Killing Joke wait to read their review from the Glasgow gig
Killing Joke wait to read their review from the Glasgow gig

Killing Joke
Glasgow ABC
12th March 2012
live review

Killing Joke wait to read their review from the Glasgow gig
Killing Joke wait to read their review from the Glasgow gig

In 35 years of gig-going, I witnessed a first last night.

Just under an hour into Killing Joke’s set, a complete power failure ended the show. Mid-song, lights, music and presumably the beer pumps died a sudden death. Killing Joke left the stage and after ten minutes of roadies with torches, the stewards started to tell people the gig was over. Very odd.

It appears that the whole block was out. I’d like to think that KJ blew the fuses, but I’d be speculating.

Prior to this, The Icarus Line provided an entertaining and engaging half hour. The LA four-piece play a primal bluesy swamp rock with frontman Joe Cardamone a writhing, serpentine presence. His confrontational style was clearly annoying some audience members stage front but fronting them out won most of the crowd over.

Cardamone has clearly seen some Birthday Party videos if his stage persona is anything to go by, but in this age of “please like me” frontmen, he’ll do just fine.

Elder statesmen Killing Joke are in the midst of something of a renaissance.

Last year’s Absolute Dissent was a triumphant return to form after several years of half-arsed reunions and patchy albums.

New release 2012 makes up a good portion of tonight’s set, and despite the absence of crowd-pleasers, Rapture and Fema Camp are greeted like old friends by the huge crowd.

Jaz Coleman is a presence it’s difficult to take your eyes from. He prowls the stage like some psychotic preacher man declaiming the state of the nation whilst not taking himself too seriously.

Geordie Walker is quite possibly the coolest guitar player alive. He casually strokes sheets of guitar shrapnel whilst simultaneously managing to look completely unruffled by the aural carnage around him.

His guitar sound is loud. VERY loud. But then, he has some kind of effect that he adds that basically sounds like the end of the world. Oh, yeah, press the apocalypse pedal, Geordie.

For men of that vintage, KJ just simply shouldn’t sound this intense. At times, the audience look like they’re experiencing some kind of quasi-religious awakening.

A wilder moshpit I’ve not seen in years. Of course, you always get some nugget who wants to involve the bystanders, i.e. me.

A quick slap and a hard stare does the trick.

Disco metal oldie Change is a searing, malevolent maelstrom before Coleman instructs Walker to “Go get them Geordie” which he does by unleashing the crushing instrumental Bloodsport.

Another new number is blasting the synapses when the power failure hits.
A disappointing end to another immense KJ show.

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Joe Whyte is guitarist with punk rockin' Johnny Cash tribute Jericho Hill and reformed 70's punks Reaction. He has formerly played with End Result, Reverend Snakehips Country Messiahs, God-Fearing Atheists and many, many other failed attempts at rock notoriety. Joe also writes for Vive Le Rock and Louder Than War magazine. He lives in Glasgow and in his other less glamorous life works in mental health.


  1. I thought the sound was way too muddy, they didn’t seem to be “on it” either. Disappointing besides the obvious.

  2. O bad luck. I saw them in Manchester and they were great. Why is there no mention of the other support band The Crying Spell??? They were much better than the Icarus Line, in my opinion :)

    • Agreed, The Crying Spell were the best on the night. Personally I thought The Icarus Line were total & utter shite.

  3. Or you could wait until tonight and logg on to and read my gig review from the Manchester gig, which was great. We got some amazing pics……:)

  4. I thought European Super State was brilliant. I really enjoyed the gig apart from the abrupt end (and to discover that Love Like Blood was one of the encores we never got to hear. Luckily, I’m seeing them in Berlin in May. (I hope they add The Raven King to the set before then…)I was also at the edge of the mosh pit and would have found a hard stare useful on occasion :o)

  5. I saw Killing Joke ten times on their recent tour and have to agree with hardcore Gatherer Geordie Jim, when we spoke at Helmet’s recent Manchester gig, that Manchester was the best Gathering.
    He reckoned Bristol was next best but I went for Portsmouth which was total mystical shit all day s far as I was concerned! The Reqiem / Wadance encore was pue magick, best I’ve ever head those old rituals.
    Anyway I have reviewed about half of it so far on my blog and will type the rest up when time accelerates a bit less wavily…

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