Ministry bids farewell to Dallas at the Bomb Factory
It is fairly well known that Ministry will be calling it quits after the From Beer to Eternity Tour ends, as Al Jourgensen has stated he has no interest in continuing the band without his best friend, late guitarist Mike Scaccia. Given that this was likely the last Ministry show in Dallas, the crowd at the Bomb Factory on Sunday night, May 3rd, was surprisingly thin. The balcony remained closed, and the floor filled only to half capacity. The fans who did show up, though, were treated to a memorable show from Jourgensen and his crew, along with opening acts Avatar and The SixxiS.
The appearance of Atlanta prog-rockers The SixxiS came as a surprise to many in attendance, as they did not appear on most of the advertising for the show. They are touring in support of their album, Hollow Shrine, which released in the U.S. last week. The band’s technical instrumental skills and Vladdy Iskhakov’s soaring clean vocals provided a welcome dose of variety to the show. Two standout songs were “Long Ago” and “Believe,” the latter of which is from their original self-titled EP. Based on the number of people pulling out their phones to look up the band when they announced themselves, they apparently made quite a few new fans.
Next up was Gothenburg, Sweden’s Avatar. The first sign of things to come from this band was the techs coming out to set up the stage wearing bellhop outfits. After a short wait, the band arrived, dressed as drum majors and bearing flags. Finally came frontman Johannes Eckerström resembling nothing so much as the Joker dressed as a circus ringmaster in a floppy hat. Avatar then proceeded to fly through a blistering, high energy set. As Eckerström proclaimed, having descended from Norse gods, they “eat metal and shit lightning,” and it is unlikely that anyone doubted them. Even those unfamiliar with Avatar likely recognized “Bloody Angel” from its recent airplay on SiriusXM. They wrapped up their too-short set with “Smells Like a Freakshow,” whipping the crowd into a frenzy in anticipation of Ministry.
After Avatar’s frenetic performance, Ministry actually felt like they dialed it back a bit. Utilizing the Bomb Factory’s massive video screen, they bombarded the audience with images, ranging from political to violent to simply kaleidoscopic. This constant stream of images may have been meant to compensate for the fact that the band didn’t move around much. Jourgensen did stroll around the stage, frequently joining (and occasionally licking) guitarist Sin Quirin. There was also an amusing wardrobe malfunction as Jourgensen got the gas mask he wore onto the stage stuck in his dreads while trying to remove it.
While the physical performance may have been somewhat low-key, the music did not suffer at all. Cesar Soto did his best to fill Scaccia’s shoes, and did an impressive job. The set included a good mix of songs from the past decades, featuring songs from the final album, but ensuring that everyone’s favorites were covered. This may have been the first real test of the Bomb Factory’s sound system, as there was nowhere in the room that you could escape the jackhammer sensation in your chest. The only real letdown came at the end of the show, where “Enjoy the Quiet” played, apparently as a pre-recorded track, with nobody onstage. While it might have symbolized the end of the band, it just felt like a bit of an anticlimax.