Pulverising sound jolt of excitement for fans

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 09:17 17/06/2013
Killing Joke

THE JOKERS: British band Killing Joke, from left, Jaz Coleman, Geordie Walker, Paul Ferguson and Martin "Youth" Glover.

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Killing Joke

Bodega, June 14

It the first time Killing Joke had played Wellington, their first visit to New Zealand and the last night of a world tour that saw the original lineup playing the singles, celebrating the 35th anniversary of the post-punk/pre- industrial theatrical rock group.

Born in England, frontman Jaz Coleman has adopted New Zealand as a second home. He has worked with many of our musicians as a producer and spiritual adviser, so to finally see him perform here with Killing Joke satiated fans.

In the end, Killing Joke will be remembered as a band that had a profound influence on many disparate acts across the spectrum, lending something of their menace to Tool, the industrial creep to Ministry, and of course New Zealand's own Shihad called its Jaz Coleman-produced debut Churn, taking that very element of churn from Killing Joke.

But with live shows once again featuring the lacerating guitar lines of Kevin "Geordie" Walker and the throbbing, bobbing bass of Martin "Youth" Glover, there has been a visceral late charge from this original lineup - the live set a thrilling run through vintage singles such as Wardance, Rapture, Money Is Not Our God and Pandemonium.

There were huge singalong moments during Eighties and The Death And Resurrection Show, the grind and churn of the band positively electric as melody morphed into rhythm and slowly but surely moved together to pulverise the audience.

Visceral is the obvious, perhaps overused, but correct word to describe the energy and feeling.

I was shoulder-tapped by one fan, who said elatedly, "their music is just so exciting", and that seemed a fair assessment.

There was muddy sound for the first two numbers, but by Wardance we had the full, clear sound and the band's assault, no longer muted, was palpable, potent and, yes, exciting.

Jaz Coleman remains a captivating, enigmatic frontman, channelling darkness and revelling in the near-absurdity of the act as he marched on the spot, offering stiff- elbow stomps, his arms acting like pistons seemingly propelling the music. Imagine Alice Cooper cast as Harold Steptoe, an art-school Ozzy Osbourne. Coleman was at the helm of the show, on the prowl across the stage, he lived each moment to make any fan's very happy night.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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