|Killing Joke/Icarus Line/Crying Spell - Bristol, O2 Academy - 5th March 2012|
|Written by Nev Brooks|
|Saturday, 17 March 2012 03:00|
This is a gig that I have been really looking forward to, the original line up back together and the chance to see one of the tightest heaviest rhythm sections ever to grace a stage (personal choice, but willing to debate it) put together with one of the most intense guitar players ever and in Jaz Coleman the icon that holds it all together. Jaz is a singer who feeds the music through his own performance, conducting and orchestrating in a way that has to be seen to be believed.
And do you know as I write this review, after a totally stunning night it was all about the frontman, but not the headliners!! Nah I was blown away by an upstart who came over like the bastard son of Jim Morrison and Iggy Pop. So take a bow Joe Cardamone lead singer of the Icarus line. I mean how much stage presence and attitude can one person display? The guys might be from LA but the influences are straight out of Detroit, rock 'n' roll as it should be both raw and visceral, kicking against a largely lethargic crowd in the main. I fucking hate crowds where the support are ignored and it's all about the main act - open your minds to something different, it won't hurt I promise, the Icarus Line deserve to go places and I'd love to see them headlining, band of the night for me, but more of that later.
But let's rewind a bit as there was another band by the name of Crying Spell who opened up the night and to be fair they put on a decent show. Definitely fixated on the '80s goth scene and coming across very much in the Sisters of Mercy/Fields Of The Nephilim style, but to me it was all a bit out of time. Don't get me wrong I love the Sisters and yes, Crying Spell use the blueprint as an influence, but don't copy wholesale, even the Sisters have moved on! But to lovers of the genre definitely check these guys out, as they would have been a good support for the 80's version of Killing Joke.
So on to the Icarus Line. Johnny H take a bow, as your recommendation was spot on, these guys absolutely blew me away. This band has so much potential having me hooked from the opening where the band kicked in right through to when they left the stage with a simple "thanks." I was hooked all right as this was a set full of Stooges style energy, tight as fuck and in the frontman a REAL star. I can't believe that they have been around since 2001 and I'd never heard of them until tonight. Record companies, this band needs to be pushed. Note to self "buy 'Wildfire' (the band's latest LP) as soon as I get home, and then work backwards".
And then we have the main event, I have to say as I am biased towards Killing Joke they are one of the most intense bands you will ever witness live, but there were a few things about tonight's performance that I struggled with. Yes, it's a series of gigs to promote the new LP 'MMX11' released on April 2nd and from what I hear it's going to be a stunner, but did we really need seven new tracks in the set? Bearing in mind that the bulk of the audience won't have heard it yet? This was definitely a gig for the gatherer in your life, but I also felt the audience reaction was a tad muted at times and didn't have the intensity of some Killing Joke performances I'd witnessed over the years. Could this have been down to unfamiliarity with the material? Who knows?
The second thing that threw me a bit was no 'Wardance', no 'Love like Blood', no 'Eighties' ALL CLASSICS that I grew up listening to and was expecting at least two from the three.
Ultimately this was the original version of Killing Joke back together though, and as a band they are simply superb, and as powerful and intense always, but this performance, didn't quite cut it for me. There was a storming 'Pssyche' to end the show, a blinding 'Requiem' in the encore, 'Chop Chop' from the early days and the standout track of the night for me 'Bloodsport'. But the highlights, papered over the performance. Or was it just the crowd, myself included not feeding off the new material, it was just so unfamiliar?
I will definitely watch Killing Joke again, I will definitely buy the new LP but as I write this review I realise tonight was not as I expected, (nothing wrong with that) they just didn't play what I expected (nothing wrong with that to a point) but there was a definite disconnect with the audience, and I certainly wasn't the only one shouting for 'Love like Blood'.
Photo Kudos: Steve Davies