Thursday, April 10, 2008
Ministry at the House of Blues Sunset (4/5/08)
My ears were still ringing as I walked into the House of Blues Sunset for round 2 of Ministry , Meshuggah and Hemlock. The Ministry show on Saturday was sold out and I expected a higher degree of chaos. The chaos would ensue when Ministry went into their first encore.
I guess I should give Hemlock points for trying but it is impossible to open for Meshuggah. Chad Davis (Bass/Vocals) at one point asked the crowd if anyone had extra tickets to Universal Studios. I was embrassed for the band at this point.
Did you get the impression that I really like Meshuggah in my prior review? As much as I marveled over the guitar sorcery of Fredrik Thordendal and Marten Hagström, I would like to introduce you to one of the premier drummers in metal. His name is Tomas Haake. Tomas had a huge double bass drum Sonor kit set up with rows of cymbals at his disposal. I could literally see small chunks of wood fly from his drumsticks and dance on his cymbals as he punished them for being within his reach. Tomas had his Hi-Hat on the right side with another cymbal directly above it to amplifly the clatter and noise. I dare Rock Band to place a Meshuggah song in the game. "Electric Red" from their album obZen ironically had the stage washed with red lights as the synchronized head banging of Marten, Fredrik and Dick Lövgren (Bass) contrasted Jens Kidsmen's icy stare out into the crowd. "Rational Gaze" was completely irrational with Fredrik's crying lead solo into a bizarre mixture of cymbal clashing and Jens's vocal shocks. Meshuggah have me shaking my head in disbelief everytime I see them.
Ministry gave another solid performance that was superior to their Friday show as the packed house provided an extra energy boost for the band. This boost still didn't prevent Al Jourgensen from making the chippy remarks of "Were you on the guest list?" But to Al's credit, he didn't ask this quite as frequently compared to Friday. After a small batch of songs from The Last Sucker, Ministry delved into their album Houses of the Molé by thrashing away on "No W", "Worthless" and "Waiting". Tony Campos (Bass) had his custom Fernandes Bass brandished with a Static-X logo. John Bechdel (Keyboards) had a CME keyboard controller as he triggered various synth sounds and samples. I have to give credit to Aaron Rossi (Drums) for pounding on the drums for almost two hours at a neck breaking pace. Aaron didn't miss a beat during the three night stint. The encore was probably my favorite part of the show but a close second was the triple song attack from their album Rio Grande Blood. "Rio Grande Blood" was unrelenting as I found myself shaking my fist in the air singing along. "Senor Peligro" has Al's classic distorted vocals and screams as the band kept pace. "Lies Lies Lies" rounded out the trio with more distorted vocals as various band members would rattle the chain link fence. Tommy Victor usually finished up the song "Khyber Pass" by scraping his guitar along the chain link fence and letting his guitar hang precariously from the fence as the amps blared with feedback. The blast from the past would be the encore of older songs accompanied by a few special guests. I will highlight these songs and guests in my last installment of Ministry reviews.