From The Jam Acoustic gig at The Ropetackle Arts Centre Shoreham by Sea Friday 8th May 2015

It was indeed like visiting a strange town when I arrived at Shoreham by Sea train station and made my way straight to the lovely arty crafty Ropetackle Centre located in the High Street which is a haven for pubs,bars and charity shops a sign of the times I suppose? 

Anyway back to the gig which was rather excellent and a great showcase for the two piece From the Jam being Russell Hastings on vocals/guitar and former original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton very ably assisted by 20 something pianist Tom Heel. 

One of the opening songs was an excellent cover of The Kinks seminal favourite David Watts which put the mixed crowd of ex mods and a mostly younger local crowd in the right frame of mind and in a right good sing along mood for the rest of the set which included mostly Jam favourites and a few cover versions such as....

Saturday's Kids 
When You're Young 
Thick As Thieves 
Smithers Jones 
Strange Town 
That's Entertainment 
The Butterfly Collector 
Slow Down ( Larry Williams cover ) 
Private Hell 
A Town Called Malice 
Going Underground 
Down in the Tube Station at Midnight 
English Rose 

Vocalist/Guitarist Russell Hastings steps into the shoes of the original Jam vocalist Paul Weller with ease bringing his own style and eloquence to the fore along with a really great rapour with the audience too.

And of course Bruce Foxton the original Jam bassist provides impeccable guitar and vocals too.

The personal highlight for me was a storming cover version of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas Motown hit ( Love Is Like a ) Heatwave from The Jams 4th album the now classic 1979 Setting Sons LP. 

The superb set finished with an encore including Eton Rifles ( apparently recently re-elected prime minister and old Etonian David Cameron's favourite song which meant that he totally missed the irony of the lyrics though ) and Man in the Corner Shop.

All in all a really great evening for young and old alike with musicians who really know there craft and deliver a set of classic songs which are second to none.

That's Entertainment indeed. 

Buzzcocks Brighton Review by Richard Aitman.

It was Thursday the 17th October 2014 in the Brighton - Concorde2 venue where I was getting ready to watch the Buzzcocks. I saw the band back in 1978/9 at the Roundhouse in London and had an amazing night then and have always followed the band and have played their albums regularly over the years, particularly Another Music......... and the "Spiral Scratch EP.

As I approached the venue I was however getting a bit nervous that the evening may have been a disappointment having got so excited about going to the gig.

This fear was blown out of the water with the first song of the night starting the gig with "Boredom" and then bouncing through "Fast Cars" and "I don't mind"  I knew then that I was in for the best of nights. The next two tracks were new from "The Way". Then back for some more classics "Autonomy" saw Steve shuffling across the stage before moving into "Whatever Happened To?".

Then a mixture of old and new "The Way" / "Girl from the chain store" / "Sick City" / "Nothing Left" / "Third Dimension" / ""Noise Annoys" / "You say you don't leave me".

I can honestly say that I have never seen a band enjoying themselves on stage so much!!! There was barely a gap between songs "1,2,3,4's" excluded. 

Some more newies "It's not you" the massive "Chasing Rainbows" and then a totally massive medley of six goodies. Loads of harmonics and "Oh ohs"!!!!!! life just gets better and better.

"Promises" / "Love You More" / "What do I get" / extended version of "Harmony in my head" / "Ever fallen in love" / "Orgasm addict" what else would you end with.

What more could you possibly ask for just like being 16 again - sorry had to add that. Then the gig was over massive thank you to the band one of my all time favourites (even made it home at a reasonable time). Must have been so hard to work out what to include and what to leave out - think you got it about right.

I will definitely not leave it 35 years before seeing them again - roll on next tour I'll be there!!

The supporting band "The Dollyrots" put on a fine show as well.


First a little history lesson…
I saw Killing Joke for the first time over 32 years ago at the above venue. I was 18 years old and it made a massive impression on me and helped cement a lifelong musical love affair with the band. I had been aware of the band for a couple of years and was initially sucked into their vortex by the sinister mixture of dance rhythms and snarling guitar on the seminal track Follow the Leader. In 1982 I became a big time obsessive buying their first three albums with my birthday money. Sadly I was too late in my obsession to catch the Revelations tour in April and the original line up. The band then seemed to implode in disarray, the catalyst being Jaz Coleman’s mystical trip to Iceland. However by October there was a Mark II band in place and ready to roll the only change being Paul Raven on bass replacing original bass player Youth who was now following his own soon to be illustrious musical career. The new model was raring to go and had a brand new single to promote…

My first ‘live’ experience of the Joke or of one of them was seeing singer Jaz walking around the crowd before the gig. I remember a fan coming up to him and his girlfriend, kneeling down and kissing his boots. He was rather embarrassed and told the guy he shouldn’t do it. I was stunned that he could inspire such demonstrations of affection and devotion. I was also shocked by the general air of malevolence I could sense around the gig. I wasn’t used to such a feeling, I was sacred but in that good and exciting way.
Support act for the tour was Barnsley’s Dance Society so this gig was the closest thing to a hometown gig crowd for them. They played competent gothic rock but they didn’t real me move me. As John Peel used to put it, ‘Yet another band trying to sound like Killing Joke’. A bit harsh maybe but sadly that was also my feeling. The one thing I can clearly remember is that lead singer Steve Rawlings was bit of a pretty boy, all long, wavy hair and unbuttoned shirt! The normal Goth ingredients were all present the heavy drums and bass with a wash of reverb drenched twanging guitar but to me it lacked any real threat or excitement.
So to the main attraction…the atmosphere in the hall is electric as the time for the Joke to arrive slowly approaches. A pre gig tape of Gil Scott Heron Re Ron and another song which I have never found the name of featuring lyrics about a future war between the black and white races (Can anyone help with this? Answers on a postcard please). Then the intro tape, to me it sounds like an Arabic pipe band and conjures up the idea of an army marching across the desert. I now know this track to be Booids by SAHB a wonderfully evocative track that sets the tone for the Joke to arrive. Then out of the dark come the familiar guitar chimes of The Hum. The hall goes mental and as the drums and bass kick in to flesh out the track and the rucking begins, slowly to start with as this is a slow burning track. Jaz stalks on to the stage to a huge ovation as the crowd continue to throb. The floor is rocking and as we now call a mosh pit develops but this isn’t a small group at the front it’s the whole crowd. People’s shoes go AWOL; punters hit the deck, taken out by the rolling mass they are instantly rescued and pulled upright by their peers as per the unwritten laws of pogoing. A voice in the crowd cries ‘Chop Chop’ and the band oblige by kicking into the stop go classic. One member of the audience close by to me retires hurt to the side lines sans shoe commenting ‘Fuckin’ Hell this is madness!’ …Oh dear The blistering intensity is maintained as the band storm through the set and crowd reciprocate the intensity. New songs are weaved in seamlessly, the brutal throbbing Sun Goes Down and the nagging Take! Take! Take! Amazingly neither makes it to an album or a B side despite going down a storm. The new single Birds of a Feather sounds tough, swaggering and is a potential break through hit (it stalled in the bottom part of the charts). The rest of the set is littered with the early Joke masterpieces …Change, Empire Song and Pssyche all played with a manic intensity matched all the way by the crowd response. My personal favourites were the unnerving The Pandy’s Are Coming with its scary horror soundtrack keyboards and hypnotic disinterested distant vocals and the prophetic Wardance which stomps it’s way across the crowds’ subconscious as the band and audience d lift their game to new heights. It feels like the walls and floors of the Lyceum are going to come tumbling down! Then it’s over the band and the audience are spent, totally exhausted but at the same time and sated and elated just like great sex!

Mark Finnigan

Motorhead with Class of Zero, Ambassador,Dublin 4th November 2004

This has to go down as one of my favourite gigs,of all time,if only for the fact that all I had to do to was walk for twenty minutes to the Ambassador (which used to be a cinema,when I was a kid; I saw Herbie Goes Bananas,there,at a children's matinee, in 1979 ), as opposed to ferrying myself over to England for the privilege of seeing Lemmy, close up.

On the way down we came across a bunch of casuals from Millwall, on their way to getting arrested by the local Gardai, who were anticipating their somewhat late arrival, at Tolka Park, for the match between Shelbourne and Shamrock rovers. Poor lads were obviously lost on the northside of Dublin, thinking that Croke Park Stadium was the home of League of Ireland's Shelbourne,as they moved in battalion form, dressed in Burberry accessories. Still,it added to the atmosphere of feeling like you were in London,or some other English town, for all of the five seconds it took to walk past them.
As for the show itself, the support act Class of Zero were a good little band,if not exactly setting the world alight.My brother liked them,and we had a chat with their singer afterwards.Good lad.It was of course around this point that the old cinema started to fill up with the kind of people who you wouldn't find at a children's matinee,in 1979! All the old punks were there,and of course the Timotei crowd were there,too. This was,as far as I know,only the second time Motorhead had played in Ireland,the first being over on the southside of Dublin,a couple of years before.I don't know if this is an urban myth,but apparently the IRA had an issue with them coming here.They had the same issue with Iron Maiden,but to this day,I really don't know if this was true or not.Whatever the facts were,if you wanted to see Lemmy and the boys,you had to travel over the Irish Sea to see them.They might have played here in the 70's,but as I previously mentioned,I was into Volkswagen Beetles with a mind of their own,back then.

When Motorhead eventually took to the stage,the place went apeshit! All I can tell you is that some poor sap ended up with a broken leg, five minutes into the fray! It filled me with a surge of great pride,as we moshed frantically to the sounds of Motorhead,under a North Dublin sky! The bouncers started getting heavy handed,but we repelled them,keeping them out of harm's way,and protecting those who had fallen,or were being dragged out and ejected by the bouncers,who were being co-ordinated by some woman,up on the balcony section..They blasted through a few numbers from the latest album at the time,in between the usual greats from the back catalogue.They even slowed things somewhat,with Whorehouse Blues,giving some of us the chance to catch our breath,and maybe nip out for a quick smoke in the meantime.Then Metropolis and Overkill were quickly thrashed out,driving the pit into absolute bedlam,bodies flying everywhere,and yours truly being hoisted up in the air and thrown across the floor,resulting in me losing my keys,and my old Exploited badge. One of the Timotei crowd was whipping us with his hair incessantly,and it took a while to eventually knock him over, sturdy fucker for such a skinny lad...

I think they wrapped up things with Ace of Spades or Killed by Death,I really can't remember which,as the Ambassador is a small place,and things got really loud.I staggered outside,my jeans twisted around my legs,and stuck to me,the freezing air welcome till I realised that I had to stagger back home in a sweaty state,the conclusion of which was that I woke up with a cold and lacked the ability to hear...  

Review by John Askin

Review: The Death and Resurrection Show (Killing Joke documentary Film)

It’s brass monkeys, as they (probably) say, as a February wind tries to shove me off-balance into a passing mobile library. I am snaking through to London’s South Bank, miles from the sacred ground where a band called Killing Joke would have first formed and fought, a million years ago.  I pass pockets of tourists, and fail to find a bin for the banana skin I am carrying.
Entering the BFI building, a wary eye is kept out for Killing Joke’s frontman, Jeremy ‘Jaz’ Coleman, due to participate in a Q&A session after the film. A volcano-throated mystic who has spent nigh-on three decades fronting one of the most influential bands to tour the Earth, Killing Joke have probably made a mark on a band you like and you don’t even know it. Metallica? Check. Tool? Check. Nine Inch Nails, Ministry, Prong, Soundgarden? Check.

Oh, and Nirvana’s memorable Come As You Are bassline? Go listen to Killing Joke’s Eighties.
Those who could be here tonight are wandering around the building, easily spotted. I spare a thought for all of those who couldn’t make it, and perhaps the most-missed brother of all: Paul Vincent Raven, Killing Joke’s long-term bass player. In a wondrous example of triumph over tragic, Raven’s untimely death in 2007 was the catalyst for the original line-up to reunite. Faced with their mortality, the force-of-nature alchemical combination was restored.
After a series of reunion concerts, 2010 saw the release of Absolute Dissent. A wide-eyed and abrasive slab of noise, it still touched on moments of beauty, not least The Raven King: the Joke’s musical send-off for their fallen comrade.

Having established their return and reaffirmation, the more musically considered MMXII shot out of the portal in 2012. Still packing enormous sonic punch, the Joke painted with more colours from their musical pallet. Here they kept a watchful eye over the impending collapse of mankind, taking in the magnetic shift of the Earth’s poles, the construction of FEMA internment camps in America, solar flares wrecking Earthly electrical systems, and that old chestnut, the end of the world.
Back in London, it is time to sit and gawp at an admirable attempt to tell the story of this extraordinary outfit: The Death And Resurrection Show. Killing Joke’s circus is in town, as is their ideal of ‘the gathering’, as grown-up punks momentarily take over the bar and seating areas.  There is a great sense of occasion, but on a small, humble scale, where softly-spoken voices of reunited friends are moved to joyous laughter. The time eventually comes for everyone to pile into the screen room, and the usual kerfuffle over seats ensues.

The film itself is a treat, bravely pulling the dimensional veil back and allowing all gathered to spy on fascinating moments in the band’s history, intertwined with illuminating insights from current members, past members, associates and fans – including a pair of nobodies called Dave Grohl and Jimmy Page.

From a burned-down flat in Battersea, to the King’s Chamber in Egypt, to the Island of Iona, through the Basements of Hell in Prague, it’s a rollercoaster ride through the cosmos, laced with fascinating anecdotes and fantastical individuals. There doesn't appear to have been a square of the planet that the band haven’t touched, or touched upon.

At the centre of it all is Jaz Coleman, the all-seeing eye of the storm. We see the progression of his remarkable life: from angry young school leaver to post-punk keyboardist, student of the theology, cult of personality (to the chagrin of drummer ‘Big’ Paul Ferguson, a figure of quiet dignity and a lingering wisp of fury), scourge of record companies and music journalists (do a search for ‘Jaz Coleman maggots’), eventually becoming something of a modern renaissance figure.
It would be rude not to mention Kevin ‘Geordie’ Walker and Martin ‘Youth’ Glover, a fiercely singular and innovative guitar musician, who provides much of the sonic textural backdrops for Coleman’s acid-spitting roar. Youth meanwhile provides a hippie-tinged foil, bringing a love of dub and dance to the mix and countering the doom-laden heaviness with his own artful spiritualism. The aforementioned Ferguson provides an approach to drumming not before seen in this dimension, described as his rhythms have been “like Garry Glitter on crack”.

The film stays remarkably true to the spirit of Killing Joke, by way of presenting chaos with a driven narrative, a sense of ‘background reins’, as can be detected in the band’s music – just the right amount of wrong, and thus the whole circus never quite collapses.
But thanks to The Death And Resurrection Show, we have further access than before on all the moments (and there are numerous) when the charade almost ground to a halt, from the infamous (and according to Coleman, much-misunderstood) fleeing of the singer to Iceland, to the reputation-buggering Outside the Gate, the magick-tinged battles of ego, and steadfast bassist Paul Raven’s tragic passing.

It is a double-edged sword that the film eventually has to finish, and there is no coverage of the band’s escapades post-Absolute Dissent – understandable, as by the time footage had been tacked-on to the documentary another chapter would have undoubtedly begun – and it is immeasurably tantalising to remember that Killing Joke is alive, well, and still laughing.
A Q&A session takes place afterwards as we collectively gasp for air and attempt to make sense of what has been seen: a story that would have been remarkable as mere fiction, let alone the actual history of a band. Fascinating anecdotes about the film’s troubled genesis are revealed, along with musical recollections from Coleman that tickle the assembled. Jaz is to be found later signing copies of his book, Letters From Cythera: A Ludibrium by Jaz Coleman. He patiently signs everything and poses for everything else. It’s especially surreal to have witnessed The Death And Resurrection Show and see the figure at its centre amicably chatting with those gathered.

After speaking with him on a resonance found in Killing Joke's music found wanting elsewhere, I stumble out into the night, the air laced with the taste of the Thames. I amble through the glow cast by the now-named Coca-Cola London Eye: another symbol of sheer wrong, as a bloated company steals even more space from your vision to flog you sugary liquid excrement. It’s just the sort of thing Killing Joke would froth and foam over, sonically pummelling you whilst also presenting the facts of the argument, such is their gift. Perhaps it’ll feature on the impending new album.
Walking up the steps to my hotel, a sudden slip sends me careering majestically back down. Luckily, it’s too dark for the Nikon-armed tourists to see me and capture my fall for posterity.

On the hotel step sits a banana peel.

The Joke is alive.

Review by James Stokes

Photograph by very kind permission of Graham Humphreys

Peter And The Test Tube Babies,Lido,Berlin 22nd December,2010

I hadn't seen the Test Tube Babies in a few years,so when the opportunity arose,I managed to convince a mate that he should come along too,seeing as he was on an age of discovery concerning Punk made before Green Day.I thought to myself,well this is as good as any place to start,for his education.Had to help him get his priorities right...
It was fucking freezing,as I trudged from one end of Kreuzberg to the other,as snow had been falling in abundance for a few weeks,by that stage.I hooked up with my mate at some bar or other,quickly imbibed some warming shots,then headed for the Lido.Drink was going to be a bit more expensive there (as always,with these places),so it seemed the sensible option to get a fair amount on,first.Needs must,and all that,what with entrance being 18 quid.I had seen GBH for a tenner,a month previously,so the fee seemed a bit steep,by Berlin standards.
Inside it was already buzzing,with a mix of punks and skins,some of them looking that they wouldn't be out of place at an NPD march.The original support act,Engrained,couldn't make it for some reason,so a skinhead band called The Rukkas,stepped in at a couple of days notice.They were pretty standard mid 80's Oi!,nothing special.Their skinhead following were far more interesting,as they took to throwing each other around the floor,as the rest of us moved back.Germans are tall people,but some of these lads took the piss,height wise.I chose to stay well back,seeing as I'm vertically challenged in comparison to the smallest pygmy.I've seen taller Shetland Ponies.In the middle of their frolics,a butterfly flick knife went sailing through the air,so it was probably a wise decision not to go into the fray.There were a lot of guilty stares from the skins,as well as concerned looks from the bouncers,who had been keeping a safe distance,at that point.The knife quickly disappeared into somebody's pocket,and the madness continued.My mate and I decided it was time to face the cold air outside,and have a quick smoke.They finished not long after that..
When we returned,some decent music was blasting out of the speakers,as images flashed on the backdrop,alerting us to the fact that this was apparently known as The Dead Rock Stars Tour.We grabbed a couple of beers,and found a good vantage point.The lads turned up on stage like a fancy dress party,with guitars.Pete was rather splendid in his Elvis catsuit,while the others tried their best to look like Keith Moon,etc...They thanked the support act for playing,while joking about their love of anal fisting,then blasted their way through all the classics,like Elvis is Dead,Transvestite,etc.Bodies flew,and eventually piled on top of each other.In the interests of self preservation,and the fact that I had no medical insurance,I also elected to stand back from this one.Didn't matter to the twat who was dead intent on smashing me in the face with his elbow,as you seemed to get at German punk shows.There was always one nutter who came along,just to hit bystanders,and get his jollies that way.I pushed him away a couple of times,before booting him in the ankle.He turned around,decides he's going to have a staring match,before this monster of a bouncer picks him up like a ragdoll,and ejects him from proceedings.That brought a sigh of relief,it has to be said.Meanwhile,the lads sweated their way through their set,various wigs being discarded,as the visible weight gain that was apparent amongst them certainly didn't help.I reckon they're pretty close to the same weight as Poison Idea,these days.Need to lay off the beer and pies,me tinx...All in all,it was a laugh as always,when you see them.They are a quality entertaining band,and I even picked up a t-shirt on my way out,while having a quick word with Pete's missus.Good gig...

John Askin