8th March 2012
Review by Viki Walden
Photography By Sabrina Dersel
The brief and hardly-known support acts for Killing Joke didn’t excite or pull in much of a crowd until The Icarus Line, but even with their sleazy, fun, high-energy rock and roll which definitely got punchier as their set progressed, the crowd still weren’t particularly receptive. For age-old, die-hard Killing Joke fans this was no place for bands of a new, hip flavour.
As time grew closer to the legends’ performance the floor of the Roundhouse was flooded with a sea of people, so tightly packed no one could choose where to stand- for a mid-week gig the turnout was impressive –but Killing Joke are a band with loyal fans. From the outset the video projections made it clear what the band are about- fuck the system: the images of riots, demonstrations and the EU flag signified their anti-capitalist alternative stance.
For beyond ‘alternative’ Killing Joke are hard to place (Despite the general acceptance that they are ‘post punk’)- their harsh guitars and pounding drum rhythms strike the ears like the sounds of Industrial-Metal maestros Ministry, while their melodies and pace at times feel much rockier.
Mix this with the post-punk sentiment that echoes through Jaz Coleman’s lyrics and you understand why the band have had such a wide appeal, for a such an age- it is their x-over sound that makes them so unique, which is why they still stand the test of time.
Coleman, as ever, managed to mix his bizarre and comical robotic movements with an almost ethereal and serious tone to every inch of his performance. The set was comprised of modern hits like Majestic, with its repetitive rhythm and powerfully political lyrics- which still ring true 6 years after the song’s release.
The harsh distortion and anger of another modern classic, This World Hell reminded fans of the ‘Joke’s’ darker edge, yet there was still something strangely euphoric and hypnotic about the performance, whether it was Coleman’s body or the pure concentration of the rest of the band I don’t know, but you could soon spot the crowd jumping wildly, yet in a unified movement like they were the wave to break a far too peaceful ocean- hypnotised by the riffs they’d been longing for all evening.
Of course, the ‘Joke’ didn’t disappoint their dedicated fans and played classics such as Requiem, War Dance and Millennium, even if they did tease by saving War Dance for the second encore.
If that wasn’t enough…and if you thought they weren’t going to play ‘it’ (I think anyone who has ever heard of Killing Joke knows what I mean by ‘it’) and had started leaving the auditorium you soon, like hundreds of others swarmed back into the arena to hear the absolute finale of ‘Love Like Blood’- a lullaby compared to the majority of the band’s back catalogue, but their true classic and a perfect end to an astounding show.