Pledge Your Allegiance
Suicidal Tendencies
at the Astoria 2, London, England
June 2nd, 2000

by: Paul Schwarz
Suicidal Tendencies hadn't been in the UK for eight years previous to this show, and though I have only been waiting half as long for the band to return to these shores, if you include the years before they reformed, I was nonetheless itching to see what these hardcore heroes could do in the live arena.

A similarly expectant, and to my eyes a surprisingly youthful crowd welcomes seasoned vet (and sole original member for a long time now) Mike Muir and his current crop of talented cohorts to the small stage. Suicidal have evidently neither been forsaken by those who missed their heyday, or those who stuck with them through to their original 1994/5 break up. Nearly two decades in music don't seem to have taken much of a toll on the ever animated "Cyco Miko" as Suicidal energetically tore through a set comprised centrally of their beginning (_Suicidal Tendencies_), middle (_Lights... Camera... Revolution_) and end (_Freedumb_, to date), though they drew from pretty much every record in their catalogue. Muir was inimitably "Cyco". His performance was rife with dynamic posturing, unashamed grooving about the stage and often incoherent and manic stage babble juxtaposed with positive, message-ridden tirades on how to live life. His focal persona was completed by his basketball player-like appearance, knee-high socks in classic Suicidal style and -that- bandanna. Muir's focality was not, however, to make up for his bandmates, who each had their own visual character which blended with the whole picture. All members meshed together to make the stage an ever-fluctuating source of activity, which pumped up the music of the one and a quarter hour set immensely. The likes of "Fascist Pig" or "I Want More" (which tonight was stylishly preceded by a funk-styled jam) may be seventeen years old, but Suicidal belted them out with the exuberance such that you'd think they just scribbled them down in the van five minutes before. Such was Suicidal's exuberance that I can even forgive the over-abundance of self-glorifying anthems in this evening's set; though choosing numbers like "Pledge Your Allegiance", "Join the Army" or "We Are Family" over better tracks on their respective albums does warrant comment, it did not spoil Suicidal's otherwise relatively well-chosen set. Suicidal were fun to watch live, rife as their performance, or more specifically Muir's, was with tongue-in-cheek humour, goofy, accentuated stage poses and great music: from the hard and fast likes of "Two-Sided Politics" to the funky, grooved up bounce of "Send Me Your Money". However, any laughing, out loud or otherwise, was with Suicidal, and not at them. Tonight's performance reeked of a statement of intent; a measuring stick by which to measure the performances of today's metal and hardcore bands. And few that I have witnessed match Suicidal in both power -and- charisma.

(article submitted 12/8/2000)


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