show review

The Dead Milkmen @ Cleveland Public Theater 11/2/13

Lisa Sanchez
Main stage at Cleveland Public Theater (Sanchez 2013)
Let me tell you about the most magical show I've ever attended. A venue filled with Sharknadoes, aliens from various universes, sex dolls, super heroes, and Large Marge from "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure", and let me assure you, she has not aged a day since 1985. This is just a small example of the costume-inspired wonder that personifies the 5th Annual WCSB Halloween Masquerade Ball.

The Halloween Masquerade Ball was held at the beautiful and historic Cleveland Public Theater on Saturday, November 2nd. It's nice to see that Cleveland party-goers take the stance of stretching out Halloween for as long as possible. Put those costumes to good use Clevelanders! The event featured punk-rock legends The Dead Milkmen along with other local heavy-hitters, including Kill the Hippies, Party Plates, and rock-veterans Numbskull.

The environment was electric. People traveled hours across state lines to attend the 5th Annual WCSB Halloween Masquerade Ball just to see The Dead Milkmen play. Godzilla was playing on the Cleveland Public Theatre's domed ceiling. Vampires, cowboys, and lumberjacks were all drinking PBR. How can you cultivate a higher sense of community than everyone milling around waiting to see the same band, mildly buzzed on low quality beer, while wearing gallant costumes. None of the attendees, myself included, could have expected what was to come next.
Get a load of Large Marge! (Sanchez 2013)
Although all of these aspects combine together to make one sweaty, maximum-capacity barnburner of a party, the greatest part was yet to come. Just before The Dead Milkmen were supposed to take the stage the lights went off and people went nuts. Then, after an extended period of sweltering darkness it began to dawn on concert-goers that this was not a sensation-heightening special effect. The power had gone off on the entire block. The Cleveland Public Theatre's fans were no longer spinning. Godzilla had left the building. Chaos was imminent.

From the middle of a very large crowd I could see a man (mostly indistinguishable considering there were no lights) talking and gesticulating wildly. I figured he was trying to tell everyone to shut the fuck up because the power was out. After attempting to use my deeply-buried super-human hearing, I instead opted to make my way to the front of the stage where I made a mind blowing discovery.

The crazy man swinging his arms and yelling was none other than Rodney Anonymous, the lead singer from The Dead Milkmen. It was only then that I realized that the band had decided to perform sans electricity, armed only with a single snare drum. The band went on to play some of their well-known favorites like "Punk Rock Girl" which was sung in unison by the first few rows of people.
Rodney Anonymous entertains crowds during the blackout, while some kid puts his phone in the way. (Sanchez 2013)
After five songs Rodney Anonymous jumped from the stage and ran through the middle of the crowd leading people outside like Moses. Anonymous even waited at the door and talked to every person who left the Cleveland Public Theatre. Many people outside were heard saying the concert was "very Cleveland" by just taking a shitty situation and making the best of it.

Although the performance was not ideal, many people seemed excited just to be at the show. One concertgoer who drove from Pennsylvania to see the show, Garrett, 24, coined the show "The Dead Milkmen unplugged...accidentally.” Garrett, a long-time Dead Milkmen fan, said that the show was definitely worth the drive and that he understands something like this would happen to him because his entire life is made up of accidents. Overall, no one burned the venue to the ground and the overall atmosphere seemed relatively satisfied.

I’d like to say, kudos to The Dead Milkmen for rocking the stage with no damn electricity. Their tenacity and spirit showed through on that darkened stage. Instead of disappointing hundreds of fans they did what they could and still impressed me and many more people. This is an older band that new acts could certainly take a lesson from; never let your fans down, just yell until your vocal chords collapse.