Punk Online

KILLING JOKE (Live in Leeds)



It’s been almost thirty years since I first saw Killing Joke live and then, and every time since they have failed to disappoint. After the recent release of their exceptional album ‘Pylon’ I thought it was best to dust down the “What’s this For?” t-shirt and head to the Student Union building in Leeds to see if they can still deliver the unique KJ experience.

Queuing outside the fog had descended as if on cue and the scattering of punks chatted to one another about the earliest date they could remember seeing Killing Joke. A lot less Mohican’s and spiked hair than those heady days (in fact, a lot less hair full stop) but it is still great to see the same people have never lost touch with the punk movement.

And so to the show – a good crowd gathered in anticipation and finally Paul Ferguson took to the drums, Reza Uhdin behind the keyboards, Geordie meandered over to collect his guitar and Youth, looking splendid in his white jacket and matching tennis style peak cap, picked up the bass. Finally Jaz emerged in his all-in-one ‘prisoner’ boiler suit complete with “J Coleman” across the breast pocket.

And then it began. The crescendo of noise that can only be Killing Joke, the tribal songs that have spanned thirty years and the inevitable growls and stares from front man Jaz Coleman.

The crowd were subdued during the opening couple of tracks but when the band launched into ‘The Fall of Because’ there was no return. ‘Eighties’ came next and the mosh pit erupted – this was taking me back to days I thought were well and truly behind me.

From there on in it was relentless, a fantastic mix of new stuff from ‘Pylon’ as well as the inescapable “classics” of yesteryear.

If you don’t have a copy of ‘Pylon’ do yourself a favour and get it now. The live versions did not detract and both ‘Autonomous Zone’ and the incredible ‘I am the Virus’ sent the crowd delirious. The guitar riff throughout ‘Delete’ is a relentless background noise that is just so addictive and was one of my highlights of the set.

Wardance’, ‘Requiem’ and the final song of the set, ‘Psyche’ sent shivers down my spine and the Joke left to a standing ovation only to return with another ‘mini’ set including ‘Change’ and their biggest “hit”Love Like Blood’.

Another standing ovation, an ecstatic looking Jaz (as ecstatic as he gets) shakes hands with Youth as the band leave the stage. This was stuff to behold, Killing Joke sounding as good today as they did in ’82.

Gaz – Punk Online

N/b Read or review of ‘Pylon’ here>>>