Killing Joke + Turbowolf @ 02 Institute, 9th November 2018

Turbowolf entered the stage creating great intrigue amongst early birds to the show. Lead singer Chris demonstrated great showmanship throughout the set and even addressed all photographers in the pit with a smile and a nod.

‘Cheap Magic’, a groovy, psychedelic/experimental rock tune settled the crowd in and got heads going early. Comparisons can be made with Royal Blood’s prominent bass sound. ‘Ancient Snake’ picked up the pace with more prominent rock’n’roll feel to it, while still retaining the psychedelic vibe.

Another highlight was ‘A Rose to the Crows’ in which the riffs got heavier and the drumming reached heavy metal heights. I strongly recommend this song to anyone who has never heard the band before.

Overall I really enjoyed their set and the band looked confident and happy onstage, with the frontman Chris not afraid to head-bang along.

The room quickly packed full before Killing Joke came out, with a few blokes in the room loudly chanting Jeremy’s nickname ‘Jaz’ quite loudly. They came out to a great applause and straight into ‘Unspeakable’ (1981), with it’s droning synth work and almost tribal drumming. Jaz spent this song raising his hands to the audience and eccentrically staring while shimmying from left to right.

‘European Super State’ (2010), a newer one from their massive back catalogue stretching all the way back to 1980. The heavy political nature in their lyrics can be compared to punk but the overall style is more like King Crimson; rock with industrial/psychedelic elements that comes across as satirical.

Jaz Coleman took the time out to thank Birmingham for packing the room out and referred to the terrible state of the world at the moment in regards to Brexit. 

‘Eighties’ (1985), one of their most popular songs, gloomy keyboard work/synth with a traditional punk vibe to it. Jaz gets a little more active onstage and the crowd love it. Geordie Walker’s classic guitar style is mesmerizing and it without a doubt the biggest contributor to Killing Joke’s signature sound. 

‘Requiem’ (1980), another great song. The beginning actually sounds like the start of a 1980s sci-fi film with the sharp hum of the keyboard over and over again. It’s hard to place this band into a box of any one genre since it has aspects of punk with Jaz’s vocals, almost shouted with yells and screams, rock with use of chords and psychedelic rock with use of keyboards/synth. Comparisons can be made with The Cure, experimental but assured. ‘Follow the Leaders’ (1981), fantastic drumming on this one by Paul Ferguson, snappy and precise with Jaz as captivating as ever. 

‘Loose Canon’ (2003) with time comes refinement, sharp riffs open the song giving it a modern, almost heavy metal feel to it, with Jaz’s vocal style getting rougher and with touches of aggression. Refrains from the guitars open for some computer generated synth which unmistakably makes it a Killing Joke song.

Ending with ‘Pssyche’ (1982), by this point Jaz is giving his absolute all, shouting along with the fans. The drumming is yet again on point. The bass is absolutely crazy in this song but it’s played with ease and finesse by Martin ‘Youth’ Glover. ‘You’re alone in the pack, you’re feeling like you wanna go home, You’re feeling life’s finished but you keep on going’, sung with conviction by Jaz. The crowd reaches it’s craziest with some jumping around.

An encore by the band gave everyone ‘A Love Like Blood’ (1985) which was cheered when the opening bassline hit. I have to admit it’s my favourite song by them after hearing it on the radio a few years back. That bassline though, so cool and very 80s with eerie vocals.

Loved it. They really have changed the music world with a seemingly endless list of bands saying that they’ve influenced them including Foo Fighters, Metallica, Nirvana and Nine Inch Nails. What a legacy to still carry.


Photos and review by Neale Hayes

About Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *