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  THE DEAD KENNEDY'S w/ The SkaDaddy's and Dr. Know  
  The Roadhouse  
  Ventura, CA  
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After an hour long drive (including a wreck with a pole at the gas station) to The Ventura/Oxnard border with half of the band Dr. Know, we arrived at The Roadhouse where the show had been going on since noon and still going very strong. A free barbecue had been going all day and cheap consumption was also available for all. This was more of a party than your typical show, since it was a benefit for new DK vocalist Brandon Cruz's mother, who recently had surgery. The club was nothing more than what the name implies, which is perfect for punk rock. The phrase for the night as well as the prevalent attitude was "it's only punk rock". You can't ask for much more for $5. Some good and some not so good music was played and heard here but it really didn't seem to matter to anyone because everyone was there for a good time. I relish events such as these when the music and the night transcends the typical pretensions present at most shows.

Everyone playing tonight used the same equipment, so the sets ran exceptionally smooth, and a new band was up before we knew it. Dr. Know, originally formed in the early 1980's by Brandon Cruz, was the first band I really paid attention to out of the many that night. They came on stage to a crowd that was growing exponentionally. Most of the bands playing had a very similar sound and this was, in fact, due to Dr. Know. The "Nardcore" sound is a form of punk that relies on old-school music and Oi! attitude full with chant-like choruses. Dr. Know founded the Nardcore scene back in the day. Now reformed, they truly gave it up in the short time they had. Ad the crowd gave every bit back. They quickly tore through each song and the crowd loved it. By the end the place was full with people and my old seat at the bar was gone, so I guess i was up front for the duration....

Local legends The SkaDaddy's took the tiny stage quickly. For the next 25 minutes the mixed up all of the different variations that ska has been through over the last couple decades, all of which they were at the forefront. In fact, No Doubt was opening for The SkaDaddy's 10 years ago. However, The SkaDaddy's still do it old school, you know, the kind of ska that makes you want to move! The horns, in my opinion, were a little shrill and brash occasionally, but overall that was the worst of their problems. . ."it's only punk rock" anyway; or, really, ska. This was definitely the least dangerous of the bands to see throughout the night. With the rude boys done then, it was on to the main event.

This was a hometown show for The Dead Kennedy's new singer, backed with original members Klaus Flouride, D.H. Peligro, and of course, East Bay Ray. From where I was it sounded, hmmm . . . LOUD. The firecode had been broken twice over by the time the band went on to play for a good half hour, fitting in many classics like Let's Lynch the Landlord, California Über Alles, and Too Drunk to Fuck. The churning yet friendly crowd did not stop throughout the set and it all genuinely seemed like fun; just as a home-town show should. Seeing the "new" Dead Kennedy's in Southern California was truly an experience . . . I can only imagine the original lineup in the Bay.

Altogether, this was a friendly show which raised money for a touching cause. Everyone at the show knew what it was for, and the atmosphere was rowdy but friendly. Indeed, the sound and setup could have been better, but it was only punk rock, and it lived up to everything it should be.

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