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Last Night: Ministry at Palladium Ballroom

Al Jorgensen looking more scary than he did last night.
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Ministry April 17, 2008 Palladium Ballroom

Better Than: Getting your teeth pulled while watching a building being demolished, just barely.

According to leader Al Jorgensen, this will be the last time Ministry comes to Dallas. Ever. That’s why he’s calling it the C U LaTour. And judging by the display this evening, it might be a good thing for all involved that Ministry is calling it a day. Sadly sticking to material from the band's last three releases (referred to as the “Bush Trilogy” by the sticky faithful), Ministry’s two-hour set was long on hoarse shouting but short on actual dynamics.

By the time the band got around to the encore of The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues,” the crowd had thinned considerably. Several people bemoaned the short performance by Meshuggah, the Swedish progressive metal group that played a spirited middle set to an appreciative crowd (who departed as soon as its heroes’ stage time was over). About midway during Ministry’s perfunctory performance, Jorgensen chastised the crowd for being “too fucking quiet,” but the audience members were only responding in kind to so much repetitive drill and kill. None of Ministry’s groundbreaking industrial cacophony was in evidence as it was strictly metal by the books -- tired patterns played out by folks who were more actors than musicians. As images of W flashed across the backing screen, Jorgensen and crew were loud and dirty, but not the least bit scary. -- Darryl Smyers

Critic’s Notebook By The Way The mass of humanity in attendance included a 3-year-old wearing protective headphones and an elderly lady who, despite her (at least) 60 years of experience, was banging her head like a banshee. Black was the order of the night as every gothic poseur and tattooed leatherhead stared into the undifferentiated abyss like zombies waiting for orders that would never come.

Random Moments: Hanging out on the smokers’ porch between sets, several hundred of the disaffected watched the storm roll into town. As lightning streaked across the sky, one sweaty and soiled Meshuggah fan said, “What a perfect night for this show.”

Three or four young hayseeds from Azle (that’s west of Ft. Worth for you urbanites) spoke well of Hemlock, the Illinois band that started off this bill. Sadly, this reporter arrived a too late to catch their set. “They’ve been around 15 years, but they just now are getting noticed,” shouted one youthful cowpoke as stage hands got things ready for the headliner.

Later on, as enterprising fans threw garbage cans towards the stage, one of the Azle contingent informed me that Ministry was too loud. He even typed out his own personal review of the show on his blackberry. “Boring” the screen read, and I was saddened to agree with him.

Artist Suggestion: Despite this sad end to a great story, Ministry’s Al Jorgensen has worked with some of the legends of American punk rock. Check into Lard, his collaboration with Jello Biafra (formerly of the Dead Kennedy’s) and Pailhead, a combo featuring former Minor Threat/Fugazi/The Evens frontman Ian McKaye.

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