Fun Fun Fun Live Shot: Jello Biafra & Guantanamo School of Medicine
Dead Kennedys frontman: still seething
By Greg Beets,
10:00AM, Sat. Nov. 8, 2014
Blue skies and agreeable temperatures did little to temper Jello Biafra’s vitriol Friday afternoon. His voluminous fount of hardcore polemics can’t be separated from the now historic emergence of Reaganism, but modern times continue to provide ample fodder for the template.
Following a warning squall from Victim’s Family guitarist Ralph Spight, the former Dead Kennedys frontman bounded onstage grinning and pantomiming with all the cracked enthusiasm of a Three Stooges short. Opener “Strength Through Shopping” served up a breakneck lambasting of consumerism, while “John Dillinger” compared its titular subject to the scot-free banksters responsible for the Great Recession.
Though unabashedly left, Biafra’s never been doctrinaire in his skewering of American society. On grounds not far from where Senator Barack Obama electrified a crowd of 20,000 in 2007, Biafra unfurled “Barackstar O’Bummer,” a laundry list of failed promises that concluded with a middle finger to bumper sticker liberalism.
“Drink your latte,” he hectored. “Oprah-in-Chief will do the work.”
Not surprisingly, Dead Kennedys chestnuts drew the biggest audience response. “California Über Alles” summoned an old-school mosh pit. Biafra took on the guise of Gov. Rick Perry to sing “Kill the Poor” by cloaking his “Fuck the Tea Party” t-shirt with a suit jacket. He finally went shirtless for “Holiday in Cambodia,” feigning a hooded prisoner being executed.
Following shout-outs to Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, Biafra parted with the deep red state crowd by saying, “Don’t give up.” Words that could’ve just as easily been spoken in 1984.