Hailing from New York, The Imbeciles (6) play Americana infused rock music, with a psychedelic element. Built around three guitars, bass, drums and harmony vocals there's a hint of another band called Howlin Rain, whom I'm very familiar with, there's even some Tom Petty influences too. Though with a dirty NY punk edge too. Having originally been a punk band, they have evolved into the pub rock style which as I've said also incorporates those fleeting touches of Americana and psych. A little out of place on this bill, which the sheer number in the smoking area showed. However, they have had a working relationship with Youth producing their second record so that's probably why they have got the gig. A decent enough rock band to get the show started but it was clear that the majority were here for the headliner only.
With the throbbing pulse between the bands building, it was time for Killing Joke (7), who came to the stage assuming their positions on stage. Vocalist Jaz Coleman, drummer Paul Ferguson, guitarist Geordie Walker and bassist Youth, with keyboardist Roi Robertson (who was relegated to the side of stage) then dove straight into the classic double tap of Love Like Blood and Wardance.
The now full room jumping and chanting in unison, the heavy bass throb and drumbeats of Youth and Paul Ferguson massively overpowering everything else on stage. That meant the guitars were sidelined to a distorted fuzz and Coleman's wild vocals and sneering lyrical prowess was barely audible. It seems as if Coleman himself was having some difficulty as well constantly trying to hear himself when he was singing. He also seemed to avoiding the monitors in the middle of the stage due to moments of feedback. If it was as loud on stage as it was in front of the audience then I can understand the struggle.
Performance wise Killing Joke are great to watch Jaz shifting around the stage like he's possessed, imbued by the spirit of their music. Paul's drumming both primal and tribal, Youth takes lead bass with lots of pedal work and fuzzing low end that's throbbing and distorted as Geordie's guitar playing has an animalistic bite, the keys doing some layering that was Gothic, harsh and menacing.
Originally a post-punk outfit, their sound has adapted in recent years adding more industrial metal influences, leading to them being a much heavier prospect live. Unfortunately due to the sound issues, for the casual observer, myself included, a lot of the songs blended into one long stomach churning industrial dirge. There were moments of brilliance, that showed why they are such an influential band to acts such as Metallica, Faith No More, Nirvana etc but in the Tramshed, they were perhaps a little too loud, I know I sound old but there is a point where volume becomes noise.