Killing Joke Café Campus, Montréal QC, April 23

Killing Joke Café Campus, Montréal QC, April 23
Photo: Julie Michaud
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The good news could have been that Café Campus's customary crowd of the noisy and trust-funded headbanging to Psy's latest output on their Samsung Galaxy would be replaced by misguided cyberpunks in lime-green hats and phosphorescent dreadlocks that look like dead ferrets pieced up together. Unfortunately, it was not the case. The real good news though, was that Killing Joke had set out to perform a full set of singles from their three-decade-long career, which implied that Jaz Coleman and company were sure to perform classic tunes from the group's early albums.

Coleman kept soliloquies pretty low-key after the opening numbers — "Requiem," "Turn to Red," "Wardance" and "European Super State" — while Gordie Walker's signature guitar sound was being buried under horrendous amounts of bass frequencies. In fact, during about 12 minutes, every note on stage was a massive roar bundled up in bass (bass guitar, bass drum, bass synth?).

Short on words during most of the set, Coleman nevertheless spared a thought for the American Empire, sardonically remarking: "We were talking in the tour bus about the United States and came to the conclusion that this is going to be shortest-lasting empire in history" before predictably ripping through "Empire Song."

When Walker tore into the first notes of what could have sent Nirvana to court, the whole shenanigan started to well up and got cool dads and punks wearing ankh necklaces shouting "Eighties…I'm living in the eighties." Bass player Martin Glover (aka Youth) sure did not look straight out of the Batcave in his pinkish plaid shirt and visor cap, but since he was constantly fed beer by the stage tech and smoked funny tobacco, his arbitrary dance moves were in confluence with the gestures of some members of the greying crowd massed near the sign that read "Special Requests: This Way," next to Café Campus's DJ booth.

The five musicians bid farewell after intoning "Pandemonium," just to come back about a minute later (which left Youth just enough time to refill on beer and chronic) and play "Change," "The Death and Resurrection Show" and "Pssyche."