There’s Always Room for Jello

Jello Biafra. At UCSB’s Campbell Hall, Saturday, November

Reviewed by Drew Mackie

Jello-Biafra-Web.jpgStanding before an audience of mostly
twenty-somethings — an age group that would have been toddling at
the time of the Dead Kennedys, which officially broke up in
1986 — former frontman Jello Biafra gave a big thanks to those who
attended his show in lieu of watching “Lost or Survivor or whatever
else is on at eight o’clock on a Sunday.” When an audience member
explained that Lost had finished with new episodes for the year,
Biafra retorted, “Ah, a Santa Barbara education. Have
Schwarzenegger cut the budget for schools again and you won’t even
know that.” The exchange pretty much set the tone for the night, as
Biafra mixed political commentary with pop culture references much
in the way his name combines the kitschy gelatin dessert with the
short-lived African nation.

Literally the only person in the world who can put both “punk
icon” and “San Francisco mayoral candidate” on his résumé, Biafra
is a bit of a wild card. But from the moment he strode onstage with
a faux declaration of martial law, his lecture on the various
failings of American government was met with cheers and applause
from attendees.

Though he read a piece titled “Ass Clowns in Toyland,” which
indicted the Bush administration for its failings in Iraq, the bulk
of Biafra’s material consisted of Lewis Black-esque rants. Some may
have been surprised that Biafra noted nearly as many faults with
Democrats as he did with Republicans. Particularly, Biafra dinged
Hillary Clinton for supporting the war despite her liberal status
and then called Speaker of the House-elect Nancy Pelosi a “machine
politician” who looks like Jerri Blank of Strangers with Candy.

One might wonder how much use Biafra’s words were, as the
response from the audience indicated that they were already liberal
and probably agreed with his opinions whole-heartedly. All in all,
Biafra’s urgings to the audience to work for political change made
for an interesting show and welcome change of pace from the usual
S.B. events lineup.


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