The term “oldies shows” is generally used for acts from the ’50s and ’60s, but at this late date, the three major acts on this Palace bill qualify, regardless of their beginnings as late ’70s semi-revolutionary punk bands. The headlining Dead Kennedys, San Francisco’s premier punk act, is the most oldies-esque of the lot, though the band is tighter and sharper than ever, moving from punk classic to classic from “Forward to Death” and “Winnebago Warrior” at the beginning of their show through the inevitable closer “Holiday in Cambodia.”
Back in the day, hectoring lectures and rants from original front man Jello Biafra would bring shows to a screeching halt. His replacement, Dr. Know vocalist and former child TV star Brandon Cruz, just sings, wriggles and stage-dives and leaves the backing trio, anchored by drummer D.H. Peligro, to do the work. As has always been the case with hardcore punk shows, the “pit” is as much a part of the show as the band or music, and the Dead Kennedys whipped the 75% young male audience into a frenzy, especially on “Police Truck” and “California Uber Alles.” The typically poor Palace mix rendered Cruz generally inaudible and hurt his performance on the band’s one ballad (and best song), “Moon Over Marin.”
Their equally venerable openers fared just as well with a crowd that could easily have been their own bratty kids. For Fear — with singer Lee Ving plus three new faces playing their misogynist rants as capably as the old fellas ever did — the set’s stylistic highlight was the group’s roadie falling hard onstage while retrieving a flying flannel shirt. The Dickies have their original singer and guitarist and motored through most of their 1978 A&M debut and then some, with a likeable, Ramones-ish feeling throughout. Their “Silent Night” was charming.