Ministry at The Majestic Theatre in Detroit, MI

Industrial masters Ministry lead a sonic assault in Detroit on their AmeriKKKant tour with support from Carpenter Brut and Alien Weaponry.

The rainy weather in Detroit has done nothing to stop metal fans from packing The Majestic Theatre in Detroit tonight.  A sizeable crowd has already arrived by the time teenage thrash metal band Alien Weaponry hits the stage.  Hailing from New Zealand, these lads have been getting massive airplay around the world and hit #1 on Liquid Metal’s weekly Devil’s Dozen countdown.  Led by brothers Lewis de Jong (guitar and vocals) and Henry de Jong (drums), along with Ethan Trembath (bass), they lay down a wicked combination of thrash metal interweaved with vocals done in English and in Maori, with the latter giving the songs a tribal-like vibe.  Not sure the audience knew who these guys were, but they seemed to be loving it with loud applause after every song and a mosh pit breaking out early in the set.  They run through several songs from their Tu album including “PC Bro,” “Holding My Breath,” “Raupatu,” and the radio hit “Kai Tangata.”  The future is looking bright for this trio.

Up next is French synthwave artist Carpenter Brut.  This is another artist that probably most here tonight have not heard before.  They opened for Ghost a few years back and put on an amazing show then.  It does not take long and the crowd reaction make it look like they feel the same tonight.  Driven by mostly fast-paced synths with powerful drums and metal guitar riffs, the sound alone fires up the crowd. 

The musicians are dimly lit, but the lighting behind them is top-notch with rapidly color-changing beams shooting in every direction.  To add to the cool visual effect, a large screen shows videos that follow the title of many of the songs like “Beware the Beast,” “SexKiller on the Loose,” and “Le Perv.”  There seems to be a general theme across many of the videos around campy slasher films.   Other standout songs tonight include “Monday Hunt” and “Inferno Galore.”  This show is all thriller and no filler.  The videos themselves are quite entertaining, but it’s the music that steals the show.  Carpenter Brut is phenomenal at blending what could be electronic dance music but puts an edge on it to make it just as much at home in the metal scene.  Be sure to catch them live if you can.  He is currently touring in support of his latest release Leather Teeth.

There is a major buzz in the room between bands as fans await the industrial master himself, Al Jourgensen and his band Ministry.  2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the classic album Land of Rape and Honey and there have been hints that several songs will be played from it during this tour.  The venue is packed when the lights dim and the band takes the stage to deafening cheers.  Al takes to the mic stand front and center that is fronted by a large cross in yellow lights.  They kick it off with “Twilight Zone” and run through the new album AmeriKKKant including “Wargasm” and “Antifa.”  Al seems rather loose and is performing great as he works the whole stage, coming to the edge to engage fans, and playing guitar on several songs.

The sound is dialed in tonight, with tight bass and crisp, yet crunchy guitar, and a great mix on the vocals that are not drowned out.  Al has assembled a great set of musicians with longtime guitarist Sin Quiran, bassist Tony Campos, and keyboardist John Bechdel.  Joining them are Derek Abrams on drums and Cesar Soto on guitar.

The stage itself has many faux TVs lit up in bright white and other colors.  Ministry also makes use of videos throughout the show, with many tied to politics and other social issues.  This is not surprising given the themes of many of the songs in tonight’s setlist, especially those from the current album AmeriKKKant. 

After a short break, the band returns and Al announces they are going to play “Land of Rape and Honey.”  The crowd erupts.  From here on out, it is a sonic assault of one major song after another.  They run through several other songs from that classic album including “The Missing” and “Deity,” before Al makes many people’s night with the epic hit “Stigmata.”  A large mosh pit breaks out up front and the hardcore fans keep it going to the end.  And they are just getting warmed up.  The hard-hitting “Just One Fix” has fans fired up and singing along.  And to top that, Al introduces “N.W.O.” as many fans thrust their fists in the air.  This song has a pulsating drum and rhythm section that is driving the crowd into a frenzy with fist pumps and waving, while Sin and Al jam and Al throws in guitar squeals near the end.  They wind the setlist down with “Thieves” and “So What” from 1989 album The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste.  The latter has fans bouncing up and down and Al cools them off when he sprays his water bottle on the crowd.  It is the end to an awesome evening of metal from these legends.  Let’s hope Al can keep it going for many years to come.

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About Gary Pahlow 62 Articles
Gary is located in Rochester Hills, MI and has been officially photographing and writing concert reviews since early 2016. His main music interests are metal and hard rock, but he is also a fan of most genres including alternative, indie, jazz, and even some pop and country. When not covering or attending concerts, you can find him traveling with his wife or watching the Detroit Red Wings.

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