I ventured to the Phoenix in downtown Toronto last night to see epic rockers Killing Joke. I met up with three of my concert-going friends at one’s office on the impossible to get to one way street Camden. Gah, evil street. Anyways, it was brutally cold last night and we were hungry before the show so we stopped at the first place to eat which was Mexican. It was decent. We arrived at the venue shortly after dinner… A band I’ve never heard of called Lioness was opening up for KJ. I was expecting an 80’s metal band with a name like that. However… if you google ‘lioness band’ there are the first hit. The bio describes them as ‘Their sound combines dark disco grooves of Scheven’s heavy drumming with Morris’ unique bass sound and is conspicuous for its lack of guitars.’ I guess so. Two of the members started the show wearing skull heads, the other dressed in a dark cloak. It was pretty awesome first impression. Suddenly a skull headed drummer and bassist rocking out… Sadly my phone camera couldn’t capture the scene. The sound was energetic and heavy with female lead vocals. Initially liked Fischer’s voice…but as they played more and more songs her range remained pretty much the same and eventually became quite distracting. This was disappointing since I enjoyed their sound, the drummer was really good and full of character. I may check out the studio recordings to see if I prefer the vocal sound. It just became too much of the same thing vocally – most of my friends agreed. The other odd thing Lioness did was have a long droning keyboard effect at the end of each song. Seriously WTF. Keyboards played no discernible role in any of the songs and the noise just confused the audience as to when they should applaud. *shrug* I didn’t get it… it wasn’t worth whatever continuity I assume they were trying to accomplish. Ho-hum.
Ahh Killing Joke. They have been around for many decades… The members are approaching their sixties but damn, these grandpas can Rock. I’m not a huge KJ fan. I’ve heard their big singles which might lead one to think their sound was keyboard heavy rock. Well their singles are misleading. Yes ‘Eighties’ and ‘Love like Blood’ were by far the only lighter moments of the evening. The rest of their material was killer. Heavy guitar… Jaz’s dark chanting vocal with rhythmic pounding drums – and an incredibly tight sound. I’m certainly going to delve deeper into their catalogue (as I have been for weeks on blip.fm) It must have been something to see them 20-30 years ago emerging with such a aggressive message and powerful sound. The audience, as you may have expected, ranged in age from 20 to 60… with all groups well represented. It was a very curious bunch of fans… Guys that looked like bankers beside typical ‘punk rock’ types and even a few goths. It just shows the lasting broad appeal the band has. Kj’s show was about the music. There was no fanfare, no explosions, no effects other than lights… just an sonic assault of song after song.. I think my ears are still ringing.
P.S. Whoever was pointing the laser at the band members during the show you are a dickhead. Wise up sucker.