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Suicidal Tendencies - Live at the Olympic Auditorium

by Kevin Wierzbicki

It's been quite a chore for fans of Suicidal Tendencies to find hard copies of any video footage of the band lately; their 1991 VHS release Lights Camera Suicidal has been out of print for a long time and they have never put out a DVD until now. So it's like manna from punk-rock heaven that Live at the Olympic Auditorium, shot way back in October of 2005, is finally being released. The show was a special one for the band; it was the last rock show held at the venue before it was taken over by a Korean-American church group and ST was determined to send the auditorium out with a bang. Almost half of the set list is comprised of tunes off the band's self-titled 1983 debut with "I Shot Reagan" leading the way; many in the crowd probably have little idea about who and what singer Mike Muir is raving about in the song but they sure can relate to the tune's head banging intensity even if they don't remember the president. Fast and furious is ST's modus operandi but that doesn't mean they don't mix the sound up a bit, from early Sabbath-influenced numbers like "Subliminal" to the grunge-y "I Saw Your Mommy" to the Red Hot Chili Peppers-like punk-funk of "Tear it Down." It's not listed on the DVD packaging but about mid-concert the band performs a bluesy take on "Send Me Your Money," a parody of the fundraising efforts of television evangelists. Muir has a ball strutting the stage, hamming up the bit of satire and making occasional sly nods to the fact that the Olympic will soon be a religious venue. The show's highlight is the next to the last number, the oldie and fan favorite "Institutionalized," a song that uses humor to chronicle the all-too-serious subject of teens being literally driven crazy by overbearing and clueless parents. The show closes with a lengthy pep talk from Muir about how "suicidal" actually means "you can do it;" a suitable preamble to set closer "Pledge Your Allegiance." A long time coming but Live at the Olympic Auditorium proves to have been worth the wait.

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