Godflesh / Ministry Feb 24th - Corner Hotel

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Calfium Jay
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Godflesh / Ministry Feb 24th - Corner Hotel

Post by Calfium Jay » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:29 am

To say that a year ago I would have thought that the prospect of witnessing these two giants of "industrial rock" together on the same bill in my own home town would have been a "cold day in hell" is a massive understatement. Even though Ministry (and to some extent Godflesh) are WAAAAAY past their prime these days (the last three or four Ministry albums were nothing but a stinky pile of excrement), the thought of attending a once in a lifetime event such as this was "mind blowing" to say the least. I've been a Ministry and Godflesh fan since 1991 - when everyone else around me was falling in love with the likes of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell and pretending to be "hurt and affected" like their new found idol Mr K. Cobain.

In fact, both seminal releases The Land Of Rape & Honey and Streetcleaner served as "gateway" albums during my impressionable teenage years, leading me on to discover such industrial luminaries as Throbbing Gristle, Test Dept, Killing Joke, Swans, Einsturzende Neubauten and Coil. So I have both bands to thank for expanding my young mind somewhat.

So with that cursory little sidenote out of the way - on to the show itself.

It was a lengthy queue that greeted the eye when me and my "industrial posse" arrived at The Corner around 8pm on a warm-ish Tuesday evening. Stretching out the door and curving all around the venue itself, we soon found ourselves in line halfway down a dark and dank side street. Looking around, it seemed like this gig was to serve as a giant magnet for every goth, industrial-poser, "alterna" metal head and freaky "no idea how to describe this person" in Melbourne. Rarely has such a mottled crew of fringe-dwellers been assembled in one place since Neubauten played The Palace some years back. A sea of black Swans, Godflesh, Butthole Surfers, Melvins, Neubauten t-shirts as far of the eye could see - I was more or less right in my element and felt enthused from the outset.

Inside, The Corner was packed to the nines and the atmosphere was suitably electric.

Within about ten minutes of walking into the crowded band room, Godflesh - in all their triumphant glory - took the stage. Ominous and silent (neither spoke much) they stood, shrouded in darkness, lit only by the triad of tripped out visual display screens both behind them and on each side.

I barely had time to shield my ears from the expected audio onslaught when the duo launched into the classic, Streetcleaner era "Like Rats". The sound hit me like a wall of warm, fat air and never let up for the next hour or so. It was heavenly. The first couple of tracks were all lifted from Streetcleaner, including - much to my surprise - the almost forgotten Steetcleaner *bonus track* "Tiny Tears". "Christbait Rising", "Streetcleaner" each got an airing and were appropriately dished out with an air of menace and controlled brutality that is rarely seen at gigs these days. The duo acted like a single unit - a pulsing throbbing machine that left no one standing in its wake. Absolutely godly.

But it was the Pure-era tracks that had me entranced. As soon as those mountain levelling hip hop beats of the title track issued forth from the speakers I was in industrial heaven. Lurching in time with each shuddering beat, I lost myself in totally in the moment. I didn't care what anybody thought (although many around me were similarly tranced out) I just went for it and didn't stop until there was silence. "Spite" was equally deadly.

The band finished on a high note with the only Selfless track of the night, the short but incredibly sweet "Crush My Soul". I had never been much of a fan of this particular song, but hearing it live and feeling the scathing distortion and machine gun like blasts of the drum machine rendered completely under its spell.

Then it was all over. Justin bowed and scraped and thanked the crowd and was gone. I doubt I will ever witness this live act ever again.

A half hour later, during which I had an angry confrontation with a "friend" of mine who had turned up at the gig on speed and making all sorts of accusations about our "friendship" which saw me almost ram his head through a wall, Ministry took to the stage.

Headed by the almost "mythical" and somewhat legendary industrial metal Godfather, Al Jourgenson, Ministry and I have had a somewhat "patchy" relationship over the last ten or so years. Not so long after studio "whizz kid" and long time Ministry collaborator, Paul Barker, left the band in 2003, the band's material - in my humble opinion - took a nose dive that started with the fairly average Ministry-by-numbers Houses Of The Mole and ended with the execrable recently released From Beer To Eternity. In fact, if I must be truthful, Ministry's downward spiral in their later years surpasses that of even Metallica's St Anger/Lulu follies - which is really, REALLY saying something.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting to be moved by the night's impending performance.....

And they didn't really disappoint in that regard.

All the "ingredients" were there - the suitably darkened set, the tripped out visuals (which were quite impressive I must admit..), the skull and bones set pieces. The band were tight and Al was in fine (if not geriatric) form. But I failed to lose myself in the whole shebang. The recent material is just TOO dumbed down, too red neck and too "politically in yer face" for my liking.

Once upon a time, they were one of the most cryptic, most sinister and most mysterious acts out there - like a too damn good to be true mixture of Killing Joke, Black Sabbath, Public Image, The Birthday Party and Foetus. I worshipped the very ground they walked on and waited patiently (excruciatingly so) for each and every release.

But those days are long gone. On this night we were treated to a barrage of "industrial butt rock" with tawdry "I hate Bush and CNN" slogans rammed incessantly and somewhat crudely into the audience. "I don't give a fuck cos I'm Al Fucking Jourgenson" he screams on opener Hail To His Majesty. So much for subtlety, eh! And it didn't get much better. Punch In The Face, Permawar, Life Is Good, Lies Lies Lies....each crush-a-beercan-on-yr-forehead track blended into the next and I found myself concentrating more on the lightning fast trippy, strobe like visuals than I did the actual gig itself.

The crowd lapped it up though and went suitably wild. I merely clapped politely now and then. Sorry Al, I just can't go along with you on this. I think you lost me somewhere along the way after you released "I Hate George W. Bush Pt. XXIV" some years back.

<yawns>

Aaaaah for the good ol days.....
People like me just want to watch the world burn.

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Re: Godflesh / Ministry Feb 24th - Corner Hotel

Post by hellboy » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:45 am

Thanks for the review. I'm sure Godflesh would have been much better in a club type environment - during the day at Soundwave just isn't their thing.

I think we can all agree that Ministry are a shadow of their former selves, however it appeared that their live performance hasn't dipped anywhere near as low as their studio performances.

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