Archive for March, 2013

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Killing Joke, were absolutely at the top of their game for their 34th/35th anniversary concert at The Forum, Kentish Town, March 16th 2013.

It was with some dedication that I made it to the gig tonight from my part of the Capital in East London to this oft difficultly accessible enclave of North London. After having to plan my route around part of the tube stopped for engineering works and 2 major traffic jams, including one leading right up to the venue, time was against me. I eventually gave up, got off the bus and walked at a pace the last half mile through the drizzly streets. But there was no I was going to miss this event; Killing Joke is one of the grandees of industrial rock and were playing their 35th or as lead singer Jaz Coleman claimed, their 34th anniversary concert (there is still some debate about this) and this was going to be the anthology night.
I arrived at the intimate 2000 seat art deco venue very late, resigned to getting a less than ideal view. In the end I was surprised to find a good place in the balcony seating area just in front of the standing area, so it was possible to both sit and stand without impeding anyone else’s view. Believe me, the energy that was to be released at this concert perfect proved it necessary to have both options; standing because there were songs you just wanted to freak out on and seating because you drained so much energy, a breather was needed from time to time, especially at my age. Jaz Coleman was his typically outspoken self, though a fellow fan remarked that he had mellowed considerably; the 3 surviving original band members Geordie Walker, Martin Glover and Paul Ferguson and their additional tour members were rock solidly tight . The band played sometimes as if their lives depended on it. This was a loud powerful in your face concert, that demanded engagement and to that end was reminiscent in terms of its raw energy of the sex pistols 2007 reunion concert at Brixton. On that occasion, I was in the main part of the crowd towards the front in the middle of the mother of all mosh pits. The Killing Joke concert had a manic mosh and particularly went wild during some of the most iconic tracks such as “Love Like Blood”, and “Eighties”. I was grateful to be out of this but I still put in my fair share of fist pump and chanting. “Eighties” song also recalled some of the controversial figures and moments of that decade on two big screen on either side of the auditorium.
Coleman made several controversial (depending upon your point of view) references including; berating the use of mobile phones, i-pod and and i-pad before launching into “The Beautiful Dead Play; telling the audience that he that money never had been and never would be his governor – that proceeded the song “Money is Not our God”; fierily raising the issue of children living under the poverty line and then playing “Corporate Elect”. The pre-encore section culminated with a tub-thumping rendition of “Pandemonium” that had every one cheering and the whole place wanting much more. The band duly obliged with 4 more songs.
Now, in previous reviews I sometimes go into a description of individual songs. On this occasion, there is no point. The lyrics like the music are often highly charged and carry many carry a amti-establishment message. So I will confine myself to listing the songs in order. What this concert was about was raw energy that from the point of view of the senses picked you up, slapped you about and threw you down. It was about letting loose and about celebrating the 35 years or so of a cult band that has had influence on the likes of such rock luminaries as The Foo Fighters, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails and Faith No More, to name but a few.
This was gig demanding but utterly engaging and sensational. I am still buzzing several days later.
Set List
1.Requiem; 2 Turn to Red; 3) Wardance; 4)European Super State; 5)Love Like Blood; 6)The Beautiful Dead; 7) This World Hell; 8) Empire Song; 9) Chop-Chop; 10) Sun Goes Down; 11)Eighties; 12)Money is Not our God; 13) Whiteout; 14) Asteroid; 15) The Wait; 16)Corporate Elect; 17) Pandemonium; Encore : 18) Follow the Leaders; 19) Tension;
20) Change; 21) Psyche;

Kristina Train at London's Bush Hall, March 5th 2013

Kristina Train at London’s Bush Hall, March 5th 2013

 

 

Though still relatively unknown to the wider music buying public in the UK,  London based, American born Kristina Train will not rest in the shadows for long.  Having toured in the last 4 years such artists as Chris Isaak, Herbie Hancock and Amy McDonald and having recently signed with Mercury records you get the impression that this singer is on the cusp of bigger and better things.

In the Bush Hall, a decorative former dance hall built in 1904, this was confirmed. Kristina gave the 200 or so crowd, a pastiche of sixties influenced songs that could have been inspired by the songbooks of Nancy Sinatra, Mama Cass, Petula Clark or Karen Carpenter on a more sombre day.  With the exception of two numbers, the songs were all from Kristina’s second album Dark Black, some of which reflects a difficult period in her life around 2009 with personal bereavement and divorce as well as coming to terms with the commercial failure or her first album.

Indeed, though supported by 4 extremely able band members, playing keyboard, drum, bass and guitar who achieved the remarkable feat of simultaneously looking intense and chilled out as perhaps only those well studied in 60s festival folklore could, Kristina  arrived on the small stage slightly pensive  and detached during the opening number “Dream of Me”.

Kristina Train & chiled out band, Bush Hall, London, March 5th 2013

Kristina Train & chiled out band, Bush Hall, London, March 5th 2013

Wearing what appeared to be a chiffon taffeta 1970s hippy style full dress, she would soon relax as the crowd began to enthusiastically cheer after and sometimes during every song.

At times, there was definitely a sense of nostalgic loss and longing with songs like “Pins and Needles”, “No One’s Gonna Love You” and “Saturdays”.  There were also a couple of non-album tracks with an interesting version of The Stranglers “Golden Brown” and “Wish You Me”.  During “Stick Together”, Kristina gave vent to her lower vocal range with a passionate and raw impromptu chorus very different to the sweet angelic album version.

As she got into the concert there were several amusing anecdotes including one about how she came to write the song called LA, written about dreaming escaping the cold New York winters to live in the sunny town. So, she said .. “what did I do … I ended up coming to London”… , a comment that provoked much laughter in the audience. 

The title album track “Dark Black” and in a short encore “January” ended an intimate show where Kristina and the band received a rapturous reception. Kristina looked quite delighted and it must be said, a little amazed. I’m not sure why as judging on this performance, there is a lot more to come from her, hopefully.