Saturday, May 17, 2008

And Away We Go

I have been meaning to start this for several months. I would love to work for a magazine or webzine because I would like to think that I'm a decent enough writer to review things. I would love to make money to do this so that I can move out of my friend's basement where I feel like some sort of unwelcome troll. My plan is to review all sorts of things, mostly music related. I wrote the following review of Ministry's final show. No magazine editor would even read it because they had no jobs to give, so I decided to publish it myself here:

May 11, 2008 marked the end. Al Jourgensen put his near-30 year odyssey to sleep in the city it began. I'm sure not even he could have imagined that this was going to be the way Ministry would end when it began in 1981. Not with a whimper, but with a bang. And on Mother's Day of all days.

What started as a techno act, much in the vein of local contemporaries and labelmates My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, would soon grow and explode into one of the loudest, fastest, and even occasionally thought-provoking industrial bands ever. After the departure of longtime bandmate Paul Barker in 2003, there has been a revolving door of musicians more than eager to join Jourgensen in adding to his canon. It is astounding the following that Ministry has cultivated having never earned platinum status, going gold only once with 1992's classic Psalm 69. In addition to their legion of fans, they have influenced countless acts such as Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM.

The last stop of the "C U LaTour" begins strangely with listening to Ministry's gift to the Chicago Blackhawks, "Keys To the City," accompanied by a Blackhawks emblem on a screen. The image is then replaced by a revolving skull to the tune of "I'm Not Gay," from the Revolting Cocks. The set itself from the industrial/metal pioneers of Jourgensen and his current group of hired hands from Prong, Megadeth, and Static-X was an unrelenting hour-plus assault featuring songs from their last three albums, the anti-Bush trilogy of Houses Of the Mole', Rio Grande Blood, and The Last Sucker. While the songs' lyrical content can sometimes border on ridiculous, the music never ceases to energize and rile people up. "Let's Go," is the perfect beginning to this runaway train. The set only takes short moments to breathe as the blitzkrieg of "No W," and "Lieslieslies," blisters and roars.
The older classics would be represented in the first encore with Burton Bell from Fear Factory filling in on vocal duties on "N.W.O.", "Thieves,", "So What,", and "Just One Fix,". This was entertaining but it would have been nice if Al Jourgensen felt the need to sing the songs that built his fanbase himself. Though it was nice to see him with a guitar again.
Before the second encore, the crew had brought out a megaphone. I turned to my friend and said, "They're gonna do it! He's here!". This was an improper assumption and I wish I hadn't raised her hopes as Gibby Haynes of the Butthole Surfers did not come out and join in on the ignored "Jesus Built My Hotrod,". The Animositisomina, Filth Pig, Dark Side Of the Spoon, and The Land Of Rape and Honey albums failed to be represented entirely. Instead of relishing in his past glories, Jourgensen and crew thought it would be a better idea to play a few cover songs to promote the recent release Cover Up. The megaphone was attached to a harmonica that Bell played on the Doors' "Roadhouse Blues,".
While the last encore was a bit of an anticlimax from the rest of the show, it demonstrated that Ministry has always been the child of Al Jourgensen and that he can treat it any way he likes. It was a long journey to get to this night and if he wants to go out playing the Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb,", then who am I or anyone else to tell him no? His career has been his way and putting an end to Ministry is his prerogative. While we may have heard the last of these songs live, we have not heard the last of Al, Alien, Alain, Jourgensen a.ka. Hypo Luxa. Prepare to hail Buck Satan!

The Setlist
  1. Let's Go
  2. The Dick Song
  3. Watch Yourself
  4. Life Is Good
  5. The Last Sucker
  6. No W
  7. Waiting
  8. Worthless
  9. Wrong
  10. Rio Grande Blood
  11. SeƱor Peligro
  12. Lieslieslies
  13. Khyber Pass
  14. So What
  15. N.W.O.
  16. Just One Fix
  17. Thieves
  18. Roadhouse Blues
  19. Just Got Paid
  20. Under My Thumb
Now, tell me that wasn't great. You can't! More to come.

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