The first time I saw The Dead Milkmen was a free show at USF in 1991, I believe. Back then, I knew every word to every song and had to be dropped off and picked up by a parent (thanks, Mom!). The last time I saw The Dead Milkmen was this past Saturday at a little rock club (Brass Mug) in a shopping center with an Army surplus store, and I still remembered (almost) all of the words. [Words by Marci, photos by Chris.]
The show kicked-off about an hour-and-a-half late, with three local openers crammed into the opening slot — Nerds Raging, The Scurvy and Dead Cat Lounge. There were lots of cover songs, ranging from GG Allin to Adventure Time, and costumes or themed outerwear ranging from a robot to a luchador with mask and serape to a dude in a skimpy muscle suit, and a referee who apparently had bladder control issues.
It was incredibly hot by the time Dead Milkmen took to the stage. Every window in the joint was completely fogged up and every person who squelched past me left a sweat trail on my arm that would thrill Gil Grissom. I'd squeezed my way up to the edge of the pit, with a nice two-person human shield in front of me, and was glad I thought ahead when they launched immediately into the energetic stomp of “VFW (Veterans of a Fucked up World).” I was also pretty relieved that they didn’t suck. In fact, the band sounded fantastic.
I haven’t given their newer material more than a few cursory listens, so I wasn't familiar with a handful of songs, but for the most part, the Milkmen stuck with earlier cuts that kept the crowd going crazy, balancing material from a forthcoming album and continuing to reward our patience by digging into the older stuff we all know and wanted to hear the most. When they started playing “Nutrition,” I went ahead and took out my earplugs, and then enjoyed listening to everyone sing along to “Punk Rock Girl.”
Frontman Rodney Linderman seemed impressed with the crowd and returned to deliver an encore that he alleged was unplanned. Does he say that to every city? I don’t know, but he was clearly having a blast and pulled a girl out of the crowd to help him on keyboards, though she seemed far more interested in selfie-ing the experience that really soaking it up and taking part in it.
Rodney had mentioned his desire to go to The Castle as he chatted with fans during the interlude to “Bitchin’ Camaro,” so we offered to take him there after the show. Unfortunately it didn't happen, since it was stupid late by the time he finished chatting and signing autographs, but hopefully the Milkmen will come back to Tampa Bay and he’ll have another chance...