Killing Joke + The Icarus Line + The Crying Spell @ The Wulfrun Hall, Wolverhampton – Wednesday 14th March 2012


Review and Photos by Tony Gaskin

We arrived this evening about half way through the first bands set. The Crying Spell are a four piece alt rock outfit from the home of Grunge, Seattle. Nothing grungy about these guys though. A slick performance went mostly un-noticed by the early crowd. There dark, moody 80’s retro style seemed lost in a large room that lacked any sort of atmosphere, a shame really, because in a smaller venue with a more intimate audience I could see The Crying Spell being more in their element, I hope they get to come back over here in the future and do their own tour of smaller venues.

Second support act tonight were also from across the pond. LA avant garde punk rockers The Icarus Line have been around a long time now but are relatively unknown over here, to be honest the front man Joe Cardamone is the only surviving original member as far as I can tell and there has been the proverbial rotating door for past members, so as with anything consistency is the key to success and the ever changing line-up has to have some sort of detrimental effect. Saying that I did enjoy their arty punk/garage rock style with Cardamone coming across like a hybrid version of Nick Cave and Iggy Pop and this was reflected in their sound with obvious Bad Seeds influences combined with that 70’s US garage rock attitude, but much like the Crying Spell maybe they were a bit too high brow for the now pretty much filled auditorium.

What the majority were here for though was one of the bands that defined the post punk era of the early 80’s. Killing Joke brought a whole new sound to a disenchanted youth with it’s apocalyptic visions and tribalistic rhythms.

30+ years on and the original line-up is back together and with some high profile festival appearances and support slots have endeared themselves to a whole new generation of disenchanted youth. The timing is perfect for Jaz and his cohorts with their message of anti-globalisation and strong political views on the imperialistic ambitions of the worlds goverments.

Tonight sees a set that encapsulates that long career with songs from the earliest days to bang right up to date tunes. From “Wardance” to “European Super State” with crowd pleaser’s throughout including two encores, the second of which Coleman did in his dressing gown! His maniacal stares and vitriolic style is his trade mark and the drums and guitars are equally recognisable, throw in the hypnotic syncopation of Youth’s bass lines and it’s easy to see why they have had a dedicated following all these years.

A nice touch was the dedication to former bassist Paul Raven who came from Wolverhampton and sadly passed away in 2007 and whose funeral was the catalyst for the original quartet to get back together.

A new album is on the horizon so hopefully we’ll be getting another tour before the end of the year and with five dates just announced has support to The Cult’s UK arena tour, Killing Joke look as strong as ever.

More of Tony’s photos from the gig below