Killing Joke played Brixton Academy – one of the best live shows of the year and the band really at the top of their game . Svenja Block was there to capture this most mysterious of bands (and their supports, Membranes and Death Valley High in full flight) and our correspondent jotted down 10 thoughts on the band whilst getting lost in the ‘mesmerising and dangerous wall of sound…’
1.The shamanic power of Killing Joke aligned with their intense raw power is like a glimpse into the heart of the primal power of what punk rock really was before all the distractions.
2. Jaz Coleman’s rhetoric may have once seemed quaintly ‘mad’ to some people in the lazy old days but now now sounds like news headlines. It’s hard to dismiss his calls of impending doom and apocolypse as rantings when they are part of the perma-war of modern times.
3. Like the best long term bands there is something very futurist about the band still. Mixing electronics and dance undertow has always been part and parcel to the band DNA and makes them feel like a future – if there is one!
4. Like characters in some superhero comic, the band still look like larger than life versions of themselves. Like they are carved from some kind of spectral granite, the four key members of Killing Joke have spent decades becoming even larger than life versions of themselves. Jaz Coleman is out of the builder suit tonight and into a black suit that makes him look like an apocytpic wild eyed visionary preacher man , Geordie a stoic east European riff general, Paul Ferguson delivers an intense pounding and Youth is out of the white suit and into a bizarre get up of silk kimono, druid beads, wild dreads and plastic visor that he makes, somehow, make looks perfect.
5. Yet another band from the punk and post punk era who are the top of their game musically and performance wise and packing out the big venues to prove this.
6. The band sound monolithic – this was an hour plus set of that huge 21st century apocolypto Spector wall of sound and it there is no respite – like Swans you have to be prepared to go with this trip – the sheer volume and avalanche of sound and heavy groove is meditative.
7. The new album, Pylons, is a fantastic piece of work – a huge wall of sound – like the aforementioned Spector wall of sound but a 21st century Tsunmai version, full of end of days visions – a colossal work.
8. Geordie’s guitar still sounds like corrugated iron – it’s a unique thing. The sound is the engine room of Killing Joke – it defines their whole personnae.
8. The rhythm section’s pounding, tribal funk is still the number one heavy groove machine. It may be heavy put it’s built around the human heartbeat and the desire for the ritual dance – nowhere is there anything as mundane as a 4/4 and it’s their heavy groove that sets them far apart from their contemporaries. With Killing Joke you also get the sulphur whiff of genuine danger. This is heavy stuff – god -death – end of times – war – conspiracy and redemption and yet, somehow, they turn it into a weird and very heavy pop…
9. This really is a gathering – a global come together of long term disciples who have placed the band pretty much central to their lives and love the madness and unpredictability of it all as much as the mesmerizing music.
10. Jaz Coleman sum sit up perfectly id set when he intones between songs …”It looks like the ‘Time of Man’ is coming to an end. It’s time to Drink and Fuck”