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Manchester Academy

where's Gibby?

(review & pix by MWJ)

So, a Skinflick works outing as me, Justin and Duncan went to see some of the grandads of the industrial genre. They’d been on my 'must see' list for a long time but aren’t exactly frequent visitors.
I hadn’t been to the main Academy since NIN on the Downward Spiral tour, it was packed out then, seems to take bit longer filling up tonight but you’re still talking hundreds. In such a big open hall I guess the space is always more apparent, and it would have been well crammed in the Academy2.
The stage presents a wall of speakers, 2 drum kits and a trademark "sculpture" microphone. No support band it becomes apparent as time ticks on, if only we’d got that Skinflick CD to them earlier, eh?
The show comes to life with the big projection screen firing up at the back with some cropped Ministry cheerleader gyrating away, plus an intro of some crazy hillbilly tune. The band troop out, Al Jourgensen must have put on a bit of weight (fat bastard) since giving up the skag, Paul Barker remains skeletal.
Kick off with 1st 3 off new album, of which Animosity batters like a rivet gun between the eyes, but there’s not much more than a nodding response from most. It takes more widely known Bad Blood (Matrix soundtrack?) to slowly start shifting the crowd up a gear. Al with his bandana and leathers resembles some biker preacher, growling forth from his handlebars/pulpit type contraption, with expansive gestures to get his point across. Sometimes he straps on his own guitar to add to the wall of noise, but that’s mainly just to add some screaming feedback and do a bit of wrestling with it.

The rest of the main set is a trawl through the quality of their back catalogue, the stop start stabbing Dead Guy, the vicious gallops of N.W.O, Just One Fix, and Hero, the sample laden epic of Psalm 69, the buzzsaw of Supermanic Soul . One of the drummers takes a break to give us some screeching sax on occasion. There is a wonder how the performance is so incredibly tight with so many elements involved, and to reproduce to sharp studio cuts and mixes in the flesh, but it’s achieved for sure. Crumbs I thought was the only relative low point, too much of a grind. The projection screen is a constant stream of weird and twisted images, not sure of connections to song substance all the time but definitely add to the display. The sum total of the songs is like being in a factory that’s got horribly out of control, the machine presses are hammering away with speed or power that is going to lead to breakdown but everyone is enjoying pushing it to see how far it’ll go. In the epic quality of some of their songs there’s also the impression that there are points to be jack hammered home, like some 21st century Easy Riders pissing contempt on the American bad dream, co-ordinating chaos. They end this first onslaught with So What, another epic that alternates between laid back and pounding in equal satisfying measures, giving the main man plenty of opportunity to have a break sitting on the speakers swigging a bottle of wine when not back at the mike spitting venom.

We request an encore, treated to another gem in Breathe, left to crowd to sing chorus ("Breathe, Breathe, Breathe, Breathe you f**kers"…not too hard to remember is it?).
Then there’s Thieves, equally as electrifying and motivating like sticking your dick in a fusebox

And we still want more so another encore, this time with a cover of Black Sabbath’s Supernaut, previously released under their 1000 Homo Dj’s offshoot guise. Excellent. Then finally one of their oldest classics Stigmata, a spiteful, snarling industrial punk classic, ending in ringing feedback and effect loops.

Ah, but aren’t you forgetting something gents, no-one’s making a move to go until… they’re dragged back once more for Jesus Built my Hotrod, it had to be there of course and band crowd alike eke out their last energy resources to ding a dang ding their dang a long ling longs in a mental fashion. The loop samples at the end of this leave everyone leaving with a happy smile on their face, I for one extremely satisfied that long standing anticipation was well met. They may old timers but if they keep pacing themselves there should be much more quality to come. Rumours of a Lard tour (Ministry w/ Jello Biafra) soon as well. Who’d have thought working in industry could be so good?

rape n honey bunny

(review & pix by MWJ)

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