Paul dubecho at gmail.com
Sun Dec 2 15:28:21 EST 2018


By Simon Heavisides  on 14 November 2018

[image: killing-joke.jpg]

To watch Killing Joke take to the stage is like seeing the Mount Rushmore
of post punk assemble before your eyes. Masterful drummer who can switch
from tribal power to fluid subtlety on a dime, or a penny if you prefer,
guitarist carving arcs of controlled noise from the air, always precise
never gratuitous, bassist driving beneath it all with just the right amount
of space around the notes, and a singer for whom the term is woefully

Think for a minute about the unique nature of Killing Joke’s position in
the messed up musical environment we live in now. Here you have a band
celebrating, in their own way, the fortieth anniversary of the year they
arrived blinking into the world. Remember that world? In case you don’t,
1978 saw us in a paranoid state where nuclear oblivion seemed genuinely
possible sooner rather than later, no wonder the music was tense. Now,
where are we today...? Tragically an environment perfectly suited for
Killing Joke, now wonder they called this the, ‘Laugh at your Peril’ tour,
ho, ho. The word vindication comes to mind when you consider that back in
their early days some critics spoke of KJ in mocking tones, writing them
off as nothing more than cartoon doomsayers, who’s laughing now the cartoon
seems to be coming to life?

It’s hard to listen to songs such as Wardance or Follow the Leaders without
wincing at their desperate topicality, of course you could say KJ were no
seers and that everything comes around again eventually or that maybe this
is how it always is in some form or another right down through history, I’m
not buying that though. In the alternative you can simply surrender to the
noise and revel in the fact that you are watching the original line up of a
band that absolutely never became its own tribute act, unlike many of
their, often worthy, contemporaries. I can only think of maybe Wire who
come close, but of course their line up has changed almost inevitably.
Tonight we see a display of those many vigorously blended influences that
early in their career attained a purity of sound few bands could match,
even as that sound shifted and reconfigured over the years and through
amended line ups.

There’s something almost comforting about drowning in this vortex of
beautiful noise, the precision as each element locks in and plays it’s part
is a wonder to behold. No one member seems to dominate or lead, despite
clearly being capable of doing just that. Presumably the result of hard won
band maturity. New songs and old come and go, Autonomous Zone, from most
recent album Pylon, with its undulating bass kick, right back to The Wait
from that far off debut album, Paul Ferguson’s drums rising above the
unstoppable forward motion. It all has a purifying effect, after ninety
minutes it feels as if you’ve had a mental exfoliation. And for the record
I do like it when Jaz sings as much as he growls which probably puts me in
the lightweight end of the spectrum but hey, who cares?

Killing Joke are the musical equivalent of the lone soldier, left out there
in the jungle still fighting the war that everyone else thinks is over.
Only they were right and everyone else was wrong: the war never ended.

Dancing at the end of the world never felt so good.
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://pairlist4.pair.net/pipermail/gathering/attachments/20181202/154d500b/attachment-0001.html>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: killing-joke.jpg
Type: image/jpeg
Size: 74927 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <https://pairlist4.pair.net/pipermail/gathering/attachments/20181202/154d500b/attachment-0001.jpg>

More information about the Gathering mailing list