KILLING JOKE + RADICAL DANCE FACTION – CONCORDE 2, BRIGHTON 12.08.19
More than four decades after their inception, the original lineup of Killing Joke were back in Brighton as part of their ‘Laugh At Your Peril 40th Anniversary tour’ and the ‘gatherers’ dutifully attended thus completely filling the Concorde 2 to capacity.
Tonight was one of those special occasions and I had been looking forward to this gig ever since its announcement several months back. I was first turned on to their sound way back in 1980 when they released their ‘Wardance’ and ‘Requiem’ singles and debut self-titled album. I saw them live in Brighton a few times, Jenkinsons (with Theatre Of Hate) 23rd November 1980 and they returned to the same venue on 28th June 1981, I also attended their 15th December 1982 gig at Xtreems aka the New Regent in West Street. They were back in Brighton nearly a year later on 4th December 1983, when they performed at the much larger Mandela Hall at Sussex University. This gig was one of the best that I have ever been to, as the band entered from behind the audience with a torchlit procession right through the middle of the crowd! Talking about setting the mood or what! It was very memorable indeed. Was tonight’s performance going to be as good as their Mandela Hall gig or even their previous Concorde 2 gig on 26th October 2015?
This evening Killing Joke were a quintet live as Jeremy “Jaz” Coleman (vocals), Kevin “Geordie” Walker (guitar), Martin “Youth” Glover (bass) and Paul Ferguson (drums) were joined by Roi Robertson from Mechanical Cabaret on keyboards. I knew that I had seen Roi live before, but I just couldn’t place him on the night. I had witnessed his band Mechanical Cabaret up at The Prince Albert a few years back! Incidentally, Mechanical Cabaret are active again next month when they head around the country with Sheep On Drugs – further information HERE.
Clearly from the off, something special was going down tonight as there was a video-camera set up in the middle of the photographers pit, with about four or five little GoPro’s located at various stations around the stage. Yes folks, this evening was recorded for prosperity and will be scheduled for release some time in 2020 according to the camera operator in the pit. Fab souvenir of the night me thinks!
The venue was crammed, but thankfully it wasn’t as hot as their previous Concorde 2 appearance in 2015, where my mate was standing behind me and suddenly he fainted and had to be carried away to safety by security staff.
We were served no less than 21 slabs of neatly packed noise tonight, which is a decent number for a gig. There were a number of surprises in the set that I honestly hadn’t expected such as ‘$,O,36’, ‘Complications’ and ‘Eighties’. I hadn’t anticipated ‘Wardance’ being the second track of the night either! In 2015 it was the penultimate tune of a 19 song set. Having said that, it certainly got the moshpit going nice and early!
Surprisingly, I was struggling midset to enjoy myself as much as I should have been, as I found the reliance on five songs from their second self-titled Killing Joke album from 2003, a tad over the top. You would possibly assume that more songs would come from their rejuvenation ‘Pylon’ album from 2015, which is their current studio offering. Although pleasingly, there were also five songs culled from their debut self-titled 1980 album, which was more to my liking. However the terrific ‘Requiem’ was sadly not on tonight’s list and I didn’t expect to get their ‘Follow The Leaders’ dance number from 1981 and indeed I was correct in that assumption. We did get debut single ‘Turn To Red’ though, which was a treat.
Throughout the performance I was keeping a worrying eye on Jaz as he had collapsed during the performance of ‘Loose Cannon’ two days prior in London, but I suspect that maybe have been heat exhaustion and this evening him and the lads were downing bottles and cups as water as they went along. Not sure what Geordie had in his silver flask though! Tonight there was no repeat fainting. I guess from the bands point of view, the most annoying thing on the night being when a crowd surfer went flying head-first right onto the main camera – I feel a session of editing coming along! I can recall seeing the Human League in 2003 at Brighton Dome and they released a video ‘Human League at the Dome’ which they had to edit as Phil Oakey fell over on stage.
The sound this evening was powerful with the beat being driven by Paul’s tribal drumming and Geordie’s distinctive guitarwork and Roi’s often, not surprisingly, industrial sounding synth play. With Jaz’s shouty vein-splitting vocal delivery it was unmistakably the sound of Killing Joke – a band as popular as ever and gaining new fans across metal, industrial and punk divisions. I have to be honest and report that although I did enjoy this gig, it was not the best KJ performance that I had ever witnessed.
Let’s see what others have to say about the gig they witnessed……
Tony Smedley: “Sound was good but thought the guitar was a little hit and miss to start with but otherwise excellent . A power packed set of singles from the first album onwards ‘Wardance’ was superb, ‘The Wait’ was astounding. Jaz still prowls the stage like a man possessed – he probably is! He seemed to provide entertainment for the rest of the band who were barring initial sound issues tight as….
He pointed out the obvious inconsistencies in our beautiful city and mourned our inability to make our planet the glorious place it should be.Truly exceptional and powerful Jaz Colman captivates you and tortures you in equal measure. An underrated band in many respects who deserve a lot more respect from the likes of Jools Holland etc”.
Sonny Tyler: “Radical Dance Faction (RDF) got the party started nicely with their dub anarcho dread-a-thon. Good to see them as support to a band like Killing Joke. KJ didn’t disappoint and were gloriously loud as usual. Songs of old and new tunes were blared out and the crowd were going for it. Excellent sweaty night of war dances”.
Nick Tutt: “The gig was excellent, as they always seem to be. As a guitarist, I am inspired by Geordie and his effortless playing style and chord progressions he uses. I know his rig is quite complex but the sound he puts out is awesome. I was worried that Jaz’s collapse would hamper proceedings last night, but although he looked a little tired, he had the crowd in the palm of his hand”.
Dean Brown: Killing Joke have their own unique sound. Jaz, Geordie and Youth deliver on every level, old and new, songs sit so well together. It was a superb set and Jaz has you believing every word he says. The Concorde witnessed Joke at their best tonight….
Andy Murphy: “From when I first saw Killing Joke play live almost 38 years ago I have been hooked by their live shows and they rapidly became one of my favourite bands. The intimate settings of the Concorde 2 make their live show an even more special occasion. For me the intensity of a Killing Joke gig has not dwindled over the years and when Jaz stares into the crowd the shudder I feel go through me is chilling. Geordie still oozes coolness on guitar whilst the size of the venue means that you feel every chord of Youth’s bass and drum beat from Paul pounding in your chest. Tonight’s setlist included a few tracks not often played live which was great for a KJ aficionado and for me the highlight was ‘The Wait’, taken from their first album this prompted great scenes in the mosh pit. As a result I drove the one hour journey home in sweat soaked clothing but that in the knowledge that my adoration for all things Killing Joke is still brighter than a thousand suns”.
Killing Joke setlist reads:
‘Tomorrow’s World’ (found on 1980 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Wardance’ (found on 1980 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Seeing Red’ (found on 2003 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Autonomous Zone’ (found on 2015 ‘Pylon’ album)
‘In Excelsis’ (found on 2010 ‘Absolute Dissent’ album)
‘Eighties’ (found on 1985 ‘Night Time’ album)
‘Complications’ (found on 1980 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘The Fall Of Because’ (found on 1981 ‘What’s THIS For…!’ album)
‘Butcher’ (found on 1981 ‘What’s THIS For…!’ album)
‘Turn To Red’ (found on 1979 ‘Turn To Red’ & ‘Almost Red’ EP’s)
‘European Super State’ (found on 2010 ‘Absolute Dissent’ album)
‘Total Invasion’ (found on 2003 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Loose Cannon’ (found on 2003 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Exorcism’ (found on 1994 ‘Pandemonium’ album)
‘Asteroid’ (found on 2003 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘The Wait’ (found on 1980 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Pssyche’ (found on 1980 ‘Wardance’/’Pssyche’ single)
‘The Hum’ (found on 1982 ‘Revelations’ album)
‘$,O,36’ (found on 1980 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘The Death And Resurrection Show’ (found on 2003 ‘Killing Joke’ album)
‘Pandemonium’ (found on 1994 ‘Pandemonium’ album)
In summing up then…...‘Laugh At Your Peril’ as Killing Joke are back!
Further information on Killing Joke can be found at www.killingjoke.co.uk
Support this evening came from dub punkers Radical Dance Faction who are lead by the dreadlocked Chris Bowsher who formed the ‘extremely fluid’ outfit in Hungerford in 1986. I state extremely fluid as there has been at least thirty people passing through since their inception – nearly as many as The Fall. They were originally known as ‘Military Surplus’ and Bowsher is the only person who has been in every line up of the band.
RDF’s music combines punk, dub, and ska, with Bowsher’s spoken rather than sung lyrics atop which mainly concentrate on political issues and the like. I can see why such an act would be chosen as a support to Killing Joke as Youth’s dub vibe is no doubt a kindred spirit. The crowd that weren’t in the bar appeared to enjoy their set, but I personally was struggling with the vocal delivery endeavouring to blend in with the music.
More on RDF can be found on their website radicaldancefaction.com
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