Killing Joke to kick off the week. A concert from The Lyceum in London, recorded on February 29, 1980.
This is early Killing Joke, fully five years before hitting their streak of mainstream success. Six months before the release of their debut album in August of that year, but they had already released two ep’s and their debut single was issued in December of 1979.They were championed early on by John Peel, who gave their debut ep, Turn To Red, extensive airplay but the press were on both sides of the fence, with NME saying that “their sound is a bit like early Siouxsie and The Banshees without the thrilling, amoral imagination”. Other press reviews considered them “Heavy Dance Music” and one review said “the only animation on stage is provided by Jaz who crouches behind his synthesizer, making forays like a Neanderthal man gripped by a gesturing, gibbering fury”. But even during this concert, they had been evolving. They were becoming more dense and aggressive in their sound, bordering on Heavy Metal.
Over time they would strike the magic formula, but at this early stage, they were still shaping and honing their sound.
For all intents and purposes, their sound in 1985 bore little resemblance to their sound initially, and listening to this concert gives some idea of how things evolve and where sounds develop from. A year after this concert, and after the release of their debut album, they began work on their second album with legendary German producer Conny Plank, and this was the start of the turn of events that would propel them into the charts.
But as a reminder of where bands come from and how they evolve, here’s an example of just such a band. After calling it quits in 1996, the band resurfaced in 2002 and reunited with the original lineup in 2008 and are continuing today.
Here’s what they were like in 1980.