Written by Samuel Barker
Dec 05, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ImageTwenty years have passed since the last time The Dead Milkmen rolled through Houston, Texas.

Right around the time I discovered the band, they shut the band down and called it a day. There was no dirty breakup, no dramatic moments, just a punk band running into the ceiling and deciding to move into a more conventional life.

They mostly kept their muses alive through various local bands in their native Philadelphia. Guitarist/vocalist Joe Jack Talcum (Joe Genaro) still hit the road now and again with bands like The Low Budgets or on solo acoustic tours. However, it was not until the death of bassist Dave Blood in 2004 that The Dead Milkmen reunited for a pair of reunion shows to raise money for Blood’s favorite charities. Genaro’s bandmate, Dandrew Stevens, filled in on bass for the shows.

For the next four years, life went back to normal for the members of the band, but in 2008, the organizers of Fun Fun Fun Fest got the band back together for another show in Austin, TX as their Saturday headliner. We were on the scene and it was great to see such a legendary band in a live setting, but deep down, I thought it would be so much better to see them in a club, like the good old days. But there was no chance of that happening, right?

Here we are, 5 years later, what pops up online, but an announcement that The Dead Milkmen would be playing at Walter’s here in Houston as part of a 3 day tour of Texas. Needless to say, tickets were secured rather quickly and the countdown began.

The sold-out audience at Walter’s was packed in and visually excited as The Dead Milkmen took the stage and set up their instruments. Despite their place as one of the most beloved punk rock bands to ever play, they set up their own instruments and without making a spectacle of their entrance, did a quick introduction and kicked into a fitting song for the night, Tacoland, which was about the beloved dive bar in San Antonio that the band once frequently played at.

From there on out, the band kicked through 24 songs at the blistering pace. Vocalist/keyboardist Rodney Anonymous (Rodney Linderman) ran, jumped and danced around the stage, sticking the microphone up to the mouths of audience members singing along. The rest of the band did their best to stay out of the way so Linderman could patrol the stage like a mad man.

ImageAll the favorites were in the set list, Punk Rock Girl, Bitchin’ Camaro, Methodist Coloring Book, Big Lizard in my Backyard and more. The whole show was a blast from start to finish. The band even threw in some new songs that have yet to be released. All in all, the band and audience poured themselves out for nearly 2 hours of music.

The final medley of Life is Shit with an addition of Filet of Sole in the middle brought it all home wonderfully.

The whole room singing “Life is shit! The world is shit! The world is shiiiittt!!! This is life as I know!” was surprisingly uplifting. When your area gets lucky enough to have a show from The Dead Milkmen, don’t blow it.

Right before The Dead Milkmen, Radioactivity hit the stage.

For those of you who remember The Marked Men, Jeff Burke and Mark Ryan are both members of Radioactivity. The band is the brainchild of Burke, who moved to Japan and then wrote songs for his band there. When he moved back to Texas, he started a new band with those songs which became Radioactivity.

I had not heard any of the music from Radioactive before the set, but by the midpoint, I was looking them up online to see what they were all about. I had heard The Marked Men before, but never knew what they looked like, so it made the set that much cooler. Definitely a band worth checking out.

In a wall of noise and distortion, Houston’s own Muhammedali opened the show. The sound was huge and the dual-drummers added to the punch, but I couldn’t help but wish there was more clarity in the songs. They did earn a spot on the future “to see” list, though.

Until next time…