Writing and Photography by Chuck Stanley
Al Jourgensen’s Ministry has no idea what it means to be subtle. Whether it’s their politically driven lyrics, sheer amplifier volume or seizure-inducing light show and video presentation, the 60-year old Ministry founder, affectionally known as Uncle Al, has no plans to go quietly into the night.
Ministry are on tour supporting their new album “Amerikkkant” and the first half of their decimal rattling set included 7-songs from the effort. The album takes its political tone from Jourgensen’s not-so-subtle thoughts on President “45” and the onstage video presentation mirrors that sentiment. Conservative minds may be triggered at the site of images of Hitler morphing into Trump on Instagram-like boomerang.
After a proper theatrical intermission, the six touring members of Ministry returned to the stage to deliver the remaining 8-songs of their 15-song set. Uncle Al told the crowd they deserved a “doggie treat” after listening to their political rants during the first half of the set. San Antonio’s “doggie treat”, as the founding frontman deemed it, began with 4 classics from 1988s “The Land of Rape & Honey,” including “Stigmata”. The next 2 “treats” jumped ahead to 1992s “Just One Fix” and the floor-thumping “N.W.O.” from the “Psalm 69” album. Friday’s closing songs skipped back to selections from 1989s “The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste” with “Thieves” and the finale “So What”.
Longtime fans may have noticed a lack of setlist songs from 7 studio albums between 92’s “Psalm 69” and 2018s “Amerikkkant,” but I’m not sure the walls of The Aztec Theater could have taken another decibel longer. Hardcore Ministry fans also took note of Al Jourgensen’s new mic stand featuring a cross lit with white light bulbs encased behind rusty meshed metal. The mic stand designed by SawBladeHead Designs kept Uncle Al’s standard 3-headed mic setup for his various vocal needs, one for his signature compressed-distorted vocals, one microphone strictly for harmonica and the other for that “old-time” radio sound.
The members of Ministry aren’t flashy players, Uncle Al doesn’t do witty between song banter and the songs themselves, whether current or classic, don’t convey thoughts of eyelash batting Unicorns. It’s loud, beat-driven, industrial-laden, barbed-wire paddle against your butt Rock N’ Roll and that’s exactly what San Antonio fans received.