(review n pix [almost] by neil crud)

It’s quite bizarre being in Las Vegas, so lets all praise The House of Blues for being an almost home from home. Well, not quite, but when you’re assaulted from every corner by Megabucks casino machines and interstate tourists a-whoopin’ ‘n’ a-hollerin’ at the card tables it seems quite bizarre that this alternative venue is actually situated within gobbing distance of those cowboy hats within the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

The HoB restaurant became a regular haunt for Steve Sync and myself as we did the nation’s vegetarians proud by ensuring there is now less steak on the planet for carnivores to eat. Just downstairs from this wonderfully decorated gaffe lies the venue – looking like a half size Liverpool Royal Court; where the dignitaries could seat themselves in relative safety on the balcony and enjoy the kids mosh each other to pieces below.

An internet reconnaissance mission bore plenty of fruit the week before departure with a healthy Vegas punk scene – unfortunately, every website of just about every band had either expired or hadn’t been updated since 2004. What happened? Had they all melted in the searing 104degrees heat? But like a stroke of God Steve Sync happened upon The Masterbatour website (he was obviously surfing for something else and thankfully can’t spell) – and lo and behold Ministry are in town, and what’s more our old sparring partner Paul Raven now plays bass for them (see Killing Joke review).

Darkness descends upon the streets of Las Vegas and the casinos light up – the millions of tourists keep feeding the machine that pays for this whole city, oblivious to the two thousand punks, goths, metal heads, freaks and grungekids who crawled from under their stones to converge on tonight’s spectacle.

Pitbull Daycare, still high on the fact they’ve got on support to this 2 month tour come from neighbouring Arizona. Standing in the relative safety of the sidelines I wondered how much all these bands and crowd owe to the legacy left behind by The Dead Kennedys – I could be barking up the wrong tree but 20 years later here’s a new generation mixing it with the original generation in a scene that spawned in California (the next state on the left!). In fact DK’s Jello Biafra has contributed to the Revolting Cocks. Pitbull’s drumkit boasts the AC/DC logo as in PB/DC and highly strung frontman Rick would’ve been about six years old when Jello first spat ‘Kill The Poor’. Big, endearing and willing to put on a show, the veins on Rick’s tattooed neck throbbed as he goaded the crowd,

’Are you too tired after watching that POD shit last night?’

Referring to the christian metal band who graced the boards the previous evening, or maybe the Pitbull Puppies hadn’t made the trek across the desert. He beats his chest and slams his head as the mohicaned drummer called Shakes jumps up and smashes the sticks against his kit. This is fully charged stuff and the song goes,

’Fuck you, you worthless piece of shit.’

The political overtones of this entire tour are ‘Fuck you George W Bush’ – everyone agrees, it seems not only does the whole outside world hate him, but so does them majority of the US – the ratings show the president’s popularity at an all time low. ‘He’s fuckin Aydolf Hitler’ seethed the taxi driver who ferried us from the airport.

Pitbull Daycare also used backing samples, which weren’t all that necessary, and it seemed as the set progressed they went from the hard edge of metal with the crunch of industrial fused with the energy of punk. By midway the songs were strictly hardcore, just like mother used to like it ‘You’re a Stupid Bitch.’

’Let’s see you fuckin destroy this place you bunch of fuckin homos.’

They didn’t – probably too much POD last night from this mainly tourist crowd. Not even the finale of a 1000mph Ace of Spades got a pit going, but they were generously received and warmed everyone up (even though it was 96deg outside!).

Now then – The Revolting Cocks – the name has been around for years, I’m sure I’ve played them on one of my shows in the past. We just chanced upon their drummer Chris and his Swedish bassist girlfriend in the New York New York bar in the early hours and got some more serious drinking done to ensure Chris would have a stinking hangover for the show. It worked, we met him before the gig and he complained of being ‘totally fucked’. But he did have a point to prove as he bigged himself up at the bar, promising us he’ll be the best drummer we’ll ever see! We swapped tattoos, drew maps on napkins and sank beers until the cleaners were mopping around our feet.

The Revolting Cocks have been around for a long long time but with a very fluid line up – they are an off shoot project of Ministry’s Al Jourgensen who plays guitar in Revco and only occasionally helps out on backing vocals. He has had just about everyone involved at some point and it seems of late he’s taking this little side earner more seriously – a new album ‘Cocked And Loaded’ is being promoted and they mean business (in a fun kinda way).

The customary megaphone is used (see also The Alarm and Gorillaz) and we get a,

’Hello Vegas; are you ready for the Revolting Cocks?’

Fair do’s Chris, your bird looks ace on bass! Second song in a new vocalist joins the fray for Beers Steers and Queers showing the depth of this band; it’s not just bang bang bang, there’s a dynamism to the writing that Al perhaps finds he’s unable to use with Ministry. Oddly enough there’s a Duran Duran Wild Boys style to the song in a red neck mid-west Anus-you-dipstick kind of way!

Third song, third singer (these could be famous people – I dunno), but he looked Maradonna in a boiler suit to me! And the drumming? Not of this world, I tip my Grand Canyon baseball cap to you. The previous evening’s bar room bragging wasn’t without foundation, you have to see (not just hear) to believe. A drummer who slams his kit, throws his sticks away mid-beat, twirls another one around his head and doesn’t miss a single beat, and does it for the entire set is absolutely awesome.

Fourth song and were joined by a fourth singer (who turns out to be the main vocalist), and its none other than Adolf Hitler! (The real one, not George Dubya), and he is fucking amazing – the complete persona, play acting and yet totally cool with it, thrusting his arm out alarmingly, but on closer inspection he has his middle 2 fingers tucked behind in a bogus kind of way. Eight of them on stage, fucking amazing! Fucking revolting!

The song ends and Adolf looks at the throngs before him,

’You know what I hate about Las Vegas, is the Jews,’ there’s a quiet murmer spreading across the crowd, yes, he’s acting out a character but is this taking it too far?

’The apple jews, the orange jews, the pineapple jews, its horrible here!!’

Next up is their version of that Bauhaus classic Dark Entries only chewed up and spat back out as Caliente and can be heard on the soundtrack to the new movie ‘Saw II’ – the recorded version features that Butthole Surfer, Gibby Haines, who of course also contributed the vocal chaos to Ministry’s Jesus Built My Hotrod.

The top drawer remained open and they kept pulling out the stuff, Fire Engine was next and Adolf kept referring to the crowd as ‘Las Vague Ass’, then onto Physical with Olivia Newton-John samples, done in a way that would make Laibach very proud. Legend has it that Olivia refused to let the RevCo use the sample and threated to sue, until Al Jourgensen banged on her frontdoor and pissed through her letterbox! The finale came with that old Rod Stewart classic D’ya Think I’m Sexy with girls from the crowd being invited up on stage, we could see Paul Raven coaxing them up on the sidelines – this isn’t Rhyl, this is Las Vegas and it wasn’t long before the girls were in various states of undress (damn! And there was a ban on cameras!).

So you have Adolf Hitler singing a punked version of a Rod Stewart song, a bloke in a giant cock costume bouncing back and forth and about ten topless dancers! Amazing! Fuck Celine Dion, Chicago, Santana and all the other wankers that rake the cash in offering a nice safe concert for the middle aged masses – come and see the Revolting Cocks!

The inevitable encore turned out to be Purple Haze (RevCo style!) – Hitler was by now in a dress and stockings, Maradonna wore a frankenstein mask and dived into the fans below and the giant cock was still bouncing!

’Not bad for a fucking tourist crowd.’

Chuckled Hitler as he left an indelible mark on the back of our brains.

We had a very brief reunion with ex-Killing Joke bassist Raven beforehand, answering Guy Salvador’s enquiries of his whereabout in his review. It could be the choice of a three month sell out tour as part of Ministry proved a lure too much of Raven, particularly when Jaz can sometimes be unpredictable. It seems he’s been enjoying the US sun a little too much as he was almost scorched to a crisp!

Ministry – one word – Brutal. Oh ok two words then; Brutal and Intense. The hatred for George W Bush has eclipsed the hatred for Thatcher in the 80s. If the twat had been here tonight he’d have been ripped apart by the masses in the pit – pity Dubya wasn’t on the guest list.

There was no let up in the songs – sub-machine gun fired, relentless, flitting from older stuff and also pushing the new LP ‘Rio Grande Blood’. Backed by highly political and disturbing videos of what America is doing to the world, or at least what the politicians are doing to this land of rape and honey. Al’s vocals were mesmerising, echoingly reminiscent of Jaz Coleman.

Liz Constantine guests on the final song Khyber Press wrapping proceedings before the encore in soulful fashion. We leave before that encore, having walked about twenty miles today with our ears now bleeding, we were sonically satisfied and the prospect of being abducted by gorgeous tattooed punk babes wanting to abuse our bodies proved too much, so we made our excuses and left.

Revolting Cocks drummer Chris (right) achieves a lifetime ambition when he meets Steve Sync