Now look at the heading I’ve just written; how diverse a line-up is that? Throw into the mix that Killing Joke were a late stand in for Television, who dropped out owing to sickness and you wonder what mad genius thought up that lineup? It also makes you wonder how diverse the audience would be who came to see who.

First up in the early evening start of 7.00 was Toyah, and I like everyone else watched in wonder during the lockdown at the fun and carnage Toyah and her husband Robert Fripp foisted on the watching world! Looking backward and trawling the memory banks I have very little memory of Toyah musically or so I thought, more about her role in one of the greatest films of all time Quadrophenia. I suppose at the time back in the day female punk singers started and stopped with Polystyrene and Siouxsie Sioux for me. What came across tonight was a breath of fresh air, lively bouncy with a real self-depreciative sense of humour a real ray of light prior to the darkness and intensity of Killing Joke to follow. Opener Thunder in the mountains set the tone, before a rather tasty version of the Martha and the Muffins classic Echo Beach, before we actually hit a couple that I did recognise Good Morning Universe and It’s a mystery (It’s amazing the things that stick) interestingly I think I’ll revisit next up Neon Womb, while Space Dance a new track had Robert Fripp’s hands all over it definitely a change of direction before we finished up with the evergreen I want to be free (Again jogging the memory banks).

Now I have to say I was looking forward to catching Killing Joke, after witnessing a blinding performance at the Tramshed on the last tour, but wondered if they’d adapt their approach to maybe blend into the enormo-dome audience waiting for King Rocker himself, maybe bringing in a new set of Converts? Not a chance as we are hit straight up with the double act of Unspeakable and Wardance (the latter with a spoken intro, maybe stating “we’re going to dance, Wardance” was Jaz’s nod to the crowd before a personal fave The fall of Because. It’s really strange watching Killing Joke in a support slot wondering what will be in or out Requiem was in as intense as ever before a cracking version of Eighties, but with killing joke as always they were relentless building and building the intensity the Anathema to the light brought forward by Toyah, set closers in a set that finished way to early were The Wait, Psyche and Pandemonium.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of these huge venues but a real positive is everything runs like clockwork, bands appeared to the minute, and I don’t think even Axl Rose could Fuck up the Cardiff team’s professionalism. Glancing around I can’t really catch/ see the type of Audience that had come to see Billy Idol, people like myself waiting for the Generation X revisit people from the MTV Generation of Rebel Yell, White Wedding Et al, or curious newcomers bearing in mind Billy had a new EP just out, would it herald a more mature approach to songwriting? Maybe going down the Springsteen route? First up ‘Dancing With Myself’ one of two Generation X tracks the other being ‘One Hundred Punks’, From that MTV generation we had Flesh for Fantasy, Eyes without a face, Mony Mony, White Wedding, and Rebel Yell,

From the new ep, each track played had a story “Cage” making you realise how hard Covid had hit people with Billy missing his Mums funeral, “Bitter taste” with the recollection of his Motorbike accident and “Running from the Ghost” a nod to past addictions. As a nod to influence past we had a roaring edition of “Born to lose”.

 All in all, I think King Rocker covered just about everybody, drawing in young, old, and new fans, presented a clear history of some really influential stuff, across a number of Generations, but, yup I have a but! While I recognise the importance of Steve Stevens to the Billy Idol sound I wish someone had just turned the guitar down a notch, instead of providing a counterpoint to the vocals it fought against at times, always right at the front of the mix I’d have preferred it to fit as part of the band sound stepping forward at key points rather than be in your face at all times, the reality is it would have had much more of an impact. But what do I know at the end of the day, if you’re a fan get your skates on, catch this tour if you can, you won’t be disappointed,

Author: Nev Brooks