Ministry + 3TEETH
@ SWG3, Glasgow
Wednesday 3rd July 2019
Review By Pete Mutant
Ministry were back in Glasgow, a town they have frequented on many occasions; not even a whole year ago in fact. Last year, on the 18th of July, Ministry were at there very same venue as tonight’s gig: the SWG3. The original plan last year was the O2 ABC but that legendary venue was gutted by a tragic fire that emanated from the School of Art behind it. The fire spread and the roof which once had housed the giant disco ball that glittered with the shimmering light of thousands of gigs collapsed. Heart breaking stuff.
SWG3 has been a worthy saviour though and has been becoming more prominent as a home for an increasing surge of metal acts coming into the city. Ministry are an interesting bridge between the metal and electronic acts though and I feel that this venue suits this type of band down to a tee. There’s a soulful street feel to the venue. Impressive works of graffiti are dotted about on your way to the venue as the road in narrows. The venue itself is an old school warehouse with two different staging areas. We were going to be in the main hall for this one, the one with the bar no less.
Ministry were bringing with them fellow countrymen and, might I say, a worthy support act in 3TEETH who were back in Glasgow for the first time in four years. They headlined at Audio last time but they were now ready to open up proceedings on a grander stage (in size, not magnitude). They almost never made it, having issues with British immigration which led to them missing out on playing in Bristol on the first leg of the UK tour. Their page on Facebook was full of anxious fans waiting on updates on how things were progressing. With one triumphant post, their successful entrance to the UK and immediate readiness to play in Glasgow was announced. Enough with the drama, time for some music.
3TEETH [4/5] took to the stage to a decent sized crowd and kicked things off with ‘Divine Weapon’. The eerie Gregorian sounding chants rang out as the music was building. When vocalist Alexis Mincolla took to the stage, a small roar came from the crowd. He was quite the towering figure, looking like some cybergoth version of a Mad Max villain in his body armour suit and trenchcoat. Kind of what you’d imagine an artist that plays heavy/industrial music would look like. The aesthetic was there as he channelled the forces of the music and spat out the harsh vitriol to the crowd. It was a slow stomping entrance but it set the mood right.
‘EXXXIT’ kept the stomping sound going as we were getting some thumping snare from drummer Justin Hanson. This one had more of a chorus to it as the band were working to break the mould of the crowd and inspire some interaction. The trenchcoat was gone after the second track finished which meant it was time to get serious. ‘AMERICAN LANDFILL’ was much heavier and the crowd were beginning to get the picture as some movement was stimulated throughout the venue. The guitar that broke through was exceedingly heavy and had such a full on tone to it. Things were progressing nicely.
The tempo didn’t really increase much throughout the set but the pulsating rhythm was a constant drive of synchronised heaviness. The darkness of the music was accented with some horror-tinged synths which would lead to some powerful breaks of combining instruments. The electronic components worked in brutal synergy with the rest of the band which culminated at the apex when they hit out with ‘Atrophy’, the song I was most excited to witness. It all just worked brilliantly: the dark industrial techno, the seismic drums, the massive ascending riff and the distorted vocals merged and congealed into a deluge of titanic force.
Alexis Mincolla said he felt “like a piece of KFC fried chicken” before they kicked back into the music; can only imagine what that feels like. They still had enough energy to get through the last few songs as ‘Pit Of Fire’ kept things heavy before the lights went out and we were heading towards the penultimate track. ‘Tabula Umbra’ was a slow crawling creep towards the grand finish which took its form in ‘Master Of Decay’. That was a fine introduction to 3TEETH’s live abilities and I was very impressed. A good way to break that mould indeed.
Tower of Disease
Pit of Fire
Master of Decay
We were all loosened up by the time Ministry took to the stage [4.0 /5] and the crowd had filled up the floor, much more compact now than earlier. The band members walked out one by one as the American flag was projected in a green light throughout the hall. The drums kicked in and a mighty riff announced ‘I Know Words’. We were still missing our good pal Uncle Al Jourgensen, but when he walked out the crowd gave an almighty roar and he took to the impressive mic stand. It was a cracking song to start us off. It was a heavy introduction and we went straight into ‘Twilight Zone’ which had some nice variation, especially as the trippy harmonicas rang out and against the slow pound of the music.
The crowd loved it and movement was starting to pick up amongst the crowd as the pace was quickening. Things were only going to get more frantic as we went into the supremely thrashy ‘We’re Tired of It’. This change in tact brought on the first pit of the evening as bodies started flying into each other. Al was channelling the crowd next as ‘Wargasm’ kept the charge on and the fans reciprocated. The guitar tone was pretty bang on and the lead from Cesar Soto during ‘Antifa’ was quite exceptional. ‘Antifa’ also brought more spectacle to the show with some flagbearers waving the Antifa flag one opposite of the other on stage. With the lights, the flags, the band’s energy and the chaos of the music, it was all becoming a mad orgy of stimulation.
The pace calmed down again as the first half of the set was completed by ‘Game Over’ then ‘AmeriKKKa’. You see, Ministry’s sets have been cleverly divided into two distinct sets. The first set gives us more recent works whereas the second half is all oldies. An interesting concept and not one I’m used to inset structure but it worked a charm. Old Uncle Al had some “doggie treats” for us still as he thanked us for the reception so far and kicked into the older stuff starting with ‘The Missing’. The tempo was accelerated once again but the sound seemed to suffer somehow and things sounded a bit tunnelly. The crowd didn’t seem to notice and many were screaming along. The pit was going strong too as we next went into ‘Deity’ which brought more speed and a lot of chopping rhythm.
It was hit after hit. Classic after classic and the crowd were lapping up every second of the old stuff. ‘Stigmata’ probably topped the class of the classics though. The blast beats from drummer Derek Abrams brought us in and the whole venue lit up. Some were singing, others were clapping and the rest were flying into each other with no quarter given. It was a brilliant song and next, we were getting another belter in ‘Jesus Built Me A Hotrod’. Of course, there was a punter in his trusty Jesus costume brandishing a wrench who was conducting the pit for this one. We got our first crowd surfer going too so things were really ramping up. Al was certainly enjoying himself too as he added “Glasgow comes through as usual. The rowdy bunch of the tour. You guys crack me up!”.
This was right before they smashed us with ultra-heavy ‘Just One Fix’ which had the crowd bouncing along to the rhythm. Things were kept heavy as we went into the last two tracks before the set was ended with a cover of Revolting Cocks’ ‘No Devotion’ which seemed to end the set on a slightly uneven keel. It was odd but had its own psychedelic moments which had ex-Tool bassist Paul D’Amour look quite at home having recently joined the band after all. It was strange but still good, just like Ministry I guess. It was a great night of music that had its ups with little to complain about. It was a first time for me seeing both these acts, I was not disappointed and I would put my money on saying that no one else who attended was either. Cheers Al et al., hopefully, will be seeing you again sometime in the very near future.
I Know Words
Victims of a Clown
We’re Tired of It
Jesus Built My Hotrod
Just One Fix