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Review: Ministry live at Danforth Music Hall April 17, 2019

One of the most sought after releases for this year’s Record Store Day was the Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records soundtrack. There was a ton of buzz around the compilation that was pulled together for the launch of the documentary about legendary WaxTrax! Records because at select record shops, when you bought the album, you would get a VIP ticket for the documentary screening, Q&A, and live performances by Ministry and Cold Cave.

I hadn’t seen Ministry play live since they appeared on the Lollapalooza tour many years ago, so I was completely hyped to see Uncle Al play a WaxTrax era set. Before we get to the show review, let’s dig into the documentary a bit. It was the story of WaxTrax! which was the brainchild of Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, and digs into their business and personal lives. If you looking for rare live band footage, you’ll be a bit disappointed, but if you’re after a good backstory about the label and its demise, this is perfect for you. I really enjoyed it not only because I was heavy into WaxTrax releases back in the day as well as the story of Jim and Dannie’s relationship. It’s worth checking out if you enjoy learning about musical history.

Cold Cave kicked off the show with their retro post-punk / synth based set, but other than having obvious influence from the WaxTrax artists, I’m not sure why they were on the bill. I’m a big Cold Cave fan and have seen them various times over the years but I would have preferred a WaxTrax artist as the opener. Why not KMFDM, Front 242, or heck, they should have reformed The KLF? Cold Cave was muddier sounding than they’ve been in the past and were much more guitar based. I was expecting an eerie synth set so I wasn’t into it as much as previous Cold Cave shows.

Cold Cave setlist

  1. Icons of Summer
  2. People Are Poison
  3. A Little Death to Laugh
  4. Nothing Is True but You
  5. You & Me & Infinity
  6. Promised Land
  7. Confetti
  8. The Great Pan Is Dead

When Al Jourgensen hit the stage, everyone was fired up for an older set than the past few Toronto appearances. I had seen some spoilers from the New York and Chicago shows, so I knew what was coming, but my mind was still blown. It was basically the singles from ‘Land of Rape and Honey’, ‘The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste’ and ‘Psalm 69’ with some 1000 Homo DJs, RevCo and one Twitch era track thrown in. I was hoping to hear Over The Shoulder, but an acoustic version of ‘Everyday Is Halloween’ was an interesting twist in the setlist. Another great surprise was to have Chris Connelly to sing on So What and No Devotion by RevCo. Hearing Jesus Built My Hotrod was mindblowing with the frantic vocals and super fast drums – that drummer was phenomenal charging through that track.

It was a triumphant set in honour of a label that had such a big musical impact.

Ministry setlist

  1. The Missing
  2. Deity
  3. Stigmata
  4. Jesus Built My Hotrod
  5. Just One Fix
  6. N.W.O.
  7. Thieves
  8. Burning Inside (with Chris Connelly)
  9. So What (with Chris Connelly)
  10. Encore:
  11. No Devotion (Revolting Cocks cover) (with Chris Connelly)
  12. Supernaut (Black Sabbath cover)
  13. Encore 2:
  14. The Land of Rape and Honey
  15. (Everyday Is) Halloween (with Chris Connelly)