DK Kennedys/River City Rebels - live in Albany (Cover Artwork)

DK Kennedys / River City Rebels

DK Kennedys/River City Rebels: live in Albany

live in Albany (2002)

live show


2.5
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....