Celebrating their 40th anniversary, post-punk/industrial legends Killing Joke brought their Laugh at Your Peril tour to the Granada Theater last night. Winding down a North American run, the band is set to hit a few Latin American dates before heading across the pond through mid-November. In Dallas, there was a healthy Monday night crowd who wouldn’t miss this show for anything. There was a palatable excitement buzzing through the crowd prior to things kicking off, many hanging around the bar, or smoking outside, reminiscing of their first Killing Joke show – or the last time they saw them.
Former KMFDM member, Raymond Watts’ <PIG> kicked things off at 8:00. Along with a guitarist, drummer, and samples/backing tracks, he led the band through a thoroughly rocking set. The crowd was a little sparse at the start, but quickly grew with young goth/punk chicks dancing and older dudes nodding their heads with approval. Watts, wearing a priest’s collar and bondage gear, towered above the crowd as he led his trio through a loud and compelling set. Playing a bunch of songs from their most recent album Risen, selections across their discography, and a cover of KMFDM’s “Juke Joint Jezebel,” their hour long set went by quickly. Needless to say, they did an excellent job of warming up the crowd. Surprisingly, I saw just about as many PIG shirts as I did Killing Joke shirts.
Taking the stage a few minutes past 9:30 pm, Killing Joke was met with a huge applause. Doubtless, many of them were holding tickets two years ago when the band, unfortunately, cancelled. But, it seemed like the band wanted to make up it up to their fans by giving an intense and visceral performance. Guitarist Geordie Walker was effortlessly cool and spot-on throughout the night. Rarely showing any outward signs of emotion, his sharp playing and steely demeanor was a lot of fun to watch. Bassist Martin “Youth” Glover held it down on the low-end, coaxing thick bass notes from his Rickenbacker, while drummer Paul Ferguson anchored everything down. Indeed, Ferguson was one of the highlights of the gig. Without outwardly trying to overshadow anyone, it was hard not to dial-in on him throughout the night as his playing was exceptional. Fluid, graceful, and hard-as-hell, his playing was a focal point (at least for me) of the show. Of course, vocalist Jaz Coleman held the crowd in the palm of his hand. Often marching in place, convulsing, or otherwise signaling to the crowd in one manner or another, he worked the audience like an orchestral conductor. A slight hand gesture, the crowd went crazy. Raising both arms skyward, the crowd went crazy. Most of all, dude can still sing incredibly well.
At one point, early on in the set, Coleman took a moment between songs to discuss a fan he had met before the show. This fan mentioned that her father couldn’t make it that evening as he had recently been diagnosed with cancer. Coleman then mentioned that at the merch booth there were pieces of paper and that everyone should go write a note of support that would be collected and given to the fan. Then he implored the crowd to introduce themselves to the people around them. “We’re all family here,” he said as the house lights went up and everyone happily shook hands and exchanged hugs with the previous strangers standing among them. It was a very cool moment that you don’t see many artists impose upon the crowd. The band then launched into “Requiem,” from their debut album, and everyone went nuts. Indeed, the four songs played from the debut, along with the “classic” material from What’s THIS for…!, and Night Time received the biggest response from the crowd. That said, the songs from 2015’s Pylon and their more recent albums, like MMXII and Absolute Dissent, worked perfectly with the material originally recorded three decades earlier. What’s more, the crowd seemed to enjoy these songs, almost as much as the ones they had dedicated to memory thirty years ago. The bands career-spanning set covered nearly 10 albums and you’d be hard pressed to find one of your favorite tracks missing from the set.
I cannot impress upon you the importance of seeing Killing Joke on this tour. For one, God only knows when they’ll mount a tour of this size again. But, they also just put on a fantastic show. Their light show is modest and tasteful and there’s no distracting digital video display to enhance their performance. This is just a group of excellent musicians who will never be accused of phoning it in. Even if you’re not a dyed-in-the-wool fan of the band, you’ve likely heard your favorite bands reference them as an influence. You owe it to yourself to see what all the fuss is about.
– J. Kevin Lynch (words); Corey Smith (photos)
– click to enlarge photos –
Killing Joke Remaining 2018 Tour Dates
09/18 – Austin, TX @ The Mohawk
09/19 – Houston, TX @ Warehouse Live
09/21 – Mexico City, MX @ Lunario del Auditorio Nacional
09/23 – Sao Paolo, BR @ Carioca Club
09/24 – Buenos Aires, AR @ Roxy Live
09/27 – Santiago, CL @ Blondie
09/29 – Lima, PE @ Cocos
10/15 – Humburg, DE @ Markthalle
10/16 – Munich, DE @ Neue Theaterfabrik
10/17 – Hamburg, DE @ E-Werk
10/19 – Berlin, DE @ Huxleys
10/20 – Warsaw, PL @ Stodola
10/21 – Prague, CZ @ The Roxy
10/22 – Randal, SL @ MCC
10/23 – Budapest, HR @ Durer Kert
10/25 – Milan, IT @ TBA
10/26 – Geneva, CH @ L’Usine
10/27 – Paris, FR @ Cabaret Sauvage
10/28 – Cologne, DE @ Live Music Hall
10/30 – Antwerp, BE @ Da Roma
10/31 – Amsterdam, NL @ Melkweg
11/02 – Nottingham, UK @ Rock City
11/03 – Leeds, UK @ O2 Academy
11/04 – Newcastle, UK @ Northumbria University
11/06 – Glasgow, UK @ Barrowland
11/07 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Academy
11/09 – Birmingham, UK @ The Institute
11/10 – Bristol, UK @ O2 Academy
11/11 – Southampton, UK @ Guildhall
11/13 – Cambridge, UK @ Corn Exchange
11/14 – Norwich, UK @ UEA
11/16 – Oxford, UK @ O2 Academy
11/17 – London, UK @ Roundhouse