Saturday, October 09, 2010

Killing Joke live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, Oct. 8, 2010)

Shortly after 11 the black-clad jester takes to the stage and starts his whirling mad dance with a gleeful grin on his face. The first notes of "Tomorrow's World" from Killing Joke’s 1980 eponymous post-punk manifesto vibrate the air and Jaz Coleman starts shaking in sync with the primitive beat, while welcoming the Gatherers to the maiden Athenian Gathering that is finally a reality. It’s been three long decades in the making, but it’s certainly better late than never.

All four original Killing Joke members are on Gagarin 205’s stage along with a new guy who’s manning the keyboards. Jeremy "Jaz" Coleman with his booming voice is the center of attention in the role of Master of Ceremonies - Preacher - Mad Jester; Kevin "Geordie" Walker, to his right, is the epitome of cool with his amazing ability to nonchalantly unleash the most lethal guitar riffs with seemingly minimum effort; Martin "Youth" Glover with his white unwrinkled jacket is pacing in front of the drums or stepping up to the left mike to add backing vocals while providing foundation-shaking basslines, and "Big" Paul Ferguson lets loose relentless, tribal rhythms with mechanical precision whilst also contributing vocals.

 The ceremony proceeds with Killing Joke’s most commercial moment from the '80s, the unusually melodic and dancefloor friendly "Love like Blood", followed by "In Excelsis", a first taster from their latest album "Absolute Dissent", which is the reason for bringing the band back on the road. Unlike many bands that reunite just for the cash and offer nothing more than nostalgia for the good ol' days, Killing Joke are back because they have something new to say. And tonight they say it with 8 of their latest tracks off their 13th album, a work that’s characterized by the same fire and passion that was present from day one, when Killing Joke were coming out of London’s post-punk scene in the late '70s and unleashing their seminal debut some 30 years ago - an album that is also heavily featured in tonight's set with no less than seven out of its nine tracks.

Apart from set opener "Tomorrow's World", we are also treated to stunning renditions of "Wardance", "Bloodsport", "Change", "Requiem", "The Wait" and "Complications" from the first "Killing Joke", while the '80s are also represented by early single "Pssyche", "The Fall Of Because" and "Madness" from "What's This For?", and "Eighties" off "Night Time" with its Nirvana-inspiring riff. Highlights from the new album included "The Great Cull" and "Fresh Fever from the Skies", while "This World Hell" with its relentless industrial-speed metal beat is their latest track that’s most likely to make Metallica green with envy. New single "European Super State" on the other hand is a joyous call to arms which encourages the "proud descendants of Plato" (Jaz is pointing to us as he sings it) to rise up and get their country off the hands of bankers and big corporations (“when food prices are going up and wages are going down, what do you do?” he asks rhetorically between songs). The band’s second eponymous album from 2003 is represented with the thunderous "Asteroid", while the '90s (not their best period) are remembered only by the mighty "Pandemonium" which brings Killing Joke’s triumphant first appearance in Athens to a close after an hour and 45 minutes. My only, minor, quibble? No tracks off "Fire Dances", one of my all-time favorite Killing Joke records, as I was telling you before.

Set list:

1. Tomorrow's World
2. Love Like Blood
3. In Excelsis
4. Wardance
5. Absolute Dissent
6. Bloodsport
7. Change
8. European Super State
9. This World Hell (Die, Long Pig!)
10. The Fall Of Because
11. Ghost of Ladbroke Grove
12. Madness
13. Requiem
14. Eighties
15. The Great Cull
16. Fresh Fever From The Skies
17. Asteroid
18. Depthcharge
19. The Wait
20. Pssyche

21. Complications
22. Pandemonium

Killing Joke - The Wait, live @ Gagarin 205 (Athens, Oct.8, 2010)


Anonymous said...

Nice review. Intimate closeup video from Killing Joke's October 4, 2010 show in Prague on youtube:


The Wait:


Fall of Because:

In Excelsis:

This World Hell:

Anonymous said...