GIANT INFLATABLE NAZI TRUMP CHICKENS! Glad to see we have your attention. This next part is best read in the movie voiceover guy’s voice…
In an underground abandoned warehouse hidden in an archway somewhere along the Clydeside, is a gritty, cutting edge new venue, which for one night only, is home to hundreds of goths, an incredible sound system… and a 58 year old Cuban guy with dreadlocks named Al. This is the industrial metal Armageddon that is: Ministry. Also, you know, Chelsea Wolfe… we like those guys, too.
It is rare to find a truly interesting support act. What started off the evening was a performance which really does make the event feel like audience is part of something super underground, and that’s not only due to the fact that the show is basically being held in a cave with a bar. It almost borders on the avant garde. Chelsea Wolfe’s set seems entirely otherworldly. While the name conjures images of yet another hardcore band, surprisingly what you get are blinding lights and the gloriously gloomy lamentations of the tormented spirits trapped in the netherworld.
Everything is black save for the blinding white lights in the centre of the stage. Their material is sludgy, melancholic and effortless. To steal a quote from a woman at the barrier, “you don’t understand what it’s like to be a misunderstood goth!”. There is so much pain, intensity and emotion put into Chelsea’s vocals that at times it appears like she is possessed. She has a balance of both power and femininity that is truly haunting to witness. It may just be great showmanship or stage presence, but it ultimately leaves you thinking “wow, who were those guys?” long after they have departed the stage.
Then of course, between sets, all of the colour floods back into the world with the arrival of the aforementioned chickens (it seems our State-side friends approve of the hilarious Trump baby stunt in London last week) and the new mic stand complete with bloody skull and skeletal angel wings. The vibrant, almost neon lighting and the clips shown on the screens on either side of the stage are the absolute antithesis of the dingy, brooding setup of the support act.
Now, for most musicians, the audience booing when they emerge on to the stage is a waking nightmare. But when Ministry introduces their set with a remixed excerpt from the infamous “We will make America great again” speech by Lord Cheeto-Puff-Tiny-Hands himself, they are doing so in solidarity with the band. This is the no holds barred message the world needs to hear, told with anonymous masked guitarists and the use of several microphones and megaphones for different vocal effects – that is something you don’t see much of these days.
Everything about this particular gig seems so fresh and unlike any usual show you would go to on a Saturday night. It is rather enlightening, and yet so nostalgic of the good ol’ days of industrial metal – the early 90’s. Yes, we feel old too. Immediately upon entering the room, Jourgensen explodes into an electric rendition of “Twilight Zone”. Now they really have your attention.
There are elements of Slayer, old school punk and good old fashioned heavy metal throughout the set, combined with a kaleidoscope of visual effects and a tongue in cheek sense of humour. For both the old school fans and the newbies, Ministry have put on a decent balance of the old and the new. Put simply by Al himself, “You’ve heard the new album and the new politics. Now you will be rewarded… with the old shit, but with the same damn politics!”.
There are the classics like “Just One Fix”, “Lies, Lies, Lies” and of course an abundance of tracks from AmeriKKKant like “Wargasm” and not forgetting “Antifa”, complete with masked dancing girls brandishing the red and black flag.
The underdogs have risen and found their new leaders. If you weren’t a fan before, you’ll definitely be convinced now.
All photos by Katie Frost Photography