With Humbert and Sandratz
Grand Central, Miami
Friday, April 11, 2014
While it can be difficult to watch certain punk outfits age (and settle into the awkward complacency that has plagued so many legendary bands in recent years), the brand of punk peddled by Philadelphia's Dead Milkmen -- rendered with snarky, subtle intellect, rather than brute force -- still sounds great after 30 years.
The Milkmen returned from hiatus in 2008 with as close to an original lineup as possible following the tragic loss of bassist Dave "Blood" Schulthise, and have since released new material and even occasionally played live shows.
Right now, the band's in the midst of a spring tour. (Well, if you can call three total dates a tour.) And over the weekend, Miami was fortunate enough to receive the Milkmen at Grand Central. They brought out the punk rock girls and boys for a night of singing and slamming to the classics, as well as some unexpected new jams.
Hialeah's favorite purveyors of off-kilter sound, Humbert, welcomed the early crowd with a dose of spacey melodic rock.
Complete with two bass players, some deft drumming, and clarinet-blowing, keyboard-mashing frontman Ferny Coipel, Humbert was as fun as ever.
Broward County punks Sandratz were next to the stage. They thrashed through the venue with a force that puts them on our short list of local punk bands to watch.
Sandratz's aggressive set tore through the tension of the crowd still settling in, though drummer and South Florida punk rock stalwart Chuck Loose did not return to the self-immolation days of Chickenhead.
Finally, Dead Milkmen took the stage, eliciting shouts and screams from a large crowd of punk fans of all ages.
The teens and 20-somethings rubbed shoulders with those that had no doubt seen the Milkmen in the '80s. Meanwhile, the band kicked off a high-energy set with "Beige Sunshine" and the audience, though still assessing the situation, was all smiles.
Frontman Rodney "Anonymous" Linderman (not to be confused with Richie Icongito, as was pointed out from the stage) hopped around in a black bowler derby and sleeveless shirt, reveling in the sing-alongs that finally kicked in during "V.F.W."
Guitarist and songwriter Joe "Jack Talcum" Genaro strummed away and smirked at the action in the crowd, which was half moshing and half screaming back lyrics.
The first half of the set was a clustered volley of classics played on top of one another with no breaks.
Though the founding members of the band are now in their 50s, they all exuded the same innate, boyish charm that made them such perfect anti-punk heroes in the early days.
Newer tracks, like "Meaningless Upbeat Happy Song" from the band's 2011 comeback album, The King in Yellow, didn't slow the action one bit, and reaffirmed that not all punk reboots have to suck. (We're looking at you, Black Flag.)
The Milkmen palled around plenty too. They gave shoutouts to Fort Lauderdale's Jack Off Jill, joked about Ian Curtis' signature dance moves, and provided the genuinely warm vibes that one hopes for when seeing a classic band that has reunited.
During "Tiny Town," a man in a Lard shirt hopped on the stage and strummed his air guitar while pogoing. He looked like a graduate of the jam band school of stage crashing.
Of course, the highlights of the Milkmen's set were vintage hits like "Punk Rock Girl," "Bitchin' Camaro," and "Big Lizard."
But the band also debuted a new song entitled "I've Gotta Get My Numbers Up" and even gifted Miami with a most excellent cover of the Butthole Surfers' "Moving to Florida."
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