Following postponement of their dates a few years earlier due to injury and the pandemic, Dead Boys are finally back on the road with a fresh new lineup that consists of Jake Hoyt (vocals), Cheetah Chrome (guitar, backing vocals), Monk Burris (guitar), Sam Harris (bass) and Michael Maysonet (drums), with Hoyt hailing from Oakland, California and the remainder members from Las Vegas.

They opened their explosive set on the band’s 1977 first and best known single, ‘Sonic Reducer’, from their infamous ‘Young, Loud and Snotty’ debut studio album that has secured its place in esteemed punk rock history; its dark guitar reminiscent of bands that came after it such as the Dead Kennedys, because Dead Boys were the punk rock pioneers and now with the stubbornly death resistant Cheetah Chrome still at their helm as “the last man standing” from that era they spearheaded, combining the glam wave of the New York Dolls with the raw power of The Stooges and The Dictators.

With their show coincidentally being on Valentine’s Day, the band continued to play from their debut album with its range of love songs, including ‘What Love is’, with Chrome’s slick bluesy guitar, which was also audible in their second album ‘We Have Come for Your Children’ track, ‘Flame Thrower Love’. Although there were sound issues throughout the set, Dead Boys persevered and moved onto another song from the same release, ‘I Won’t Look Back’, with drum rolls and chord contrasts. The dual high and low tones of ‘Not Anymore’ also featured Chrome’s guitar fretwork and Hout crowd surfing before the band played a currently unrecorded song, ‘So Sad’, with undulating guitar playing, a track that will feature on their forthcoming new album.

The set climaxed on the second album with ‘Son of Sam’; Chrome, Burris and Harris lining up to play an extended interval to the song around Hout’s screams. In the same way the band repeated this with the debut album in ‘Down in Flames’; the clatter of drums and heavy metal guitars making this a kick-ass live experience. After paying tribute to departed frontman and original Dead Boy, Stiv Bators, the band ended their set on the windy comedown of ‘Ain’t it Fun’. Short but sweet, this tour marks the beginning of a new chapter of live and recorded activity that breathes new life into the original punk rock legends.

14/02/24: Dead Boys @ The Underworld, London.

Photos © E. Gabriel Edvy/Blackswitch Labs.

© Ayisha Khan.