Maybe the greatest tribute you can pay a live album is to think to yourself, "I wish I'd been there." Live at the Deaf Club
is precisely that kind of live album. Recorded in San Francisco in March 1979, this is the DKs
at their peak as the short sharp-shock punksters with brains as well as attitude -- not to mention a sharp collective sense of humor. Fronted by legendary smart-ass agitator Jello Biafra
, this five-piece Dead Kennedys
lineup (Jello, East Bay Ray, Klaus Flouride, and Ted, with guitarist 6025
playing his last gig with the band) blazes through a mighty set that includes such killer material as "California Über Alles," "Kill the Poor," "Holiday in Cambodia," and the surreal encore numbers "Back in the U.S.S.R." and "Viva Las Vegas." There's also a previously unreleased track, "Gaslight." Plenty of atmosphere and sizzling repartee, this is entertainment and punk history in one neat, sweetly subversive package. You'll wish you'd been there.