Monday September 30th, 2004
The Commodore Ballroom
Vancouver, BC Canada
Review and all live pictures by Lord of The Wasteland
Ah yes, it is an election year and what better way to skewer the U.S. government than with a visit from Ministry. Billed as ?The Evil Doer Tour,? Al Jourgensen and Co. descended upon Vancouver to a sell-out crowd and brought along enough American anti-establishment propaganda and anarchy-inciting speeches to get the masses worked up into a frenzy. And remember?this is in Canada, too!
Ministry?s latest CD, HOUSES OF THE MOLE, is a direct jab at George W. Bush and pulls no punches whatsoever. Jourgensen?s disdain for this government is laid out plain and simple with no holds barred. Jourgensen lost his long-time collaborator, Paul Barker, after last year?s ANIMOSITISOMINA and has enlisted a full band for the first time in Ministry?s twenty-year career. Joining him are guitarists Mike Scaccia (ex-Rigor Mortis) and Brian Kehoe (ex-Jerry Cantrell), bassist John Monte (ex-M.O.D., ex-Mindfunk), keyboardist Darryl James and drummer Mark Baker. This ?real? band gives the songs on HOUSES OF THE MOLE a fuller sound than the usual industrial samplings of past records and as was witnessed in a live setting, Jourgensen has chosen wisely. The stage was crowded with at least seven people at any given time including Jourgensen and a female backup vocalist/violinist. Coupled with the endless barrage of seizure-inducing images flashing on the video screen behind them, this show was truly a feast for the eyes.
The crowd was mainly goth and industrial hipsters, but more than a few metalheads joined the ranks, as well. Mohawks, corsets, pleather and piercings were the order of the day and everyone appeared to be on their best behavior. I even saw a guy who must have been 50 years old in a full pleather outfit, head shaved clean and moshing like it was his last day on Earth! The crowd was psyched and the energy in the room was compounded by the ?special guest? who would appear later on.
At precisely 10:00, a guy in a suit and wearing a George W. Bush mask came out and began flashing the peace sign while doing a silly little jig on stage. As ?Carmina Burana? erupted from the speakers, the band came out and launched into ?No W? from the new CD. This song is a direct stab at Bush (get it?No W??) and halfway through, Jourgensen attacks ?Bush,? wrestles him to the ground and begins pummeling him!! It was quite a funny site and many cheers erupted from the crowd as I?m sure people would line up to do the very same thing! The first seven tracks played live were the first seven tracks of HOUSES OF THE MOLE played exactly in order. I would have liked to have heard ?Worm? but the chosen tracks are certainly the best of the bunch. Mark Baker?s machine gun drumming in ?Waiting? and stop/starts during ?WTV? proved that Paul Barker is not indispensable. The hooky melody of ?Worthless? was a crowd favorite and Jourgensen held the microphone out to the front row for fans to shout the chorus. On record, ?Warp City? and ?WTV? are blazingly fast but the band pulled them off flawlessly. Jourgensen kept the stage banter to himself and just kept cranking out the songs, including three from 1992?s PSALM 69, his last stab at a Bush government. Curiously, no songs were played from FILTH PIG, DARK SIDE OF THE SPOON and last year?s ANIMOSITISOMINA CDs and where in the world was ?Stigmata? and ?Jesus Built My Hotrod,? two of the band?s best known songs? ?Deity? was played from THE LAND OF RAPE AND HONEY but not having ?Stigmata? played at a Ministry show definitely felt like a void.
The band played a one hour set before taking a short break and returning for the big surprise. Ex-Dead Kennedys frontman, Jello Biafra, was on hand and the crowd was treated to a three song set of Lard songs, a band formed by Biafra and Jourgensen in the mid-90s. Before the songs got underway though, Biafra, wearing a ?FUCK THE WAR? t-shirt, launched into a tirade about the U.S. government and thanked Canada for providing asylum for people who eluded the draft in the 1970s when the government was forcing young men to go to Vietnam. Biafra warned that Bush is secretly planning to reenact conscription due to the opposition to the Iraq war and asked Canadians to be sympathetic and accepting of U.S. citizens once again who chose not to participate in the pointless war over there. Swathed in a jacket made from the American flag, Biafra finally dropped the yip-yap and pulled off a three-song set of Lard tunes. Some people might know ?Forkboy? from the NATURAL BORN KILLERS soundtrack, but I think most in attendance were waiting for ?So What,? ?Stigmata? and ?Jesus Built My Hotrod? rather than a bunch of obscure songs from a ten year old side project. Still, it was cool to hear Jello?s always amusing rants and be treated to an EXTREMELY rare live performance by these two.
Besides being one of the loudest shows I have ever been to, Ministry?s stop in Vancouver was a real treat for the fact that Jourgensen is finally healthy after kicking a lengthy drug addiction, he?s dropped some weight and his band is tight and spot on. Dropping Jello Biafra into the mix certainly upped the ante, as well. The crowd got their money?s worth and despite a few curious omissions, this should be one of the better shows to come through Vancouver this year.
Just One Fix
War Pimp Renaissance (Lard)
I Wanna Be A Drug-Sniffing Dog (Lard)
Visit Minstry?s official website: www.ministrymusic.org
Read my review of HOUSES OF THE MOLE
Thanks to Jamie at House of Blues
www.hob.com for the ticket and photo pass.