On Thursday, December 6th Ministry stormed the stage of New York City’s Irving Plaza for a two night stand along with support from French synthwave trio Carpenter Brut and New Zealand’s Mãori thrash metal band Alien Weaponry. Ministry have been at the forefront of Industrial Metal for over 35 years since pioneering the sound of the two with lyrics fueled by religion and politics.
Out on their first ever U.S. tour, the teenage trio from Waipu, New Zealand Alien Weaponry started the show off that evening giving the crowd a taste of Mãori thrash metal, combining songs written in both English and the bands native New Zealand language of Te Reo Mãori. While some of their music had a tribal chant like vibe backed by a powerful hard hitting and aggressive sound much reminiscent of Sepultura’s Roots album, others had a more straight forward thrash sound delivered by powerful vocal melodies that made the young trio stand out with a refreshingly unique sound showing the bands true potential for being future heavy hitters in metal.
Completely changing up the pace of the show was the French synthwave group Carpenter Brut. A trio of silhouettes were highlighted by images projected on a large screen showing movie clips and words like Cheerleader and Killer along with others acting as lyrics while electronic synthwave beats mixed with live guitar and drums tried to bring life into the somewhat lazy older crowd that felt as if they were in an 80’s vampire movie only minus the blood suckers. I even had one fan in the crowd ask me why there were no lyrics to any of the songs.
As the intro on the bands 14th studio album AmeriKKKant “I Know Words” which is President Trump’s “We will make America great again” slowed down on top of a devilishly haunting beat played over the P.A. to the rising cheers of life long die-hard fans, the members of Ministry began to make their way onto the stage while a montage of clips of presidential monuments, the American flag, fires burning to the president himself played on a backdrop of projected tv’s stacked on top of one and other. With keyboardist Josh Bechdel, guitarist Sin Quirin and Cesar Soto, drummer Derek Abrams and bassist Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Static X) all on stage, the band would rip right into the following track “Twilight Zone” while frontman Al Jourgensen made his way out and took his place on stage behind an illuminated steel crucifix sculpture with multiple mics resembling a podium. Following along with the track list of AmeriKKKant the band continued on through the first half of their set playing the album in its entirety, with one highlight coming during the track “Anifa” that include two individuals dressed in black wearing bandanas concealing their faces marching side to side on the stage waving flags that branded anarchist symbols while oversized yellow smiley face balloons were bounced around the crowd.
After the final track on AmeriKKKant, “AmeriKKKa” was played the band would leave the stage for a brief intermission that lasted for what seemed to be a few minutes. After returning to the stage Uncle Al thank the crowd composed of young newcomers to the older lifers for taking their time to enjoy the new stuff, then letting the crowd know that he would be rewarding everyone with “doggie treats”, in other words a second half set filled classic Ministry hits.
Kicking off the second half of their set with “The Land of Rape and Honey”, video clips of riots were projected on the large screen backdrop along with photos of Hitler morphing into President Trump while Jourgensen grooved his way around the stage and even joining in with the crowd bouncing the oversized smiley face balloons around. The crowd would then get three more from the 1988 classic with “The Missing”, “Deity”, and “Stigmata”. With Jourgensen announcing each track on the set there was no surprise to what was coming, as he would announce “Just One Fix” it was obviously no surprise that this and the following track “N.W.O.” were the heavy crowd pleasers of the evening. Ministry continued to send the crowd into a frenzy with another heavy fan fav “Thieves” before ending their set with “So What”.
Uncle Al thanked the crowd over and over for their warm welcome before taking his final exit from the stage, giving the fans at Irving Plaza an amazingly memorable show and proving to fans (not that he even had to) that even at 60 years old Uncle Al hasn’t lost one god damn step.