Siouxsie, Pixies, Ministry

This was, apparently, old-timers weekend...


    I've come to really hate seeing shows at The Warfield. The sound there is usually decent, but the staff are a bunch of assholes. Anyway, this show was a combo Creatures / Siouxsie and the Banshees show. The first four songs were recent-ish Creatures songs, and were really good. Budgie is one hell of a drummer. After the fourth song, Siouxsie had a tantrum about the fact that it was too cold on stage, and they stormed off for ten minutes or so. (Isn't this exactly the opposite of the complaint that most bands have?) She ranted about the staff some more throughout the set, and had a second ten-minute tantrum a few songs later. At one point a cartoon-stereotypical fratboy got up on stage and she tried to beat him with a swinging microphone (which was not nearly as entertaining as it sounds; it was just kind of sad all around.)

    All the Creatures songs were great, and all the Siouxsie songs bored me, but that's to be expected, since I'm totally uninterested in almost everything they've recorded as the Banshees post-Hyaena. All things considered, had I left just as she began her first tantrum, I would have had the optimal experience for this show.

    Also: when did goths start smoking so much pot? I liked it better when your stereotypical goth was a tweaker, because then they didn't smell as bad unless you got really close. The stench tended not to roll off them in great clouds, at least.

The Pixies:

    This was a great show -- the sound was a lot better than at the show in Davis a few months ago. We got there a little late and didn't feel like fighting our way into the sea of people, so we sat on the grassy hill at the back. The sound was surprisingly good up there, and we got to spread out with nobody bumping into us the whole time. It's been many, many years since I've been to a place as big as the Greek Theatre, and I'd forgotten that arenas don't have to suck. So between those two shows (one close up with crap sound, and one far away with good sound) we can sorta cut-and-paste together one optimal show.

    The Distillers opened, and they were surprisingly okay, given that what I've seen of them on MTV has been utterly despicable.

    Funniest thing about seeing a show in the People's Republic of Berkeley: standing in line at the security pat-down surrounded by great rasta-like plumes of pot smoke.

Ministry, TKK:

    Ok, first of all, Hanzel und Gretyl were the first act, and were a big part of the reason I went to this show at all. The tickets said 8PM, and we got in line at 8:15. It was around 8:45 by the we actually made it into the building, and H&G were already done.

    Um, hello? If you are so incompetent at running your door that you can't get your customers into the building, you do not start the show until you've gotten the people in! What the fuck!

    The Grand is basically a hotel ballroom, not a concert venue, so the whole thing had the feeling of "hey, let's rent out a room at a convention center and have a show there." We were still in the process of trying to figure out whether all the bars in the place were implemented as a pile of bottles on card tables, and whether any of them had rum other than Barton's, when Thrill Kill Kult started. I said, "let's go up front, it can't possibly sound this bad everywhere in this room." Angela noted, "since we're standing in front of the sound board right now, it probably does."

    She was right. Halfway through the third song (which I thought was "The Devil Does Drugs" but Pineapplehead says was "Daisy Chain for Satan"; whatever) I'd had enough; I decided that I'd better go wait out in the lobby just in case they decided to play another song that I used to like.

    This wasn't totally unexpected; I've seen TKK at least a dozen times, and they're always hit or miss (more often miss.) I've seen them be excellent, and they've also been among the worst shows I've ever seen. This was probably the second worst TKK show I've seen (the worst being during the "13 Above the Night" era, when their show was Groovy and a couple of strippers lip-synching over a DAT.) They were a full band this time, and they seemed energetic, but it just sounded so bad. And that, plus the bright lighting, made it hard to overlook their general horrific dirtbaggyness.

    So then Ministry. This is the first time I've seen Ministry since 1988 (that's how much I hated them on the "Land of Rape and Honey" tour) so I didn't have very high expectations. There were three reasons I went:

    • I thought that their second-to-last album, "Animositisomina", was pretty good (though the latest, "Houses of the Molé", is totally unremarkable);
    • I heard a rumor that they were going to be opening for themselves, doing a set as the Revolting Cocks;
    • I heard that Jello Biafra was going to be singing with them.

    So, I went to the Ministry show hoping that it would actually be a RevCo & Lard show instead of a Ministry show. Well, turns out, it was a Ministry show after all. We left after the fifth or sixth song, and every song thus far had been from "Molé" (actually, the first song might have been "Deity," but I couldn't tell.) I understand that Jello came on later, but I can't say I regret that we cut our losses when we did.

    I guess the sound quality was a bit better for Ministry than it was for TKK (or maybe I was just getting acclimated) but they were doing the whole "undifferentiated wall of guitars" thing that they do, and frankly I think I would have enjoyed a Motörhead show more.

    This was my first time seeing a show at The Grand, and definitely my last. The spirit of Maritime Hall lives on there.

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15 Responses:

  1. irishmasms says:

    any idea of Jello is singing with them the whole tour, or was it just this one off night?

  2. g_na says:

    I liked the LoRaH tour, but that was the first time I saw Ministry so I had nothing to compare it to. Did you see it at the I-Beam? They played there on Halloween and kept teasing the crowd with the first few notes of "Everyday is Halloween" without actually playing it, which was pretty funny. Jello also came onstage that show to sing Lard songs, including the entire bloody "Power of ...".

    • jwz says:

      No, I saw that show in the Blighted East...

      I remember you telling me about the Halloween gag years ago, and it's still funny! They didn't do that when I saw them.

  3. mactavish says:

    Ever since I got tickets for a Fillmore show to find that I was giving Clear Channel money, I've been hesitant about the Warfield. Haven't been there in a long time.

    I love the Greek Theater. I once brought my sleeping bag to a Van Morrison show to which I'd been given tickets, and curled up all snoozy on the grass at the back. I didn't fall asleep, and it was quite lovely just to be there, drowsy, with live music.

  4. the devil does drugs definitely did not occur. i always take note of that song, because one of my first formative moments of going "hmm, i think i'm going to spend ungodly amounts of time and money on this industrial music scene" was seeing them open the first crime for all seasons tour with and this is what the devil does/the devil does drugs, and i just can't be satisfied with a TKK show where they don't do that song.

    which is probably why i liked their tour with pigface more than most people did.

    regarding ministry: their concept was this: get all the new stuff that they have to play but nobody really cares about at the beginning. that way they can kick ass and take names continually for an hour afterwards, leaving everybody remembering one continguous kickass show.

    wasn't the best idea in the world, but not the worst either.

    after about 6 new songs, they played NWO, just one fix, deity, so what, hero, thieves, psalm 69, supernaut, and at the very end jello came out and they did some lard stuff.

    i'd say i don't understand your impatience with the show, but i guess it's probably similar to how i felt when i saw consolidated. after about 2 minutes of an alterna-folk version of butyric acid, i woulda rather shot myself than stayed for another minute.

    i actually like the houses of the mole stuff even more than animosity, which i enjoyed as well, but the sound last night really killed it. in LA it was great.

    i'd recommend checking out "bloodlines," the special edition bonus track thingee from mole, which they wrote for some lameass videogame. it's my favorite ministry song (with the possible exception of "the light pours out of me," which doesn't really count) since filth pig.

    • jwz says:

      But see, the fact that you liked Filth Pig means that I can in no way trust your Ministry-related opinions.

      • bah.

        i can see why people don't like filth pig, but i maintain that it's basically a problem of expectations. filth pig is not an industrial album, and it's not what people expect or wanted from ministry when it came out. however, i maintain that now, 8 years later, if you listen to the album with no expectations from it, there's some great stuff to be found from it as a grindcore album.

        it's basically the best album that godflesh never recorded.

        lay lady lay is the perfect example of the problems and simultaneous greatness of the album. it's a great cover. it's weird. it presents a familiar song from a drastically different angle. it has the traditional ministry ironic touch but it's also a really effective emotional performance. the problem is that nobody was able to get past the fact that ministry covering bob dylan sounds like an idiotic idea that would come off terribly.

        as i'm sure we'll all agree, ministry isn't exactly a consistant band, by any stretch of the imagination. filth pig was a step in an unexpected direction, and i don't expect every person who enjoyed twitch to dig filth pig. or even every person who enjoyed psalm 69. but it's gotten an unfair bad rap.

        especially when you compare it to dark side of the spoon. now THERE's a clunker. i read somewhere the other day that the reason we all seem to have such fond memories of the dark side of the spoon tour is that they barely played a single song from the album on its tour, and i think that's pretty accurate.

  5. phreddiva says:

    I love the Greek. I've seen a lot of shows there, but my favorite memory is of breaking in one night & watching a meteor shower.

  6. Also: when did goths start smoking so much pot? I liked it better when your stereotypical goth was a tweaker,

    Apparently, age softens, but does not lessen, the drug appetite.

  7. autopope says:

    Aaargh, sometimes I hate you.

    Not one, not two, but three of my favourite bands -- and three that I've never got to see live ...! -- and you give 'em the thumbs-down.

    Aaargh, I say, aaargh.

    • 33mhz says:

      If one of those bands was Siouxsie, I know someone else that went to that particular show, who happens to absolutely love Siouxsie, and he was pretty disappointed by it as well.

  8. violentbloom says:

    ..glad I didn't go after all, thanks for validating the wise descision of buying boots instead of going to the show. For a minute there I was worried I was just being an old fart. Which I guess might be true, given that I expected a new pair of boots to be much better than seeing siouxsie and it's because I've been to one to many suck shows at the warfield.

  9. kyronfive says:

    J *surprised* me by taking me to Siouxsie, which i thought was hysterical in retrospect because, driving home we was like 'i had NO IDEA how much you hate Siouxsie.' And i was like 'duh!' Alcohol was the best thing about that show. That and the dude that jumped on-stage. That was the high point of my night. Not just because she tried to mic-whip him but the fact that he jumped into the pit and landed on his face. It was beautiful.

    TKK - i agree. I thought it was among their worst shows. Daisy Chain for Satan was the only song they did that i'm a big fan of and they butchered it live. I told J that night that they haven't had an exceptional show since they actually toured with the Bomb Gang Girlz.

    Ministry did the Lard material as the second encore. It was actually quite good.

  10. angel_boi says:

    i skipped for obvious reasons

    The Pixies:
    the sound was definitely better at the greek than the hall in davis...
    but i liked the energy, and the set list better in davis than sat, the night we saw them in berk...

    levitate me was really good in davis, and neither show i saw had is she weird... tho i heard they played it friday... also whats with playing two versiosn of one song in a show (wave of mutilation) when there's so much more material untouched?!?!

    Ministry, TKK:
    i do think you missed out leaving the show only got better as it went on - and no i didn't like filth pig AT ALL. given it was a wall of guitars assault...i stil lenjoyed it... the energy picked up, they played the older clasics... and then jello came out and they did the lard was a blast... i'd put it up with my favorite ROCK shows...right after the pigface tour w/ meg lee chin & chris conelly at some venue in soma
    good stuff!

    also the venue & the promoters....what a clusterfuck!
    we arived lateish with the line around the block '*phew* they can't have started whith so many folks outside'... oh yes they can...we got in 1/2 way through TKK... which i didn't mind, since as you mentioned... once in the last three tours they were mediocre...and the other two were teh suck... but i was really disapointed to miss H & G :/

    the other thing that really pissed me off, they closed the bars before the show eneded - and hence would not serve, or sell me WATER. they had no water fountain... and i was near collapse from being the pit for 5 songs... and went to three of the bars... and couldn't convince any of the staff standing there, with water in arms reach to sell me a single bottle.