Killing Joke & Death Valley High – Limelight, Belfast

It’s Hallowe’en night (or more accurately early evening due to this being an early show) and the multi-headed monster that is the Killing Joke band has lurched into the Limelight, Belfast.

Starting the evening is support Death Valley High who have the unenviable task of warming up a crowd who are still filtering through the doors. Despite a loud Marilyn Manson/NIN vibe and various attempts to involve the crowd, including the singer mingling with the audience to coerce them into a chorus of the band name, their brand of self-proclaimed ‘doom-pop’ just doesn’t seem to gel tonight.

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Killing Joke have been around in one form or another since 1978 and with tonight’s line-up containing the original members and buzz from recent festival shows being highly positive, expectations are high. Last year’s feature-length documentary film ‘The Death and Resurrection Show’ provided a deep, fascinating insight into the band and their ever-evolving sound and it’s interesting to see just what will be played tonight.

With the venue now filled out nicely, it’s time for the main event and it’s evident that Killing Joke are on fire tonight, an early combo of ‘Love Like Blood’ and ‘Eighties’ sets the stage perfectly, with frontman Jaz Coleman commanding the attention of audience from the onset. Marching in place, his thousand-yard stare pierces each member of the audience to the core. A fair portion of the set is drawn from 2015’s Pylon but there’s also plenty of older material for the fans to enjoy such as ‘Turn to Red’ and the crushing “The Death & Resurrection Show”.

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It’s easy to see how Killing Joke have influenced many other bands, such as Metallica and Soundgarden, over the years. Their tightly woven mix of elements of metal, electronic music and gothic rock, is both compelling and aggressive; heavy tribal drums, synths, tight bass lines and distinctive cold, harsh riffs from bassist Youth and guitarist Geordie respectively, combine with the strident singing and snarling growls from Jaz, who leads the band like a man possessed.

The energy from the band never wanes and by the time the set closes, the crowd have been willingly ensnared, seduced, pummelled and battered by the performance of a band at the top of their game, even after all these years. Fantastic.  Adrian Knight.

Edit made on Friday 3rd November due to a setlist error.

Full photo gallery by Adrian Knight below:

Killing Joke