We don’t cover much metal around here, but when we do it’s legendary bands like Ministry that get us out head-banging at Irving Plaza. SixxiS opened up the night and was a hybrid rock band that touched on metal, but almost sounded orchestral, with many layers including tons of keys and a violin. The Atlanta band played a mix of hard rock tunes, which were a full wall of sound and had the early arriving crowd warmed up nicely for what was to come.
Once the lights dropped and the fog machine pumped out copious amounts of smoke, Ministry took the stage beginning with the drummer followed by the rest of the band. As soon as Al Jourgensen, who resembled an acid-trip induced nuclear-holocaust pirate/vampire stepped on stage, the place went nuts. All eyes were on him, and followed his sauntering movements all while pointing his skulled cane at everyone in the front row. At one point Al tapped the top of my head with said cane, and I felt immediately more evil and akin to the great lead singer.
Ministry isn’t your typical metal band, never have been really as they fall on the industrial side of the genre and inspired bands like NIN, Rob Zombie and Rammstein. Instead of discussing partying and strippers, Ministry takes on more serious issues in their songs including, the dangers of big government and crooked politicians. Add in the wide ranged synths, raging guitars, hammering and tribalistic drumming – and Al’s distorted vocals, this is a different animal altogether.
Uncle Al (it’s what the kids call him now) also may be one of the most engaging front-men out there, never failing to make eye contact with everyone, passing out beers and high fives like it was a summer cookout in his backyard. For a dude that’s been through the ringer with hard drugs and the hazards of touring for nearly 30 years, Al Jourgensen was at the top of his game and anyone wanting to be a hard rocking musician should take notes as he’s the gold standard.
Things really picked up near the end of the first set with “Lies, Lies, Lies” and when they came back on for the encore, Ministry really hit their stride with classics such as “N.W.O,” “Just One Fix” and “So What.” The energy was palpable from the crowd and the band alike, and when the show ended we were all reminded that Ministry is still one of the best live bands out there today.
Ministry is now on tour, check here for dates.
Article: Shayne Hanley