“There is something I have to point out, that the guys in the band have got a sick, black outlook on this. They will hire people for a job that they know they can’t do, so they can watch the whole thing fall to bits. And when it comes to support bands, we have had a very ancient and hallowed tradition of choosing bands that our audiences absolutely hate. This has been going on since 1981, since we started this and we have seen people being gobbed at, throwing cans at and all this stuff going on. It’s good sport. So the best of luck boys.” (laughing loudly)
So it was with great interest that we had decided we would have a closer look at the support bands and see whether Jaz’s prediction of them falling flat on their faces was correct. The first band to take the stage was the American band out of Seattle, Washington; The Crying Spell. The first thing you notice about this band is that they are visually very easy on the eye. Vocals and frontman Len Hotrum looks like a cross between a young David Sylvian (Japan), Billy Idol and Simon le Bon (Duran Duran). Their sound is pop/rock and Hotrums vibrating though clear voice reminded me a lot of the stuff I used to listen to in the 80’s, but with a contemporary edge, excellent beat and visually interesting. This is a good tight band that we have definitely not heard the last of. Well done guys.
The second band to enter the vast stage was The Icarus Line from Los Angeles. Frontman Joe Cardamone, reminded me of a young Iggy Pop and by the look of his moves on stage and the sound of the music, I don’t think I was wrong in assuming it to be his intention. I’ve heard them described recently as a bit of a cliché but that’s rock n’ roll. They describe themselves as a hardrock band, but there was nothing metal about them, although they are loud and have a washed out guitar sound and stringent vocals. Cardamone stripped to the waist, and cavorted around the stage, with attitude, howling vocals, and spell binding performance. They left the stage with the guitars on feedback….
The assessment Jaz made of the support bands falling flat on their faces and not being in taste with what their audience likes, turned out to be wrong this time. It was a much appreciated warm up that got the audience, which consisted of 80% males, in the right mood for the main attraction. Killing Joke have a new album, titled MMX11, released on April 2nd, this tour is very much about the new material.
Jaz Coleman takes to the stage dressed in a dark black overall. His jet black hair and artistically painted eyes seem to burn as he looks into the audience. It makes for an exaggerated and almost grotesque representation of himself. He looks like a dark, shaman wizard that would scare you shitless should you be unlucky enough to meet him in a dark alley on Halloween. I felt as if I was attending an occult ritual, as the first cords sound from Geordies guitar. Geordie seems so calm and moves in a stoic contrast to Jaz’s intensity. Big Pauls drums beat loudly and rhythmically in unison with Youths bass as if they are musically at one with each other. The sound is so loud I feel it beating into the very core of my body, almost to a sense that it borders on pain. My heart tries to fall in with the beat of the music but fails, I end up feeling breathless and in awe.
Jaz’s movements on stage are reminiscent of an 80’s robotic dance and at the same time his stringent, harsh voice belts out the lyrics precisely with an intense feeling for each song about what it means and what lies behind the lyrics. Killing Joke are confrontational performers, releasing demons in a musically turbulent but precise manner. We are treated to songs from the new album such as ‘2012’, which tells of the end of a cycle and the end of the world as we know it, coming this December. ‘Rapture’ sends the audience into a nodding, jumping frenzy. Killing Joke speckles their performance with a few of their old songs, but the new material is so good they needn’t have bothered with anything else.
‘Fema Camp’ is about the American concentration camps and is delivered with the intensity of anger that mirrors Killing Jokes dislike of what the world is accepting without protest. We are also treated to ‘Pole Shift’, which tells of the shift in the earth’s magnetic field. One after the other the music comes as a dark ritualistic wall of sound that is pure energy. The audience become more and more enthusiastic and move in the rhythm of the sound. The encore includes my personal favourite ‘Love Like Blood’ and we leave the Academy feeling sweaty and tired and totally satisfied that Killing Joke delivered the goods once again.