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Killing Joke | Live Review

The greatest band in the world playing Ireland for the first time since 2010? Yes please.

Opening the evening’s proceedings are Californians Death Valley High.

Although they describe themselves as “the mixtape to a doomsday dance party,” they’ve left out the words “Kerrang” and “2002” in that statement.

Indebted to Marilyn Manson’s brand of industrial pop, they are clearly destined to grace the pages of said rag and Big Cheese. In front of a partisan audience, they gather little momentum.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s move onto the main event.

Icy Veneer

The ponderous groove of ‘The Hum’ makes for an intriguing opener. A song about the hive mentality we face on a daily basis, it makes for an amazing opener on ‘Revelations’ and works even better live, as it captures the tension so evident in the music perfectly.

Hitting the audience with the one-two punch of ‘Love Like Blood’ and ‘Eighties’ meant that the band could spend the rest of the set delving into some of the lesser celebrated numbers in their back catalogue.

Debuting ‘New Cold War’ live (the highlight from last year’s ‘Pylon’), the song’s icy veneer carries across, and is a suitable, poignant soundtrack for the current events in Syria.

‘European Super State’ acted as the band’s response to the recent Brexit vote (I feel dirty just typing that word), but also allowed the chance for some groove.

What was so special about the setlist was that it represented the varying sides of the band’s back catalogue: from disco/dub punk (‘Turn To Red’), post punk (‘Complications’), rabble rousing anthems (‘Pssyche’), grinding metallic outlooks (‘The Beautiful Dead’) and the more streamlined version on show today (‘I Am The Virus’)

Song of the night was ‘Unspeakable’ (from the greatest album of all time). There was not a dodgy moment throughout.

The magick that Jaz and Youth often talk about was on display here, through Big Paul’s pounding tom work, Geordie’s gut wrenching guitar acts as a horror movie soundtrack, Youth’s simple but sinister bass riff and Jaz’s hectoring/questioning vocals. Absolutely pristine.

A few on the MI forum have complained about some of the post 2010 material coming across as weak on the live front (‘Dawn of the Hive’ has been singled out for this), but it’s worth bearing in mind that the newer stuff has double tracked guitars and various synths all over the place.

Trying to recreate that live can be a nightmare for and, if the sound isn’t right in one area (say the synths), then that doubles the problem.

Although the sound was pretty much pristine, it does have to be said: some of the playing was more than a little short on accuracy (Jaz forgot lyrics to ‘I Am The Virus’, Geordie’s timing was off in places, particularly during ‘The Wait’), but all is forgiven

as a five song encore brought together the varying strands of the night with the lesser known and the famous.

Certainly not the tightest gig they’ve ever played but their imperial period continues unabated.

Christopher Owens ::: 02/11/16
Pics by Colin Murdy

One Comment
  1. Great review. saw them in York last night, and the set has remained static for the week so far from what I was told. They are clearly on form, the sound was pitch perfect last night, and all seemed on top form. They are recording Brixton tomorrow. Can’t Wait……..

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