Ministry at Terminal 5- New York, NY

ministry terminal 5
Death Grips is a difficult yet enthralling project, where the glitched-out productions of blastbeat drummer Zach Hill and keyboardist Andy Morin accent the violently yelled raps of vocalist Stefan Burnett.”
I read this while anticipating their opening act from the bar on the far side of the venue. Only one step up from the floor makes just enough of a view for most shows at Terminal 5. This bar is the best spot in the place. Griffin, Lauren and I stood waiting for the lights to dim on tired feet. We met early for coffee and were sadly shooed off within a quarter hour for them to close. What coffee place closes at 7 pm? In fact, I can now show you. Tired from a long day we accepted our fate/ feet.
It seems that description was perfect for Death Grips. If you don’t know what blastbeats are, well… yes you do. Your first thought is accurate. We didn’t hear what resembled a song till after 15 minutes. The lights were still off and we were lit only by the lasers attached to the hands of the keys player, the singer, and the blastbeatist. Death Grips did not stop for the full hour opener. Purple and red floodlights eventually gave us a look at the band and ushered in some songs with more traditional structure. Still, we barely heard significant transition between songs. All in, it was a better opener than KMFDM had. We agreed we want to hear some studio efforts. All Music gave some 4-star reviews and that is intriguing but as I said, they are usually good.

#deathgrips #52showsayear

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Ministry has been on my list of bands to see for a very long time. The timing, placement, or energy hadn’t synced up till now. Energy is key. I type this with two sore hands. Pushing people into the pit, keeping them off me, picking up fallen folk, and the random pain associated with being tossed around the floor is catching up with me 14 hours later.
Before the lights went down, I took a peek at the merch and stopped at the bathroom then headed to the floor. I promised I would return after a few songs; that didn’t happen. The pit didn’t materialize till the second or third song. For a minute I feared it wouldn’t come at all. Everyone near me had drinks in hand and looked mostly put together. A glance over my shoulder revealed a the brooding characters I was looking for. The guy in a white hoodie pacing in a pattern that quickly turned circular. The braless woman in a loose black dress whose nod was quickly becoming a bounce. The girl handing her bag and jacket to a friend while adjusting her rings and stretching her neck. It was about to happen.
I can comfortably list this as my 3rd favorite pit to date. Number two was Metallica on the black album tour (Suicidal Tendencies and Danzig opened). Number one is still Gogol Bordello. Hands down. Honorable mention to Metallachi. Musically, the show was amazing. Al isn’t getting younger but it was hard to tell. Even by the encore he was dancing around the stage, pirouetting, belting out tunes, and playing guitar too. The setlist featured some new tracks and some classics woven with video and a participatory crowd. Those with air in their lungs (i.e. not in the pit) sang along.
The stage was flanked by 10-foot-tall inflated chickens with Trump hair and anti-nazi symbols. The backdrop was mostly the screen which ran non-stop. The surprise addition (to me at least) was DJ Swamp. I first came to know him as Beck’s DJ who famously presses his own vinyl (as highlighted in the terrific documentary Scratch). He was a DMC champion and now has a prosperous solo career as well. He was given a chance to solo during the encore much to my excitement. Especially after the surprise Devo cover that lead into it. Did Ministry play Devo? Yes! Have you seen Ministry play Grateful Dead?
By the end of the night, I had lost and luckilly found my watch, my glasses were destroyed (shouldn’t have had them in my pocket), I took a flying kick to the solar plexus, and an elbow to the clavicle. My body was wrecked from the pit and it was amazing. Lauren jumped in too and thew her share of much taller people around. It was all hugs when the lights came up.

#ministry plays #devo encore at @terminal5nyc #52showsayear

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  1. Let’s Go
  2. Punch in the Face
  3. Antifa
  4. Rio Grande Blood
  5. Señor Peligro
  6. LiesLiesLies
  7. Wargasm
  8. Bad Blood
  9. N.W.O.
  10. Just One Fix
  11. Thieves
  12. So What


  13. Gates of Steel (DEVO cover)
  14. DJ Swamp mix

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