(review by Guy Salvador)
Looking forward to seeing tonight’s openers “Tribazik” as I had stumbled across their website a while back & listened to a couple of their tracks which were interesting. Sort of Drum n bass, tribal, experimental, prog sort of thing, not unlike the type of thing the excellent “Redbeat” were doing in the early 80’s. While I mention “Redbeat” for those of you that may remember them & liked their music, they released “The lost album” sometime last year, finally getting their tracks on CD, very good it is as well. Back to tonight’s proceedings.
Things start promisingly for “Tribazik” great industrial drum n bass sound unfortunately they chose to smoother it for far too much of the set with an overused grunge type guitar noise which, for the most part, took away the bits I initially like about the band. Not that the singer / guitarist was no good, in fact he was very good at what he does & a good front man for the band it’s just that to my ears they would be much better stripping back some of the noise & working with the heavy groove they get going in some of the tracks. Is it industrial, tribal, metal? Probably a bit too much of the later but, the good people of Wolverhampton certainly enjoyed what they saw & heard so……………
Leads me into “Killing Joke” quite nicely. For the record KJ are definitely one of my favourites & have over the years given me hours of entertainment, enjoyment, good times etc. over the years. This tour is to promote their new album “Hosanna’s from the gates of Hell” which in itself, without going into an album review is a fine piece of work. In the main a very “live” album in the way it’s been recorded & produced, making it close to what you will actually hear at a KJ gig. Following on from last years “Greatest Hits” tour, this was always going to be a difficult set of songs to put together, with the band actually starting the set the same as the couple of times I saw them. Communion, leading into Wardance, Song & Dance with Bloodsport & Primitive also in the first clutch of songs. Over the years KJ have become much more a metal band that anything else, with there being noticeably a lot more of that ilk in their audiences nowadays. For a band that been knocking around for 25 years or so I suppose any audience is a good audience but it highlights to me maybe, how far KJ have gone away from what I originally like d about them. There was always an underlying heavy groove, almost a Dub feel to the very early KJ material. Much of this was inevitably down to the bass playing of the iconic “Youth”, who played on the bands first clutch of singles & a couple of albums, actually rejoining for a short period in the early 90’s. This was continued in the early days of Paul Raven playing in the band taking them through their most commercial & I think, finest periods for the “Nighttime” album. This is all a very long while ago, with the surprise & real disappointment of long time bass player Raven not appearing on this tour, with a real hush around why this is? All I can tell you is the guy playing bass tonight name was “Kniel” I think? Tonight’s gig was marred by real problems at the mixing desk, particularly with Jaz’s vocals. Also a disappointing turn out at the gig. With the Wulfrun Hall not being the most inspiring place it never really happened for me.
The set was: Faith Healer + Booids Intro / Communion / Wardance / Primitive / Total Invasion / Requiem / Gratitude / Bloodsport / Hosannas / Money Is Not Our God / Frenzy / Majestic / Asteroid / Whiteout / The Wait / Psyche. Encores: Unspeakable, Pandemonium.
As I mentioned earlier, maybe a bit too, “Smash & grab” for me nowadays……………. But, they are still greats & entitled to the odd dodgy one now & again.