Ministry Brings the Industrial Strength Tour to Buffalo Riverworks
Ministry's Al Jourgensen
After several attempts at bringing their "Industrial Strength Tour" on the road during COVID, Ministry has finally been able to get the show on the road! Locally, we've seen the date change a few times, the venue change one time and the overall lineup change over the last few years. While I was originally really excited to see KMFDM on an earlier iteration of this tour, the final lineup consisting of The Melvins and Corrosion of Conformity was an absolute knockout!
While Ministry is touring in support of their latest effort, "Moral Hygiene," which was just released prior to the local date here in Western, New York; the set consisted of selections ranging their entire career. Notably missing was "Jesus Built My Hotrod," but taken in totality, Al Jourgensen left fans entertained and wanting more!
Corrosion of Conformity's Pepper Keenan
Kicking off the night was Corrosion of Conformity, on their first trip through Western New York since early 2018. I've always had a soft spot for this band, ever since seeing them play in direct support for Metallica back in 1997, while touring the "Wiseblood" album. Pepper Keenan has one of the most infectious voices in metal (one I'd love to hear utilized even a little bit when recording with Down), and this band continues to deliver live year after year. It didn't hurt that I'd just received my fresh re-press of their hit album "Deliverance" a week or so before this show.
The Melvin's Buzz Osborn
Next up was The Melvins, by far the act of the evening that I was least familiar with. To be honest, all I really knew going in was that Buzz Osborne was really close to Kurt Cobain and Nirvana back in the Seattle days and played an instrumental role in introducing Dave Grohl to the band. That alone, should have triggered some attention from me in my teenage years, but alas, the world has far too much music to consume and sometimes I'm late to the party. Case in point, The Melvins took the stage and it took less than the opening song ("The Kicking Machine") for me to get on board. They played a variety of career-spanning songs in their 12 song set, including arguably their biggest hit, "Honey Bucket" before closing things out with "The Bit."
Leading up to this show, I'd seen photos of this tour already, so it came as no surprise when the crew started to build the chain-link fence at the front of the stage. Interestingly, this stayed up the duration of Ministry's set, right up until the encore. Nevertheless, the stage was set as we awaiting Ministry to begin their performance for the evening.
Al Jourgensen leads Ministry through their set opening, "Breathe"
They took the stage and opened up with "Breathe," from 1989's 'The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste,' followed by "The Missing," "Deity" and "Stigmata," all from 1988's 'The Land of Rape and Honey.' From there, they took on a really cool cover of Black Sabbath's "Supernaut" before diving deeper into their catalog.
After several other selections from their catalog, Ministry left the stage for a few minutes while the fence was removed. After returning, they closed out the set with a trio of songs from their latest release 'Moral Hygiene' including "Alert Level," "Good Trouble" and a cover of Iggy and the Stooges "Search and Destroy" to close things out for the evening.
Ministry performing at Buffalo Riverworks in front of a packed house
I've had the chance to catch Ministry before, but it's been several years and the last show was at a music festival (Rock on the Range), so seeing them perform under their own rules was a real treat. Maybe it was the large warehouse-style venue, or maybe it was the constant barrage of industrial metal, but there were moments during this show that I had to remind myself that I was not watching My Life with the Thrill-Kill Cult in the climax of The Crow. While Eric Draven never made an appearance at this show, it was an absolute joy to take in all three of the bands on this lineup! The southern groove metal of Corrosion of Conformity was the perfect kickoff to the evening. The Melvin's and their alternative metal continued to get the crowd warmed up and Ministry's machine-gun style of industrial metal served as the perfect main course of the evening.
This tour is running through April 18th, so if you're still on the fence over this one, click the banner below, grab a ticket and mark your calendar. You'll regret missing this one!