It has been almost ten years since Ministry played in Salt Lake City, which is way too long for any metal head. That dry streak finally ended last night, October 30, 2017 as Al Jorgensen and Ministry played at the Complex in Salt Lake City, Utah. I have been a Ministry fan since the early 1990s and was excited to finally have a chance to see one of the most politically outspoken, anti-establishment bands in one of the most conservative states. Based on these two polar opposite stats you might think it would have been a very minuscule crowd. However it was quite big, but the most interesting fact about the crowd was not the size but the demographics. Death Grips was opening the show for Ministry, and they brought a large youthful crowd to the show. In fact, as the crowd started pouring into the venue the line at the Death Grips merchandise table grew longer and longer. Nearly 90 minutes after the doors opened, Death Grips took the stage. The Death Grips crowd now adorned their recently purchased yellow hoodies from the merchandise table and moved to towards the stage as the band came out in total darkness. The music started and instantly green lasers filled the air. They were attached to the band members’ hands and were the only lights on stage for most of the show. The lasers on their hands gave a very 80’s metal feel to the show but the music was anything but that. To best describe the trio’s music would be to compare it to angry tribal music. There was no guitar or bass, just a keyboard player, a drummer and a vocalist. The youthful crowd loved Death Grips but the middle aged metal heads were not so impressed. The lobby was filled with leather jackets and Ministry shirts waiting for the show to come to an end, and as it did the crowd in the lobby erupted in applause and headed towards the stage replacing the yellow hooded youth.
As anticipation grew for the Ministry set to begin, inflatable chickens with anti Nazi logos expanded with air and filled the edges of the stage. Soon after, Al and Ministry took the stage. They opened with “Let’s Go” and quickly moved into one of my favorites “Punch in the Face.” Al, without saying anything, demanded the crowd’s attention as he played songs new and old. Ministry played “Antifa” and “Wargasm,” new songs from their upcoming album set to be released in 2018. They then dove back into their catalog and played some songs I worshipped in my youth. “NWO” and “Just one Fix” were the songs that got me into Ministry and to hear them live was an almost spiritual experience. As 90-minute show came to an end, the band’s encore was a Devo cover, “Gates of Steel.” When Ministry finished their set I realized I could see yellow mixed in with the black leather and denim crowd. This was a sign of good things to me for many reasons. While the old timers were only there to see Ministry, the youth there to see Death Grips also stayed to see Ministry. This means the message of anti establishment and fighting the system for what you believe in that Ministry preaches will be passed on to yet another generation. This also means that although some of Ministry’s music is almost 30 years old it still holds relevant more than ever in today’s society.