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Dead Kennedys: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84

August 28th, 2010 4 comments

Even though it arrived a few years late in terms of my obsession meter (I kinda lost interest in anything after Plastic Surgery Disasters), this was a big deal for me. In my Grade School-to-Jr. High transition from what I thought of as “New Wave” (Devo! B-52’s!) and “Punk Rock” (Sex Pistols! Ramones!), the Dead Kennedys clearly represented the next step into my emerging sense of “Hardcore”.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Dead Kennedys 11-04-84

On a summer trip up to New Jersey in 1982 my cousin Bobby had made me a series of punk comp tapes filled with the heavy hitters of the day: Flipper, Fear, Black Flag, D.O.A., and so on. There wasn’t a loser in the bunch really, but the band I initially found myself returning to (mostly on the strength of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables) was the DKs.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

Everything about them fell into place for where I was at: their melodies were catchy, their lyrics were intelligent & witty, the art was cool (check halfway down on this page for Winston’s Smith’s very kind response to a gushing fan letter I wrote him when I was 13), their politics jived with my already established views — the whole package just worked for me.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

In June of 1983 I had been living in Oklahoma when they had played the Kansas City VFW, but since everyone I had ever talked to raved about that show my already-bound-to-be-high expectations were now jacked all the way up. Part of a memorable week, the Saturday night show was sandwiched between my first viewing of Eraserhead (Friday at SUA with my pal Doug Redding) and the grim likelihood of Ronald Reagan’s second administration (Tuesday nation-wide and mostly a foregone conclusion). The gig was obviously also pretty high on to-do lists all around the Midwest, and the Lawrence Opera House was super packed with curious first timers as well as the faithful.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

After opening performances from the Micronotz and the Crucifucks (N.O.T.A. didn’t make it), the Kennedys’ set found them working through a number of tunes that would eventually turn up on their Frankenchrist LP. Sadly (as you’ll hear), though the energy was pretty high all night there were rampant microphone and mix issues throughout much of the show. With a set clocking in at about an hour and twenty minutes the band certainly delivered the goods however, and as you can tell from these killer pics snapped by Greg Blair the crowd ate it up.

Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair Dead Kennedys 11-04-84 Photo ©2010 Greg Blair

I have a lot of scattered memories here, so I’ll just run over a few of them and then get to the good stuff:

• Finally getting all of the “Jello acts like a mime” references I’d read in live reviews of the band.

• Getting so excited during “A Child and His Lawnmower” that I would be able to lay claim to “first stage dive of the night” (shoe-loss averted thanks to this also being the “first night I ever wore Converse high tops”)

• Seeing more people hanging out on the sides & back of the stage than ever before (just like those photos of big LA shows from Flipside!)

• Leaving my tape recorder in the hands of my friend Gil Bavel (I was up front for the whole set) and being aghast that he decided to sully the purity of my recording by asking various people “what they thought of the show” (in retrospect: kinda funny. You’ll hear it.)

• The mic totally dropping out and Jello trying to get the crowd to sing along to Holiday in Cambodia (the results were better in the room than what you might be able to glean here.)

• Interviewing the very patient Mr. Biafra & Mr. Flouride after the gig with my chum Pete Haney (who asked the better questions by far). Unlike every other interview I’d done so far this was in a room full of people I had never seen before hanging on his every word. I guess I’d never really seen that kind of “holding court” before.

Okay! On with the show!

Room 101 #7 - Jello InterviewRoom 101 #7 - Jello InterviewRoom 101 #7 - Jello Interview

Room 101 #7 - Jello InterviewRoom 101 #7 - Jello Interview Room 101 #7 - Jello Interview


Photos ©2010 Greg Blair


Dead Kennedys: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84 (192 kbps)

01 Intro (1:18)
02 Take This Job And Shove It (David Allan Coe) (1:25)
03 Hop With The Jet Set (2:09)
04 Dear Abby (1:21)
05 Terminal Preppy (1:30)
06 When Ya Get Drafted (2:08)
07 Soup Is Good Food (4:10)
08 This Could Be Anywhere, This Could Be Everywhere (5:49)
09 Chemical Warfare (3:34)
10 Mtv Get Off The Air (3:46)
11 A Child And His Lawnmower (1:00)
12 Jock-O-Rama (6:23)
13 Kill The Poor (3:17)
14 Macho Insecurity (2:06)
15 Police Truck (2:41)
16 We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now (8:01)
17 Forward To Death (1:11)
18 Bleed For Me (8:10)
19 Nazi Punks Fuck Off (0:59)
20 Let’s Lynch The Landlord (4:22)
21 Pipeline (Chantays) (2:36)
22 Holiday In Cambodia (6:36)
23 I Fought The Law And I Won (Bobby Fuller Four) (2:25)
24 Moon Over Marin (4:45)


The Crucifucks: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84

January 11th, 2009 3 comments

Doc Dart: I’d like to thank all you creeps for not showing up at the Kansas City show. A lot more fun without ya.

As befitting the popularity of headliners the Dead Kennedys, there were just a ton of people at this show. As you might well imagine, this meant that in addition to the regulars and enthusiasts of the day there were also an awful lot of casual curiosity seekers in attendance. Casual curiosity seekers whose casual curiosity was no doubt somewhat extinguished by the shrill, whiny and nasally off-key vocals of one Mr. Doc Corbin Dart, the frontman for unadvertised openers The Crucifucks. I saw plenty of hands-over-ears.

On the other hand if you’re like me and you enjoy Doc Dart’s vocals, well then you’ll just find a heap to champion here as they were mixed puh-lenty loud (though maybe not as loud as that Batman loop they started their set with). The lyrics were probably all-too-easy to discern as well, and they were famously some of the most negative and sensationalistic you could encounter at the time (and ultimately a component of some band division, check out Mark Prindle’s Crucifucks review page to read the original guitarist’s take.)

Despite the somewhat mixed reaction (and the fact that my tape ran out after only about 15 minutes) I can attest that the Crucifucks did indeed put on a fine live show this night. In fact I’d say that one of my most vivid memories for the entire evening was when Mr. Dart and his neon animal print shirt stumbled off to the side of the stage and vomited (something I gather he did with a bit of frequency at the time). Showmanship!

Note: As previously mentioned and as represented on the flyer & ticket stub posted below, the Crucifucks were a late addition to the bill and were effectively taking the place of N.O.T.A. (who cancelled and were instead added to a Hüsker Dü show booked for the Lawrence Opera House a month later.)

Ticket Stub (sans Crucifucks)
Click to enlarge

Flyer (sans Crucifucks)
Click to enlarge

Here’s the flyer from that Kansas City show a month earlier that the creeps didn’t show up for:

Oct 6th Crucifucks show at the VFW#18 in KC, MO (sans creeps)
Click to enlarge


The Crucifucks: Live At The Lawrence Opera House in Lawrence, KS 11-04-84 (192 kbps)
01 Similar Items (4:09)
02 I Was/Go Bankrupt And Die (3:08)
03 The Mountain Song (1:32)
04 Hinkley Had A Vision (1:41)
05 Legal Genocide (1:41)
06 Washington (1:55)
07 Oh Where, Oh Where? (1:36)
08 Resurrection (Incomplete) (0:17)