“Well fuck, Reno, Happy 420!” bellowed Ministry’s Al Jourgensen, addressing the Grand Sierra Resort’s darkened smoke machine-filled auditorium during a set that leaned heavily on their unflinchingly industrial material.
Visiting Reno on the first show of the band’s 16-date tour with another heavy innovator in industrial and electronic music, Gary Numan, Ministry used the concert as an opportunity to debut new music from their upcoming record, “Hopium For The Masses.”
“If it sucks, let us know; we’ll pull it off the album,” Jourgensen joked as the band launched into the new song, “Goddamn White Trash,” with a backdrop of video imagery consisting of scenes throughout visually distinct periods of America’s displays of open racism. The band’s new songs remain consistent with much of their older songs – a sense of inequality carried out through wealth and media manipulation, incorporated into music that is jarringly aggressive and loud.
With metal guitars and absolutely assaultive drumming, Ministry played for about 90 minutes – adding a cover of Iggy and The Stooges’ “Search And Destroy” and ending on an extended version of their song “So What.”
The Grand Theatre opted to keep seats in what is often the pit area, though this didn’t stop some of the audience from dancing in the narrow area of floor. The excitement for Ministry’s appearance was palpable, with most of the room on their feet throughout the set, and nearly everyone dressed in black to match the seething music emanating from the stage.
Before Ministry, electronic music pioneer Gary Numan showed that after more than 40 years in the music industry, his songwriting and output has not only refrained from tempering but seems to have become even heavier in terms of sound.
Taking the stage and playing for an hour with only a couple of words to the crowd, Numan played music spanning his catalog, but leaning more heavily on his recent record Intruder. Wearing the red streaks down his face, Numan’s stage set up seemed created to stir a sense of unease in the room. With guitar players looking like horror film level escapees from an asylum and menacing movements, Numan displayed pure showmanship, alternating between playing guitar, keyboards, and simply fronting the mic while his movements swirled and jolted him across the stage.
This date was Numan’s 1,001st live concert, and even his older songs were kept up to date with harder and darker instrumentation.
With hardly a moment of pause, Gary Numan played for a full 60 minutes, before walking offstage into the smoke.
A headliner on his own, the tour featuring both Numan and Ministry gives fans a taste of the artists that dived into harder electronic music at a time when it was not accessible, nor popular. And to see them both still standing while industrial music trends and artists have risen and fallen by the wayside was both an ecstatic flashback and a view into two projects that continue to push forward with that barrier-breaking energy that they gave rise to in the first place.
Gary Numan opens up about pioneering career: LINK
Thanks Shaun and Tahoe Onstage for giving a feel for this show. Makes me want to catch it in Nashville, though I haven’t gone to any shows for three years. Hopefully that will change soon.