Review: Killing Joke - Northumbria University, Newcastle

Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.
Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

When apocalyptic post-punk trailblazers Killing Joke burst onto the scene in 1978 it would have been hard to imagine them celebrating their 40th anniversary.

The band had a reputation of being 'difficult' doomsday prophet merchants, railing against the music industry and falling out with each other on more than one occasion along the way.

Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

Killing Joke guitarist Geordie Walker at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

But, remarkably, the original four founder members brought their valedictory 40th anniversary to the region for a roaring show in front of their faithful, fervent fans.

Led by their enigmatic frontman Jaz Coleman, the veteran group tore into their opener, Unspeakable, with menacing intent and ear-splitting volume.

Now pushing 60, age has not mellowed Jaz as he fixes the audience with his manic stare and spits out the lyrics to his dystopian vision on the likes of European Super State, Requiem and their proper pop chart hit from back in the day, Eighties.

But this is no mere one-man band. Bass player (and now respected producer) Youth forms a formidable rhythm section with drummer Paul Ferguson, as gifted guitarist Geordie Walker - born in Chester-le-Street - hammers out the pulverising riffs.

Killing Joke bass player Youth at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

Killing Joke bass player Youth at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

The band are probably best on songs from their eponymous 1980 album, with Bloodsport, The Wait and Wardance given a thorough work out and going down a storm with the audience.

The band end the main set with Pssyche, but return for an amazing four-song encore, an immense A Love Like Blood, The Death & Resurrection Show, the aforementioned Wardance and a final, awesome Pandemonium.

Whisper it quietly, but Killing Joke have slowly become a national treasure and deserve a slot at Glastonbury to show a national audience just what an almighty band they truly are.

IAN MONAGHAN

Killing Joke drummer Paul Ferguson at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.

Killing Joke drummer Paul Ferguson at Northumbria University in Newcastle. Pic: Mick Burgess.