Killing Joke

Killing JokeKilling Joke
Fonda Theatre
Hollywood, CA
By Lucky (SugarBuzz Hollywood)
Photography by Mila Reynaud

It rained tonight, fitting weather for image expect. All creatures great and small, in all format and select, came to worship, for the apocalyptic lords hath arrived. Killing Joke ended their 2013 west coast soirée with large circumferential in Hollywood Killing Jokethis night.  I read somewhere the founding members, when gathered at Paul Raven’s funeral, bonded over the importance of the Killing Joke enigma machine. A rebirth of the original occurred, and it was this entity that we were able to bare witness.

Ten become thirty as they compelled the wait. Patience was awarded with darkness and the haunting strains of Vangelis. The crowd erupted like spectators in the Coliseum as the curtain drew and we gave ourselves, mind, body and soul, over to the beast. Lured in by synthesis we were held captive as Jaz Coleman approached and Geordie’s true to form guitar patent flared “Requiem”. Youth’s throbbing heartbeat and the plummet of Big Paul was cause for us to dance, delight and erupt the word. Truly repose for the soul, a requiem for the masses.

Fanfare ignited as Jaz took a moment to share historic. Seems Killing Joke has been blessed with thirty five years and Coleman instigated the crowd into singing “Happy Birthday” to theKilling Joke band. Smiles and laughter all about as Youth stated that when Killing Joke started, they couldn’t stand being in the same room together, but there they were, all together again.

Time capsule tripping; Killing Joke presented “Turn to Red” albeit in a heavier live fashion than the familiar pseudo dub, in fact so industrial in strength, it perhaps proved to be unrecognizable at first, at least to me. Jaz held his hands high with eyes wide open perhaps sending telepathic impulses to our fragile eggshell minds.

Jaz shouted “Wardance” as his vestment and faux facial stitchery made not so subtle statement. Primitive and pulsing, “Wardance” lay a heavy hand, picking up and placing down in tribal bedlam fashion. I was so close to the stage, I felt Coleman’s gaze upon me almost to an uncomfortable proportion as bottom end hit bone.

The churn of the Geordie’s slapback proved atmospheric as “European Super State” marched forth-with. Laced with politico underlined convictions, “ESS” was championed as Jaz looked about, perhaps wondering if the majority get it, or not. Many found themselves jumping about in a repetitive display as the palpitation of the beat took hold.

Sublime delirium engulfed the venue as “Madness” took control. A calling out of sorts, Killing Joke’s pulsating hyper drone sent us past the brink of sanity, whirling and twisting. Hypnotic repetition had me mesmerized, unable to sense those around, closing in.

“Beautiful Dead” crept forth and then sprung upon us with the force of Big Paul’s heavyKilling Joke hits. Jaz looked up high, as if seeking some unseen guidance, and then down low, as if to pass the wisdom to the minions beneath, making us a channel of his acumen. Aggressive mixtures of resonating tonal patters pleased.

Excitement in its absolute purist form exuded during the onset of “Empire Song”. Intensity and mayhem permeated as Jaz’s blitzkrieg sonant barraged and goaded. We became reactionaries with reason, feeding off sounds and visions.

The serene strum of six string segue into feverish foray as “Chop Chop” hit the block. The bellow of Paul’s thunderous tom toms literally shook the foundation of the Fonda; as Killing Joke sounded like an industrial machine of create. Spectators shook in spastic proportions and I knew it was just a matter of time before bedlam begot.

Strange observation occurred as I was striking unseen objects in the air, purely carried away with jolting instrumental and idiosyncratic foray of “Sun Goes Down”.  What exactly was I doing? Jaz appeared drenched in blue, then red, then white, as the minimalistic lighting fluttered causing visual snap shot imagery.

My fears of “Eighties” sounding dated were unfounded as Killing Joke tweaked it with ferocious tempo and added aggression, making it perhaps futuristic (2080’s anyone?). It was a staggering blow that came and went at a rapid pace.  Of course the crowd sang along, perhaps because this song once flooded the airwaves and dare I say is a signature song forKilling Joke the band.

Last I looked around, this have gotten worse making “Money is not our God” more relevant today than ever. It occurred to me that even I have fallen deep, as I sang along to the words that hit so close to home. “So busy trying to make a living, I forgot about living”. Anger engulfed and I projected upwards, side ways and into the melee. “Is your answer yes or no to these painful truths?”

A turbulent tornado touched down as Jaz tried to blot out the world with “Whiteout”. Geordie stood ready, generating unworldly surreal mixtures of modulation.  I found myself bonding with those around as we uproariously cried “Whiteout! Whiteout! Whiteout”! The crowd swelled, moving left to right, right to left, and I was caught in the tide.

Jaz taught us well, “You are the earthquake generation, and we have written a song for you, it’s called Asteroid!”  Yeah, Angelinos more than not.  Hurling right at our faces, Killing Joke dug in deep and delivered the onslaught with accentuation on “Asteroid”. The center of the venue went from mosh pit to killing field, partakers be damned. The worst offenders wereKilling Joke two young girls from France that I had met prior to the set, showing no mercy.

Lesson learned, beware the puppet masters, permeated resistance as Killing Joke hit hard with “Corporate Elect”. Jaz’s pushed well beyond, actuating the crowd. Geordie’s subtle ferocity and cavernous hollow-body harmonics plummeted.

Jaz monstrously cavorted about during “The Wait”, appendages emulating claw like, grasping forehead, as if some stunning realization or alarming factual seized his intellect. Hard and heavy thud like plunder from the entwined bass and drum saturated.

With a stellar intro of gargantuan proportion, “Pandemonium” gave repose, perhaps calm, before I was swept up once again in the emotional gathering. Paul sounded off and it was on. I was flooded with the euphoria one experiences, I suppose, when an all time favorite is experienced live and under such exceptional circumstance. The final curtain drew near.

Jaz took a moment to pay homage to fallen brethren Paul Raven as I just stood in awe. Rejoicing in “Love like Blood” and its heartfelt rendering, I noticed Geordie and Youth exchange glances, then wild eye as audience appreciation was abundant.

Pounding his heart to signify, Jaz helped evoke “Change” with the poetic repetition of metrical patterns that served to divideKilling Joke the songs message into segments. Joined together by unseen force, we moved as one.

“Death and Resurrection Show” fanned our flames of discontent with hellacious layers of pitch. My senses were beginning to blur as I was attempted to hold on to some sort of sane. It seemed that Killing Joke could sustain beyond, precise and indefinite.

Alas, all things must pass as Killing Joke closed the night with “Pssyche”.  Jaz stomped and clenched, consummate and in command, he overwhelmed with glorious respect. The loudest sound of all followed, that being utter silence as we stood stunned, trying to apprehend all that was placed before us.