London, Brixton O2 Academy (04/11/2016)Concert
New wave • No Wave • Post Punk 11/12/2016, Mark VAN MULLEM
Friday, November 4, the Brixton O2 Academy, one of London's best concert venues, hosted the Great Gathering by iconic new wave and post punk heroes and pioneers Killing Joke. Early in the afternoon the many Killing Joke T-shirts and hoodies could be spotted in the pubs nearby the venue, but the Gatherers* from near and far had to practice patience before getting totally blown away by the mighty Joke.
Doors opened at seven. From seven thirty The Membranes, Death Valley High and LX were on stage.Killing Joke would hit the stage by nine thirty with a sublime set right until curfew time (23.00).
What a grand full sound, what a setlist, combining songs from the recent album Pylon (2015), the iconic debut album, more recent killers and further gems from the early days. Jaz Coleman's vocals were great, since MMXII (2012) Jaz focusses on clean and howling, hauntin' vocals again. The band was on fire, sounding tighter than ever. A big hand to Roger 'Youth' Glover (bass), Big Paul Ferguson (drums), Geordie Walker (guitars) and Rezza Udin (keys)!
At nine thirty sharp the Joke came on stage, loudly applauded by all gatherers. This grand gig with many highlights kicked off with a haunting rendition of the eponymous The Hum: Slowly, slowly we all fall down...
Good evening! Jaz said and it was already time for the singalong of the sublime Love Like Blood. Well, it looks like the age of man is coming to end, it's time to drink and fuck, Jaz stated and an exploding and overwhelming Eighties came upon us! From 1985's Night Time (featuring both Love Like Blood and Eighties) the band went to the newest album. An impressive and breathtaking Autonomous Zone was played and then, we are all prepared for war, war is upon us, a new cold war, and a stunning New Cold War, another highlight of Pylon, followed.
Then the Pandemonium album was visited with a smashing, storming, hectic and fanatic performance of Exorcism. I had high hopes on hearing Black Moon, Millenium or Communion from the same album, but instead the band played Pandemonium in the encore, which pleased me too, of course.
What I like about Killing Joke's most recent albums such as Pylon, MMXII and Absolute Dissent (2010) is how great melodies and eighties goth pop are combined with the raw power of the debut album and the later flirts with industrial metal and metal (Pandemonium, Killing Joke 2003 and Hosannas From The Basements of Hell), a formula which also works perfectly in the live sets, proven again during the Brixton gig.
The band returned to 1980 with an awesome Requiem and a grand Change. Wow!
This gatherer was very happy with a very danceable European Super State, without any doubt my absolute favorite song from the Absolute Dissent album (2010). A song with a message that is still very actual, with jazz adding: I would like to say God bless the whistle blowers, God Bless the hackers, my lord Snowden. And then aimed at his bandmates, go on, give it to them! and the heavy dub rock of Turn To Red (1979) followed, oh my!!!
The very heavy and loud rendition of I Am The Virus fits very well with the 1980's Complications which followed immediately afterwards. With Dawn of the Hive, the Pylon album was visited for the last time and then the Joke was ready for a round of some of the finest raw oldies such as Unspeakable, The Wait and Psyche! And that was unfortunately and inevitably the end of the concert. Thank you!, Jaz screamed, thank you so much Brixton and off went the band.
After a short wait, Killing Joke returned for some encores, with a smashing The Death and Ressurection Show (from 2003's self titled metal-esque album), fanf*ckintastic; with Jaz singing and shouting Oh how ingenious the centuries of lies. Ezekiel's chariots streak across the skies. Holy books and history texts forget. Because we know. Souls are recycled in the death and Resurrection show. Yeah!
Well the war is scheduled for next year, you do know that? We are going to do a war dance!, and a manic Wardance was upon Brixton. The Great Gathering came to its final conclusion with a tremendous and majestic Pandemonium!
Focussed on the music, which of course comes first, I would almost forget to mention the lady guests on stage! Has the Joke gone soft with the addition of backing vocalist? Don't worry, yet it's all about the sexy fire eaters and breathers former Adam Ant drummer Hayley Leggs and Kelly Sandra who performed some fire dances, literally playing with fire, oh yes! It now crosses my mind that Killing Joke should have performed Let's All Go (to Fire Dances). Better luck next time?
The legendary Killing Joke ages like a fine wine, if you ask me. Througout the years and since the band returned to the original line up and surprised the world with Pandemonium (1994), Killing Joke keeps on getting better, darker and louder. The Joke's here to stay, the Brixton gig is the best prove of that, if you ask me, possibly the best Joke gig ever, definately a night to remember...
Absolute highlights in the London-set were Turn To Red, European Super State, Autonomous Zone, The Hum, New Cold War, Excorcism, The Wait, Eighties, The Death and Ressurection Show and of course Pandemonium!
The Joke is still alive, and how! Yeah!
The Gathering was both recorded and filmed, a wonderful souvenir for all gatherers, and also a great gift to absent friends.
I'll have a second meeting with the Joke during this tour on December 5th in Belgium, the last date on the EU tour, undoubtly another wonderful experience!
The Hum/ Love Like Blood / Eighties / Autonomous Zone / New Cold War / Excorcism / Requiem / Change / European Super State / Turn To Red / I Am The Virus / Complications / Dawn of the Hive / Unspeakable / The Wait / Psyche.
The Death and Resurrection Show / Wardance / Pandemonium.
(*) Killing Joke-fans are called Gatherers. The band's hometown gigs are called Gatherings. The Gathering, containing the lines "let's go to the gathering", is a song of the album Fire Dances (1983).
Mark VAN MULLEM
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