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Dave Lake
Dead Milkmen

Friday, May 11

El Corazon

Don't feel bad for the Dead Milkmen. Even if They Might Be Giants have had a

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Dead Milkmen Are as Bratty and Adolescent as Ever at El Corazon

deadmilkmen-rl.jpg
Dave Lake
Dead Milkmen

Friday, May 11

El Corazon

Don't feel bad for the Dead Milkmen. Even if They Might Be Giants have had a longer career (what do you want, there's only two of them that have to get along) and even if King Missile's "Detachable Penis" was a bigger hit than "Bitchin' Camaro," the Philly four-piece couldn't have seemed happier to be out on the road playing again, with their sold out Seattle show Friday night at El Corazon being one of just three on the west coast and their first time playing in this city since the mid-'90s.

Though the band looked older (read: fatter, balder, greyer), they sounded just as bratty and adolescent as they always have with their jangly four-chord punk rock songs that mix politics with satire. Singer Rodney Linderman sounds basically the same, which is probably because he never really sang much anyway. He is an excellent mouthpiece for the band, however, and he seemed shot from a cannon Friday night, bounding around the stage, pogoing, thrusting the mike into the faces of those in the front and generally serving as a first-class ringleader.

Fans seemed just as giddy to have the band back as the band was to be playing. Though the crowd was older than usual for a punk show, age didn't stop the loyalists from getting into the pit and knocking into each other (and as best I could tell, no broken hips). Linderman's only request was for stagedivers and crowd-surfers to steer clear of his laptop and keyboard on stage left. If anything happened to them, he warned, there wouldn't be any shows for a while thanks to his current economic state.

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On the best known numbers, like "Beach Party Vietnam," "Bitchin' Camaro" and "Life Is Shit," the crowd sang along at full volume like a rowdy house party, and the shouting of "anarchy!" in "Punk Rock Girl" was particularly deafening. The band also played a number of tracks from 2011's reunion album The King in Yellow, which, despite having been released 15 years after Stoney's Extra Stout (Pig), the band's last album before breaking up (and with original bassist Dave Schulthise, who committed suicide in 2004) sounded right at home amidst the rest of their material. The band played a handful of covers as well, including British singer Gary Numan's 1979 hit "Cars," which Linderman introduced as being by "Seattle's own Gary Numan," and a song called "Control" from one of Linderman's current favorite bands VNV Nation.

The band's banter was playful and fun during the set, and Linderman ranted on a number of topics, most notably Rick Santorum and Kirk Cameron, though One Direction, Lana Del Rey and drummer Dean Sabatino's interview in this very paper got a shout out. After the first encore, Linderman thanked his band -- which also includes guitarist Joe Genaro and bassist Dan Stevens -- for putting up with his many idiosyncrasies. "I'm not an easy guy to be around," he said. "And I know that."

After a second encore, the band concluded things with "The Girl Who Is Also a Mongoose," from 1993's Not Richard, But Dick, a song Linderman said the band plays rarely, if never, outside of their hometown. It was a rousing performance, and one the crowd didn't want to end, but with humidity inside El Corazon reaching near-dangerous levels -- even those not in the pit were sweating from every pore -- the cold air outside was a welcome jolt back to reality from a memorable trip down memory lane.

T's on parade: There was an excellent assortment of punk rock T-shirts on display at the show including vintage shirts from GG Allin, Steel Pole Bath Tub and D.R.I.

 
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