I gotta say that against all odds (like Iggy Pop odds), not only is Al Jourgensen still alive but he’s pretty fucking vibrant. Heading into town with re-vamped tour mates from the previously canceled tour, Jourgensen was full of piss and vinegar as he railed against the injustices and inhumanities that somehow never go out of style. (The set started with a pro-solidarity banner for the atrocities that Putin is committing in Ukraine). Bringing back the old chain link fencing of yore that some in the crowd remembered from their shows at The Channel decades ago, Jourgensen and band which featured original Tool bassist Paul D’Amour brought down a firestorm of rage, hate, pain but ultimately catharsis as well. Middle fingers extended throughout, the set ranged from all aspects of Ministry’s storied career and tossed in two key Pailhead songs along with the 1000 Homo DJs cover of Sabbath’s “Supernaut.”
Ostensibly touring on the 30th anniversary of their seminal record The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste, “Burning Inside” and “Thieves” blasted a small crater in the building, Jourgensen’s echoing vocals spitting venom about politicians, or perhaps just two-faced people in general. The band’s biggest hits got a huge response and crowd surfers were frequent during “NWO” that featured a famous George Bush sample and “Just One Fix,” which featured noted William Tell failure William S Burroughs as in the music video. (Aside – if you want to know more about the provenance of the samples Ministry has employed over the years, head over here). The fence came down at the encore, ending in a lugubrious cover of “Search And Destroy,” two verbs that Jourgensen’s been well acquainted with throughout his 63 years on this rock. One last point about their set that needs to be said was a pretty touching tribute Al made to all of the deceased members of Ministry, saying that he couldn’t have done it without them.
Melvins took the middle slot as the original and then revised tour had KFMDM, Front Line Assembly and ersatz fill-ins Helmet were all replaced. It was actually very pleasurable to see Melvins at a venue that wasn’t The Paradise and while it wasn’t their usual headlining gig they packed a huge punch in the allotted time they had. Crover had his drums set up on the stage at the back with no riser, which looked a little funny given how big the House of Blues stage is, but anyone familiar with how he plays knows that you’d hear him if he was playing inside Fenway Park. Some drummers hit hard; Crover wears those gloves that cowboys wear when roping calves so he doesn’t flay the skin right off his hands. Redd Kross/OFF! bass man Steven McDonald was once again in the lineup and got to sing a deep cut from Redd Kross’ debut record. King Buzzo isn’t really one for kitsch but the walk-on theme of “Sanford and Son” and the giant projected background image of Endora from Bewitched might suggest otherwise to neophytes. Once they started playing it was all business, no talking just bludgeoning with super riffs of “Civilized Worm,” “The Kicking Machine,” “Anaconda” and a brutally heavy take on “It’s Shoved.”
It’s easy to take this band for granted as they tour incessantly and have seemingly been around forever but their reach across the metal world is deep, tendrils that touch parts much farther and wider than most bands. Tonight was a clinic in how you write and play heavy riffs and if that wasn’t apparent, their final trilogy of “Hooch” into “Honey Bucket” and ending with “The Bit” was a most emphatic way to express it.
Drawing opening duties was Corrosion Of Conformity, Woody Weatherman’s long-running band that also features Pepper Keenan when he isn’t playing in NOLA supergroup Down. “La Grange” was the walk-on music, and southern kickass was served up piping hot. Fast, lean and mean, anyone who showed up late missed out on a pretty fantastic set. If you could program AI to generate the music equivalent of a big block V8 with a Holley carb, it would be pretty close to COC.