Suicidal Tendencies - Live at the Olympic Auditorium DVD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Suicidal Tendencies

Live at the Olympic Auditorium 📀 (2010)


In 2005, the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles was purchased by the Korean-American Church, the Glory Church of Jesus Christ. Since the site was a crucial breeding ground for California punk and hardcore in the early 1980s thanks to Gary Tovar and Goldenvoice Productions, the venue as it was known had a fitting farewell for its final show: Venice's legendary Suicidal Tendencies.

Before the live footage even begins, frontman Mike Muir recalls the Suicidal Tendencies' formation and history. From recounting being voted "biggest assholes" in Flipside magazine to their dedication to not following any specific punk rock dogma or style, Muir primes the viewer for the ensuing spectacle.

With Muir in his trademark bandana and baggy clothes, the band representing all races and playing their unique blend of punk, thrash, funk and hardcore, the Suicidal Tendencies are certainly true to their ideals of "no rules." Muir's stage presence is striking, as he espouses anecdotes and life lessons like a motivational speaker, and just as importantly performs as well as ever despite that many of the songs were written over 20 prior.

The song selection is interesting in that while almost all the hardcore punk fan favorites are present, there is little representing the band's metal years of How Will I Laugh Tomorrow When I Can't Even Smile Today, Lights...Camera...Revolution!, and The Art of Rebellion despite being their highest-selling albums. In their place, though, are the more timeless cuts like "Two-Sided Politics," "Institutionalized" and "I Shot Reagan." Bassist Steve Bruner slaps out the head-bobbing intro to the immortal thrash anthem "Possessed to Skate," while Muir sounds ageless on "War Inside My Head" and "I Saw Your Mommy." In between songs, Muir gives a shout-out to Rodney on the ROQ for being the first DJ to play ST over the airwaves, and stresses the importance of doing things your own and doing them for yourself. The camera work isn't terribly well done (it's sufficient but lacks the close-ups one might desire in a live performance video), but the audio sounds terrific and the band is as tight as ever.

Even though it took five long years to come out, Live at the Olympic Auditorium is worth the wait. For those who have never had the chance to "get Cyco" at a Suicidal Tendencies show, or even for those looking to see punk rock immortality give a proper send-off to a beloved venue on their first ever DVD, this release is an enjoyable documentation of both.