This past Saturday, the Catalyst was moshed to the point of near collapse because the Dead Kennedys rocked the house harder than any band at the Catalyst. With a combination of the pent-up energy exerting from the crowd and the stacked line-up to make any punk fan envious, including Reagan Youth, Anti Social, and the Defenders, I walked out the door of the Catalyst witnessing the best concert I’ve seen so far.
The one surefire way to tell that a crowd is excited for a punk show is by how early on in the show people start to mosh. The amount of moshing a crowd does never seems to go down in intensity over the course of a show but will exponentially increase with every band after the first mosh. Now, the crowd at the Catalyst was starting to mosh at the first song of the first opening band, the Defenders. The Defenders are a throwback to early 80s bay area punk/hardcore made by veterans of the scene. They’re straightforward, no BS punk rock that gets a mosh pit moving.
The second opener, Anti Social, were definitely more politically driven, but that didn’t distract from the insanity that went on that night. The guitar player and bassist would regularly walk to the opposite side of the stage to share a microphone and nearly topple each other over with so much energy. They’re anti-cop political message throughout they’re set also helped let out a lot of the pent up aggression in the crowd.
After Anti-Social and The Defenders, the legendary New York hardcore band Reagan Youth graced the stage. Although the band has been through a few line-up changes since their formation in 1980, they still rock as hard as ever and know how to hype a crowd playing their collection of pop classics. The lead singer especially was all over the place in the best way possible. HE was bouncing around from end of the stage to the other and eventually would find himself crowd surfing a couple times while performing.
Then, the event everybody was waiting for, the Dead Kennedys performing onstage. Going in to the show, I was a bit apprehensive because the band was without the lead singer that was one of the main faces and voices for the band for so many years. However, once they took the stage, I was too hyped and excited to care, as was the crowd. The inner high-schooler in me that was listening to Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables day in and day out came out of me as I bobbed my head to Police Truck, Holiday In Cambodia, California Uber Alles, and every other song you’d want to hear from the sacred cow of the Dead Kennedys discography. The drummer, D.H. Peligro got so into his drumming that it looked like the cymbals were hurting him every time he reached out his stick to hit one while hitting the drum to the point of almost breaking. The current lead singer, Skip Greer, did a great job in between songs hyping the crowd with satirical banter before exploding like a neutron bomb on stage. A personal favorite bit of mine that he did was incorporating Kill the Poor into Donald Trump’s platform of making america “great” again. Although Klaus Flouride and East Bay Ray might be the most grandpa looking guys to play punk rock that night, they still played the songs with so much intensity where sweat was coming out of their tucked in, button down shirts. Despite the band being almost 40 years old, the songs played that night still seemed scarily relevant to the world of today.