Monday, April 14, 2008

New World Odor

[Music] Strobe lights can make anything seem more exciting than it might actually be. Like the Ministry concert at In the Venue last Friday night--early evening, really, since showtime was 8 p.m. and cursed sunlight was bleeding in.

No amount of sun could detract from the strobes, though--those suckers were cranked for two solid hours while Al Jourgensen & Co. goose-stepped through the catalogue of Ministry hits. Al rarely strayed from his ornate cow-skull mic stand, which propped him up center-stage. While the boss was underplaying it, guitarist Tommy Victor (Prong) pranced and posed like a odd cross between Kiss' Paul Stanley and a WWE rassler, prompting the crowd to get those hands up every 10 seconds. He even got around to playing his guitar a couple of times, the multitasker.

Still, Ministry was absolutely on fire when they ripped into songs like "So What," "Thieves" and "Rio Grande Blood," the title track of what's arguably the band's last great album (The Last Sucker is well-named, and the new Cover Up is pure filler). All that hate for Dubya does a band good.

Reaching back to '91 and Bush 1, Fear Factory singer Burton Bell (fresh from hitting on ladies in the audience and pulling the "Don't You Know Who I Am?" card, by first-hand reports) took the lead on "New World Order" while Al strummed a coffin guitar to the side. It was another sonically brutal moment, of which there were enough to outweigh the phone-it-in feel of the newer numbers--Ministry has nothing to prove, but they did anyway.

But encoring with "Roadhouse Blues" and "Just Got Paid" from Cover Up? Dick move, Al. Not quite Dick Cheney, though ... (Bill Frost)

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