Scenes From Saturday Night's Jello Biafra and Guantanamo School of Medicine Show at Three Links
There was a telling moment midway through cabaret-punk band The World/Inferno Friendship Society's set at Three Links on Saturday night, when the plus-sized outfit's frontman took an informal poll of the audience that showed up to catch a glimpse of Jello Biafra & Guantanamo School of Medicine. By measure of applause, he asked how many people in the room were over 40 years. And, wouldn't you know it, damn near everyone in the sold-out crowd cheered.
Still, if anyone was there for some sort of nostalgia trip, they were at the wrong show. To wit, the ex-Dead Kennedys frontman very much lived up to his pre-show promise that he was not here to rest on his laurels. And, though he did indeed mix in a handful of Dead Kennedys cuts into the set between takes of his current band's material, much of it sounded just as fresh today as ever. By changing a few references to Jerry Brown in DK's “California Uber Alles” to Arnold Schwarzenegger and then throwing in a verse about homeland security, as the band did on Saturday, the song sounded as pertinent as ever.
For lack of a better way to put it: Biafra was just really into what he was doing from the jump. From the moment he first appeared on stage during The World/Inferno's set to waltz with the band's frontman and later, during his own set, in which he posed and pantomimed constantly (often using the mic stand as a prop to further drive home his message) and even stage-dove a couple times, there was no question he was having a blast.
While he was cantankerous as ever — before starting his second song of the night, Biafra insisted that all the televisions in the bar were turned off, and began a diatribe about what society's need to be constantly surrounded by silent televisions really says about us — his often extreme rants weren't just well-rehearsed spoken word pieces, and were largely tailored specifically for the Dallas crowd.
To that end, Rick Perry was a frequent target — not only did Biafra equate Perry to a Nazi and a KKK member on separate occasions, he also performed one pre-song rant dressed as our soon-to-be former governor. At other points, he equated the Dallas Morning News to Fox News, and the media hype surrounding Tony Romo's back problems to the Kardashians' reality TV program.
And for its part, the audience responded to Biafra's intensity and passion with persistent moshing throughout the duration of the high-energy set. It was a good thing, we quickly realized, that the bar was pouring everyone's beers into plastic cups. Getting hit with a flying can sure would have sucked.
That plastic cup concept, we hear, was the band's idea. Which just goes to show you: Despite performing with the vigor of a fresh-faced twentysomething, Saturday night's show was definitely not Biafra's first rodeo.
The Brown Lipstick Parade
Mid-East Peace Process
California Uber Alles (Dead Kennedys)
Werewolves of Wall Street
Kill the Poor (Dead Kennedys)
Hollywood Goof Disease
Nazi Punks Fuck Off (Dead Kennedys)
Pets Eat Their Master
Holiday in Cambodia (Dead Kennedys)
Too Drunk to Fuck (Dead Kennedys)
All photos by Allan Hayslip.