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Killing Joke: The Glasgow Gathering – Laugh At Your Peril

The “Laugh At Your Peril” 40th Anniversary Tour started back in September 1st in Seattle, USA and after many dates in South America and Europe, the tour hit the UK last week. Tonight, it’s the Glasgow Barrowlands. A venue that has seen Bowie, Metallica, Rage Against The Machine and Radiohead in the last few decades, has also had previous visits from these very men. Its a packed ballroom and there’s a “Gathering” feel to this whole tour. Normally a one off, “Gatherings” are special, and tonight will be no different.

The much-anticipated re-releases on CD and Vinyl, which are currently available as a “Pledge”, will be bolstered by special recordings from this tour. One of these was two weeks ago in Berlin and one is to follow soon in London. Tonight though, we will hear the band live as they bring their special blend of post-punk with a flavour of industrial and tribal beats.

The Killing Joke line-up has seen many changes through the years, mostly on drums, but after the untimely death of Paul Raven (Bass), the band line up has remained the same for ten years. Jaz Coleman (Vocals), Paul Ferguson (Drums), Geordie Walker (Guitar) and Youth (Bass) take the stage to a near capacity crowd.

There are two supports bands tonight and the first up are BlackWaters. I met Max (vocals) and asked him how they have joined the tour in Glasgow. The band had other gig commitments but were incredibly happy to have joined up with Turbowolf and Killing Joke. Being managed by the same manager as Killing Joke and having Youth involved with their production, it’s no surprise these guys are on the bill but they’re here on merit as well as they play an energetic set in front of  a reduced audience. The 19:20 stage time being slightly too early for those die hards that have chosen not to turn up till later. They missed a great young band that seem undaunted by the stage they fill tonight. Raw energy and talent with the great mix of songs, these guys should be on your watch list. Playing a few tracks from their recent E.P. People Street – Pick Me Up and  People Street show their diversity. FACEBOOK

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Turbowolf  have been the main UK support for the whole tour. Looking like a cross between Frank Zappa and Jarvis Cocker, Chris Georgiadis (vocals) is a looming figure as he leaps across the stage endlessly. The punk, psych-rock, metal, and electronica three piece have a flavour of Royal Blood as they use drums and guitar (instead of bass) as the main instruments but also the vibe of Wolfmother is not unnoticeable. Having played with Korn, Pulled Apart by Horses, and the Eighties B-Line Matchbox Disaster  they are no stranger to audiences expecting some real hard hitting music. Perhaps not the perfect fit for the target audience tonight, they do well to keep the crowd intrigued for 30 mins.

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So, its time for Killing Joke, the set list has been well publicised so it is no surprise to those in the know that “Unspeakable” is the opener. The third track from the 1981 album What’s This For! is a very popular choice. There have been a few minor tweaks to the set as the band set out on this tour but from those early dates but it’s been finely tuned as we reach Glasgow. With Jaz Coleman at his theatrical best, he moves menacingly across the stage with a glare that could chill to the bone. As the sequenced synthesised sounds of “European Super State” start, there’s a big cheer. Having had a day off the tour yesterday, a re-invigorated  Jaz declares his love for being in this fantastic “Autonomous Zone” where we can be free for the evening. The band race through the song at a brisk pace, “Big Paul” Ferguson’s drums drive the song with metronomical precision which is under pinned by Youths sub harmonic bass tones. As Jaz screams “Forty fucking years” The band blast into the hit from 1984, “Eighties”. Geordie is at his empirical best as he dominates the mix with his now legendary 1952 Gibson ES-295. The guitar might be showing signs of age but Geordie certainly is not as his wonderfully brutal and unmistakeable slabs of relentless chords fill the mix. Jaz informs us, we have new enemies according to the media and that we will go to war, “New Cold War”  is the next track to keep the crowd on edge. For the most part, Geordie was planted at his usual stage right, but Youth was in a playful mood as he moved around the stage in his fashionable head gear, dinner jacket and funky shoes. There’s a huge cheer as the iconic “Requiem” starts with Geordies recognisable guitar and Big Paul’s toms. As Youth comes in with the pulsing bass, the crowd are captivated by Jaz as they singalong, almost mouthing the lyrics word for word. We stay with another track from the iconic 1st album released in 1980 as “Bloodsport” gives Jaz a break from singing but he engages with the audience in true Jaz Coleman manner, reaching out and staring down the crowd. Jaz asked the crowd if they enjoyed Brexit or Mr. Trump before “Follow The Leaders” keeps the intensity in the room. The third track from Whats This For! is next. “Butcher” gets a rare live outing and there are also special performances of “Loose Canon” and “Labyrinth” before a crushing version of “Corporate Effect”. Another song that’s not seen a tour for sometime is the popular Asteroid. We’re taken back to those early years with one of my favourite’s of the night as Big Paul absolutely smashes his kit relentlessly during “The Wait”. It has the whole room singing the chorus. Between the kick/toms and Youth’s bass, the entire building is shaking. As Youth thanks his fellow band mates for the past 40years, the howling of Youth and the crowd, signify the seminal “Pssyche”. Swapping between Youth and Jaz on the verses, by the time we get to Big Pauls verse, the incredible drummer hits the hi-hats at rates unmeasurable. The feedback from Geordie’s guitar dies out and we’re left with the bass reverberating as Youth leaves the stage to huge cheers.

After a brief respite, the crowd raise a massive cheer as the band return and deliver an extended encore, which commences with “SO36”. The irrepressible “Love Like Blood” is dedicated to Paul Raven and the band deliver a poignantly faithful version of the chart hit from the 80’s. The band end with an incredibly powerful trio of songs as “Death and Resurrection Show”, “Wardance” and “Pandemonium”. Glasgow has seen the very best of a band still at the top of their game.

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The “Laugh At Your Peril” Tour continues throughout November and the remaining dates are;



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