18th August 2016
Review and photography by David McKnight
Every time I go and see Ministry it is in a heatwave! The sticky and oppressive evening in Birmingham outside was maybe just in sympathy for what we were going to experience once we got inside the Birmingham Institute. There was a long queue down the side of the venue so it was obvious it was going to be a rammed gig.
Touring with Ministry were DevilDriver. It did feel like a slightly unusual fit as their sound was much more a straight metal sound than the industrial metal to come later in the night. If I am honest at the very start it did feel a little like they weren’t quite clicking with all of the audience but as we went through the set that changed.
Introducing ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ with a cry of “Now for some real power rock”, the front of the audience definitely agreed as a circle pit instantly opened up.
Whilst it calmed down a bit for ‘My Night Sky’, it kicked off again with the ominously pounding bass-heavy intro to ‘Before The Hangman’s Noose’. By this stage everyone was hooked on Devildriver and the whole audience was clapping along. Though supposedly a support band, they were on stage for well over an hour and with a storming set.
End of the Line
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
I Could Care Less
My Night Sky
Before the Hangman’s Noose
Clouds Over California
Meet the Wretched
The stage was set for Ministry, with the iconic centrepiece microphone stand in place. As the music started Al came on the stage and started pacing from side to side with the mic. Slowly working himself, and with him the audience, up for what was to come. As we things built up we had the back projections to look at with their twin themes of war and political disaster.
The first few songs were really part of that build up. Señor Peligro lifted the audience but it wasn’t until we reached what is absolutely classic Ministry that the audience came alive.
As the opening to ‘New World Order’ came on the entire place erupted into a mass of movement. The sound was tight and the pounding beats found their way into a pounding pit.
Al took this song to break out a guitar and play as well as sing for a bit.
NWO came to a close with an extended and very drums focused outro.
Most of the rest of the gig came from that era. The pace kept up in the audience as they tried to match the aggressively relentless hammering drum beats coming from the stage.
The final song of the set came from a newer album, though Al didn’t stay on stage for all of it. He left the stage and with the lights dropping the very end of the night was instrumental.
Hail to His Majesty (Peasants)
Punch in the Face
Rio Grande Blood
Just One Fix