Killing Joke / Invaders Of The Heart

Jaz’s rabble-rousers career through Camden

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The rationale of having ex-Public Image Ltd man Jah Wobble and his INVADERS OF THE HEART [8] as support is likely twofold; PiL were a huge early inspiration on the headliner, and secondly, it works to lull the crowd into a false sense of security.

For these days KILLING JOKE [9] display little of Wobble’s more mellow reggae/dub tendencies, even when performing their early material. Instead, their performance is pure fury… and yet the red thread throughout their 37-year discography remains: an emphasis on rhythm that makes their material crushingly heavy but usually undeniably danceable, a contradiction that’s manifested in the contrasting movements of the crowd.

Killing Joke: speaking uncouth to power

Killing Joke: speaking uncouth to power (Image credit: Will Ireland)

With so much emphasis on cadence, the melody of the band’s compositions has sometimes been lost in the live arena in later years and if there’s one complaint, it is that the sound tonight accentuates this by suppressing the guitar and synth somewhat. Beyond that, there is little to fault; Jaz is of course the focal point, thanks to his intense performance and wilfully provocative communication (agree or disagree, stating ‘9/11 was an inside job’ displays the sort of dissenting voice that is vanishing in music), but each member here is a master of their craft.

Poignant, pummelling, thought-provoking and uplifting, it’s Killing Joke as we know and love them.