they were actually pretty damn good. And what about Bad Religion? They've got to be pretty damn old now, and they still put on as good a show as ever. 7 Seconds? How old are those guys? I saw them a couple years ago and they fucking killed. One of the best shows I've seen in my life. I also saw the UK Subs and Dayglo Abortions together and they were still alright. Dayglo being the better of the two bands though. Sex Pistols? Saw them. They kinda sucked though, even though I was/am a huge fan. I think there are a lot of bands with guys in their 40s worth seeing. DK though? Uhhh... maybe...

Anonymous (May 25, 2002)

Ah, but all those bands you listed half-ass now like no tommorow. I saw the Bad Brains in NYC recently and I almost cried. Without a doubt the greatest live band in the history of music, but now one of the most inanimate, jaded bands I've ever seen.

And let me rephrase the Dead Kennedys thing. Who would pay to see a bunch of guys in their mid to late 40's who basically stood still during shows when they were in their prime. (Excluding Jello)

The only animate band of old guys I've seen has to be the Cro-Mags. John Joseph can still do a back flip into the crowd and he's in his 40's.

Exar_Kun (May 24, 2002)

dead kennedys cover bands for $15, damn thats too much.

Anonymous (May 24, 2002)

"Who'd pay to see people in their mid 40's play punk."

I'd pay to see DOA again, and Joey Shithead has to be in his forties. Same deal with Fishbone (Who played a 2 1/2 hour set last month when I saw them) same deal with the bad brains, hell I'd probably even pay to see the Dayglo Abortions again.

Anonymous (May 24, 2002)

good review, bad dk kennedy's - bigjerk

Anonymous (May 24, 2002)

when i saw the rebels last, their set was the same. opening with the drums to corporate america and going into hate. it was good though. i saw them a year before that when ward was in the band, which also rocked my cock.

Anonymous (May 24, 2002)

Honestly, aren't the remaining members of the DK's all in their mid to late 40's? Who'd pay to see people in their mid 40's play punk.

waste_elite (May 24, 2002)

the Dead Kennedys were the greatest band in the world. i've never seen the new Kennedys but i'm sure i'd be disappointed. nobody can replace Jello; he really was the heart and soul of DK. nice review.

rickets (May 24, 2002)

Glad to see that somebody could give an honest review on this site without kissing the ass of a band who isn't even that good anyway. Solid review, I commend you Andrew.

Luzzew (May 24, 2002)

Very good review, it is helpful to me as the DK are coming to my town within the next few weeks... I was already apprehensive about seeing them without Jello, but now I am sure that I will not.... it just won't be the same...


deepfrybonanza (May 24, 2002)

I just saw them last night in Virginia, and apparently I saw a different show than you guys. The Rebels were good (certainly better than their records, which are far too dumbed-down and sing-songy), but the DKs blew them off the stage. Though Brandon doesn't have the same vocal range as Jello I thought he did quite well, and made up for whatever he lacked by bounding around the stage like a maniac. The rest of the band wasn't as wired, but they were certainly in good spirits and having a good time.
It's funny that Cruz wouldn't sign that LP, though; I could have sworn that before they played "Moon Over Marin" he said it was the most beautiful song we ever wrote.
I don't know if I'd drop 15 bucks again, but it was a solid show. There will be a full show review up with a shitload of great pictures next week on Deep Fry Bonanza.

Anonymous (May 24, 2002)

Thiis may majke me less punk or soemthing but I never liked the Dead Kennedys that much. They had extremepolitical standings and a few incredible songs but other than that I wasnt a huge fan. I saw them with this new guy whatever his name is. And even the songs I thought were good before were not now. Not because of less musical talent or anything but because of the lack of heart this guy puts into the vocals. He said "It's not mine" and he sure sings like it isnt. I put more heart into singing in my car than he does on stage.

Anonymous (May 24, 2002)

Did you guys see the new official DK site? Its really biased against Jello, it's not even funny. All the show reviews praise the new DK, and some idiots are even ssaying that Cruz is better than Jello. None of the reviews say anything bad about their shows(the ones that do have probably been deleted.)So basically, according to this website, the DK have never been better.

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