Show review and photos by Jeff Lasich
After having to postpone the fall tour due to the constraints from COVID-19 protocols, Ministry was finally able to bring their Industrial Strength tour to the road, albeit with a different lineup than what was originally planned. Ministry, as well as Corrosion of Conformity and Melvins played Stage AE in Pittsburgh, PA on the second night of the tour.
Any of the bands playing this night could headline their own show. Kicking things off was long-time crossover kings from North Carolina, Corrosion of Conformity. COC have been around since 1982, and have one of the most iconic logos, a spiked skull that could be found on skateboards everywhere in the 80s. You could tell the guys in the band were happy to be playing live again. They played an 8 song, 45-minute set filled with power and confidence. They picked songs from across their lengthy catalog, including “Paranoid Opioid,” “Vote with a Bullet” and “Clean My Wounds.”
Next up was Melvins. Sludge, noise and grunge are often used to describe this Washington band. Dressed in his finest wizard robe/cloak, Buzz Osborne drove the three-piece band through 12 songs, which included a Red Kross cover. It’s hard to take your eyes of Osborne’s signature curly locks as he pummels his guitar and singing. Playing bass was Steven McDonald who was in Red Cross and most recently in Off! with one-time Circle Jerks and Black Flag front man, Keith Morris. They opened with “The Kicking Machine” and ended with “The Bit.” In between was “Evil New War God,” “Anaconda,” “Civilized Worm” and “Honey Bucket.” Melvins played a loud, groove ridden set to a great response from the crowd.
The stagehands quickly set up a chain link fence across the front of the stage in preparation for Ministry to close the night. It was only fitting that one of the kings of the industrial scene would have a stage setup like an industrial scene. The tour was in part to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste, although delayed due to the world shutting down. The band played almost half the songs from that 1989 record. Al Jourgensen was like a caged animal behind that fence. He paced back and forth, occasionally going straight into it. A few songs into the set, I was pleasantly surprised when the band played “Man Should Surrender” and “Don’t Stand In Line,” from Al’s late 80s/early 90s side-project band with Ian MacKaye (Minor Threat/Fugazi/Dischord Records) called Pailhead. Hearing those songs took me back to high school and going on skateboard road trips. The night ended with a cover of “Search and Destroy.”
The tour runs until almost the end of April, likely playing somewhere near you. Don’t be a fool and sleep on this one. Definitely entertaining and worth the trip out to catch it.