Killing Joke: Live at Bottom Lounge

The day will come up that we all wake up
Hearing the shouts of joy
And shouting together with the freaks
Loud, loud, loud, loud

Costas Ferris

Any discussion of the pantheon of modern rock music must include England’s Killing Joke. Their sound has inspired countless other bands, and defies exact categorization; a blend of rock, metal, punk, and industrial that is aggressive, contemplative, driving, and uplifting.

2018 marked the band’s fortieth anniversary, and has been commemorated with the Laugh at Your Peril world tour. A run of U.S. dates took place in late summer 2018, and the band returned to the U.S. in May 2019 for several more. I caught them at Chicago’s Bottom Lounge on May 18. The lengthy setlist featured quite a bit of material from both self-titled albums, as well as recent records like Pylon and MMXII.

Forty years in, and Killing Joke is as relevant as ever, which is: very. Their most recent album, Pylon, was one of the best records of 2015. To be able to see a band of this caliber in a small club is a reminder that we are in a wonderful period for celebrating live music.

Check out some photos from the show below.