Is there a better intro tape than Ennio Morricone’s 'The Good, The Bad and The Ugly?' (Yes I'm sure this piece of music has a real name but if it doesn't involve Clint Eastwood then I really don't care what it is). Anyway, the correct answer is no, no there is no greater intro tape, and I don’t care how many bands use it, it never fails to set the scene. Thus it was with a shiver of delight that the Dead Kennedys would stride onto the stage to such a track before launching into ‘Forward to Death’. It soon becomes clear that Athens and The Dead Kennedys are a match made in heaven. The heavily left wing European capital screams along in glee to songs such as ‘Police Truck’, ‘Kill the Poor’ and ‘Lets lynch the Landlord’. Skip Greer’s frequent trips into the crowd cause mayhem as they surged forward to get a chance to sing along. By the time Too Drunk to Fuck is pounded out, the band have the crowd in their hands. The main set ends with a combination of ‘Nazi Punks Fuck Off’ and ‘California Über Alles’ before returning for an encore of ‘Bleed For Me’, ‘Viva Las Vegas’ and ‘Holiday in Cambodia’ There aren’t many bands in the world who can end a gig that strongly.
The 21st Century Dead Kennedys are a funny group. No Jello Biafro of course but Skip Greer does a fine job on the vocals and his stage presence is all empowering. The acceptance of relying on their back catalogue seems strange for sure but if you can’t improve on perfection? Why bother?........some would argue....... For the fans, it is surely a blessing, tune after tune after tune. Musically the band sound great and as mentioned, Greer is a fine punk rock singer in his own right, however the comic schtick wears thin very quickly. Playing the pantomime villain with lame dad jokes about the difference between soccer and American football? Really? The pretending to walk off stage was cringeworthy and the lack of appreciation for his jokes was not a communication breakdown, Athenian crowds understand English just fine, they were just horribly unfunny. Oh well, that's his thing I guess and thankfully the music always came back to save us.
Returning for ‘Chemical Warfare’, with a quick blast of Lynard Skynard's ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ and after 1 hour 15 minutes the gig was over. Long concerts are a curse on this planet and this was just perfect, well done everyone involved.
Panx Romana, 37 year veterans of the Greek punk rock scene took to the stage earlier in what can only be described as the most bizarre concert intro seen since Mr Bungle opened up their 'California' shows with ‘What the World needs now’. Wearing a mask, singer Frank Panx, gives a spoken word intro that may well have been life changing, if it weren’t totally incomprehensible to me, what with it being in very fast spoken Greek as such. When he finally stops, the Christmas decorations are lit up, the masks are tossed aside and the band crash into songs detailing their 30 year career, including their rather fine latest opus, Pax Amaricana.
A well known band of activists in their home country they took time to highlight local environmental issues (Water not Oil) and more global current issues (Rock against Racism), which all seemed to be preaching to the converted as every word was cheered and applauded. Their pulsating set saw the crowd creating whirlwinds of bodies as they crashed and moshed and sang together, another day this could have been a headlining gig for sure.
Later on, Slick Greer would be trying to be controversial by making comments throughout the evening about punk being dead. Like I said earlier, stick to singing, the songs have and will last and the mindset is thriving, you couldn’t be more wrong.