By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
While openers Magic Magicians shared the Helio Sequence's guitar and drum pairing, their stripped-down White Stripes approach couldn't have sounded more different. And though the resulting negative space left you wanting, John Atkins' anarchic guitar over Joe Plummer's totally arrhythmic drumming on "Mt. Decade" ensured that what you were left wanting was more. (Liam Gowing)MINISTRY at House of Blues, March 22
Al Jourgensen wasn't always the speed-metal demon we know and love. In the beginning, he was just a spooky kid, vaguely unwholesome, recording singles with names like "I Wanted To Tell Her." But that was a larval stage. Mid-'80s, he came crawling out of the sludge, and he came heavy, and his Ministry's sample-packed assaults brought industrial rock kicking and screaming into the mainstream. Al's affliction became more intense and successful with each record. His fingers left trails of slime across everything from Jello Biafra to the most oozing cover extant of "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy." Yet, in time, Al's gifts waned. Filth Pig was a record as black and dull as coal. The Dark Side of the Spoon made every one of Al's 40 years brutally visible. Ceasing to matter, Ministry ceased to be.
But the times, how they are a-changin'. Saturday night found the newly christened Al-Qaeda Jourgensen reviewing his legions with obvious glee. And it wasn't simply nostalgia that kept the crowd seething. Ministry's new disc, Animositisomina, combines the rage of both the man driving and the girl locked in the trunk. It's as furious a denial as rock's likely to see. Still, though fans hacked at each other throughout, it wasn't until the band's signature "Psalm 69" that the crowd erupted (familiar songs are safe houses). Al's response? Alternately mocking and blessing his flock, shaking his head as if to say, "Is that all you've got?" Despite the bravado, it's clear that the now sober Jourgensen feeds off his fans' passion. If he's a preacher, he's a vampiric one, full of bitter and sarcastic sacrament.
The times aren't just changing — time has finally caught up with Ministry. "N.W.O."'s samples of Bush Sr. seemed clever in '92; today it's a joke punctuated by a chop to the throat. "Sky-high with a heart made of stone/you never see me cuz I'm always alone" is how the song goes, and today that seems completely rational. Wouldn't you? is junk's refrain, and Ministry's as well. (Doesn't CNN leave you writhing in yourself like a junkie in a tub?) "Just One Fix," Ministry's best song, has William Burroughs rising above the crowd like a god over a fallen city. The motion he makes with his hands, looped and eloquent, is clear: Not enough. Something huge has gone missing. Ministry is here to make sure you notice. (Russel Swensen)
BEHEMOTH, DEICIDE at House of Blues, March 21
Scandinavians may have a lockdown on church burning, chain-mail bodices and corpse paint, but Europe's ground zero for technical death-metal is Poland. No disrespect to Vader, Decapitated, etc., but Behemoth make their countrymen look like babushka-wearing grannies, and a single spin of Zos Kia Cultus — a migraine-inducing suite of power-violence that goes straight for the limbic system — is all the convincing you need. If only overseas heshers didn't subscribe to the bogus convention of singing in English, because this noise would kick asski in Polski.
Tonight, though, it was the old-school crowd that held sway, and headliners Deicide had these folks in their scuzzy black-jeaned pockets. The New York band's been banging heads for years, but, on disc at least, their groove-based thrash is monochromatic. Live, however, it's another story, and when you factor in HOB's decent acoustics — the Hoffman brothers' scorching solos and drummer Steve Asheim's meaty fills were crisp and popping — you got one rabble-rousing set.
Maybe too rabble-rousing. Rewind a few hours, patrons were cursing the security gauntlet on the way into the venue, but when a vicious brawl erupted, they regarded these gorillas as long-lost friends. And when a wide left hook came inches from my jaw, so did I. It's a good thing Deicide front man Glen Benton — a nightmarish amalgam of Fear's Lee Ving, Andrew "Dice" Clay and Jimmy Hoffa — has an advanced degree in crowd control. Salutations ranged from "Fuck you" and "Up yours" to "You're on the rag" and "You suck . . . you suck . . ." And it didn't help that Benton's on the wagon: "That's just great — as the night wears on I stay sober and youze get drunker," he whined, then douched the front row for perhaps the 20th time before bouncing the empty water bottle off some poor dope's head. Now, if only they had a Grammy for Best New Churl. (Andrew Lentz)
DAVID WILCOX at Smothers Theater, March 22
Entering stage right with a big ol' grin on his face, David Wilcox didn't need a darn thing except a six-string and the goofy thoughts that ricochet inside his head — that and a cult fan base like the well-heeled Palisadians, Topangans and 'Bu denizens who not only gave the 30ish singer-songwriter two standing ovations but punctuated each song with "oh yeah"s and "woo-hoo"s throughout the two-hour set. Things don't get much kookier than this in cushy campus theaters.