Sunday, October 17, 2010

Jello Biafra and the Gitmo School of Meds: fucking amazing

What a fucking magnificent show. I always enjoy the Subhumans more with an appropriately appreciative crowd - I've seen a few gigs where the discrepancy between how good a band they are and how small an audience they've sometimes drawn in this city was painful enough that it kinda ruined the show for me, however good their performances were. They were fantastic last night, though, playing to an enthusiastic moshpit and doing cookin' versions of "21st Century," "War in the Head," "Behind the Smile," "Moving Forward," and all three of their biggest hits, "Fuck You," "Slave To My Dick," and "Firing Squad." I felt happy that a few punks who might not have seen them live lately got to appreciate how great a band they are - including Jello, who made a comment later about how he never thought he'd SEE the Subhumans again. I was happy for him that he did.

Jello, meantime - I mean, jeezus. In one of the quotes below he contrasts himself disparagingly to Henry Rollins and Iggy Pop, but even Iggy has called a halt to his stage diving. Contra his routine in the Dead Kennedys days, Jello didn't launch himself off the stage at all when he played with the Melvins here last, so I assumed that was a past phenomenon for him, too - but he went into the pit three or four times last night, never missing a word, the first time being during the Schwarzenegger'd version of "California Uber Alles" (the first Kennedys' song he did, though the night also included versions of "Let's Lynch The Landlord," "Holiday in Cambodia," "Too Drunk to Fuck," "Bleed For Me," and - most delightfully - "Police Truck," one of his best-ever songs. (He also did versions of, I believe, every song on the new album, briefly even allowing himself to be upstaged by the very, very sexy Ani Kyd, who did backup vocals on "Pets Eat Their Master" and one as-yet-unrecorded song; she wiggled like a burlesque dancer in her highly fetching nurses' outfit and was a most pleasant addition to the lineup). I was actually kinda shocked at how much energy Jello put into his miming and performance - he really does seem to be revitalized and tireless; and his between-song rants - about a Canadian Business article designed to "greenwash" the horrors of the tar sands, about the evils of torture, and the craven nutlessness of Camp Obama for not going after the Bushies - were as lucid and clear-thinking as I've heard from him. One fan in the audience commented to me that Jello was "smarter than Noam Chomsky," and while I don't think I'd go THERE, he's sure a lot more entertaining to watch in action... An amazing night; thank you, Mr. Biafra.

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