Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine
Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine

Jello Biafra and the Guantanamo School of Medicine @ O2 ABC2, 9 August

4/5 stars
Event review by Chris Buckle.
Published 12 August 2011

For those fond of syncopated, ultra-taut snare skin, Bronto Skylift deliver; in an unceasingly loud set, Iain Stewart’s forceful fills resound loudest. Despite the early slot, they make sure they’re impossible to ignore, though sometimes it would be nice if the punishing jams levelled out for more than a bar or two at a time – all that rhythmic turbulence is enough to give a listener heartburn.

As is P6’s customary get-up of pig mask, butcher’s apron, and a grimy aura that’s equal parts sleaze, banterful rakishness and theatrical malevolence. While DeSalvo have a habit of wrong-footing the uninitiated, the old-punk network encircling the stalking frontman isn’t shy about making its appreciation known.

It only takes two tracks for Jello Biafra to commence tonight’s numerous between-song micro-lectures, with David Cameron and Vodafone the first under the lens. Later, Utøya, Tottenham and Piers Morgan (the latter labelled “fascist scum”) are wrapped together in his forceful flow, but, as always, any sacrificed nuance is superseded by righteous fury. The Guantanamo School of Medicine back their volatile vanguard expertly, whether storming through their own material (Three Strikes, Electronic Plantation) or cuts from Biafra’s prior glories. Obama-baiting updates keep California Über Alles enduringly punchy, but, as Biafra himself notes with disappointment, it’s the ireful satire of Police Truck that resonates most with the UK’s unfolding headlines. Its surf-rock sting ignites the room, while an encore featuring Holiday in Cambodia sees the indefatigable rabble-rouser miming and gurning to the end.