Saturday, April 12, 2008
Ministry at the House of Blues Sunset (4/6/08)
I was curious what kind of crowd would show up on a Sunday night at the House of Blues Sunset. The parking prices had been sliced in half as well as the number of people strolling around Sunset Blvd. After seeing the bands two nights in a row, it took some extra effort to make the trek down to Hollywood. I was luckily rewarded with the best show of the three night stand.
Meshuggah unfortunately experienced some technical problems during their set. It appeared that Tomas Haake (Drums) couldn't hear the rest of the band in his monitors which is crucial in a band like Meshuggah. The last two songs of the Meshuggah set were "Straws Pulled At Random" and "Future Breed Machine". "Straws Pulled At Random" is another drum clinic as Tomas's cymbals clattered with errant snare hits sporadically hitting while the guitars signaled impending doom. Marten Hagström would crouch down and pluck out the bridge portion of the song as he really need the extra leverage to reach his hand across the neck of his guitar. "Future Breed Machine" was written before they had eight string guitars but still manages to be one of the heaviest Meshuggah songs ever. Meshuggah would also pause for a few moments after starting the song to let the anticipation build. It was the perfect way to close their set every night. I can only hope Meshuggah comes back for their own headlining tour.
I could sense that the crowd was different in comparison to the prior two nights of Ministry. I wasn't the only one as Al Jourgensen (Vocals/Guitars) excluded any "Guest list" comments from his usual concert banter. This particular show seemed sharper compared to the others and I could see the expression of satisfaction on Al's face when he walked off the stage and hugged Tommy Victor (Guitars).
The first encore of songs kicked the show into another gear as Ministry would play "So What" from their album The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste. Wayne Static (Vocals) from Static-X would come out and help Al sing the song while clutching his cheat sheet. The second night was probably the best rendition of the song as Wayne worked in his characteristic barks to the song.
The next surprise was Burton Bell from Fear Factory would come out and sing "N.W.O." through Al's distorted vocal microphone stand. As a big fan of Fear Factory back in the day, I couldn't have been more excited as Burton simply devastated with his vocals. Al was busy rocking out with his Schecter Coffin case guitar during the song adding background vocals sporadically.
The recorded screams from "Just One Fix" howled as Burton continued to supply his trademark growl with the pit spinning at maximum velocity. I started to have flashbacks of my first Ministry concert back in 1992. The energy and atmosphere was exponentially elevated as the crowd enthusiastically sang along to the songs. The "old school" encore was capped with "Thieves" augmented with flashing strobes to terrorize your eyes. A fan in the crowd held up an old "Jesus Built My Hotrod" t-shirt to which Al remarked "Gibby isn't here. Maybe in New York".
The second encore was a batch of covers selected from Ministry's Cover Up album. Burton Bell stuck around to help play harmonica through a bullhorn for "Roadhouse Blues". "Just Got Paid" was Al's tribute to ZZ top as he sliced into some evil screaming harmonics on his guitar. "Under My Thumb" had Al switch to an acoustic guitar while managing to make the song stylistically fit within the context of Ministry. I still have my doubts that this will be the last Ministry tour, but at least I can say I caught all three Los Angeles shows.
Ministry Setlist for the House of Blues Sunset for all three nights.
"The Dick Song"
"Life is Good"
"The Last Sucker"
"Rio Grande Blood"
"So What" with Wayne Static from Static-X
"NWO" with Burton C. Bell from Fear Factory for the rest of the songs
"Just One Fix"
"Just Got Paid"
"Under My Thumb"