Sunday, November 24, 2013

Top gig: Dead Kennedys and the Germs, 1978

Courtesy of

In a new segment, we asked readers to reminisce about their top gigs. The most raging, eye-opening, influential outings that they've experienced. Here we go:

By David Yohn

It was Nov. 1978. I was in the Navy and had just been transferred to Mare Island, north of San Francisco.

I was in love with the Ramones and The Clash and Blondie and Siouxsie and was just digging this new band called the Sex Pistols.

One of my new Navy buddies said he was going to SF to see Dead Kennedys and I said "I'm in!" and went along.

It was my first time at The Mab. The show started out awful. When we arrived, some local band whose name I can't remember opened and really sucked. The club was hot and stinky and dirty. I thought I had made a big mistake.

Then the Germs played a short set that really peaked my attention. I knew of them from reading about them, and even though their set was short and Darby Crash was obviously stoned out of his mind, they rocked.

I had a couple beers and we waited while equipment was moved, then DK hit the stage. FUCK. They absolutely blew my socks off and I became a life-long fan. They played a long set and it was the first time I had seen so much stage diving. The pit was intense.

After that show, I must have seen them perform 100 times in every dive in the SF Bay Area and also at places like The Whisky in LA. I bought everything of theirs I could find.

I was so sad when the Mab closed. Years later, I ended up managing college radio station KSJS in San Jose and we made punk music part of the format. I was able to bring Jello Biafra to do a spoken word performance at San Jose State and took him to Original Joe's afterwards for dinner. He is an intense dude off stage as much as on! But it was the '78 show at the Fab Mab that turned me into a hardcore fan for life.

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