Ministry, Carpenter Brut and Alien Weaponry get weird in New York City

An eclectic line-up of heavy music’s outliers – Ministry, Carpenter Brut and Alien Weaponry – made for an awesome night at Irving Plaza.

Ministry, Carpenter Brut and Alien Weaponry get weird in New York City

Words: Cat Jones
Photos: Stephanie V. Augello

Last night marked the first of two consecutive dates at Irving Plaza for old-school industrial favorites Ministry, with glam-rock synthwave act Carpenter Brut and New Zealand teenage thrash-metallers Alien Weaponry in tow. At first glance, the line-up may seem like a strange combination -- but it worked out beautifully for one loud, eclectic evening.

Alien Weaponry are the youngest band ever to sign to Napalm Records, but they quickly proved that their work ethic, showmanship, and seriously infectious thrash tunes have earned them a well-deserved spot on their first-ever U.S. tour. Their set began with 18-year-old drummer Henry de Jong performing a Māori haka — a war dance traditionally performed before battle, but now often done during special occasions — before launching into their nü-metal tinged thrash from their debut record, Tu. What began as a half-filled, curious crowd quickly became a raucous and animated pit.

You might not suspect that a band largely consisting of two men playing synthesizers would be all that visually appealing -- but what sets Carpenter Brut apart from the rest of the synthwave craze is the addition of their animated, silhouetted guitarist slaying riff after glam-rock riff. Combined with strobe lights and a neon-filled, futuristic movie about a “cheerleader killer” playing behind them, the whole effect created overstimulation of the extremely fun, impossible-to-ignore variety.

Ministry began their set by playing their entire new record, AmeriKKKant, from start to finish. There’s certainly no misunderstanding the deeply anti-Trump message of the album, but onstage, the neon-green television sets, masked people waving Antifa and anarchist flags, and post-apocalyptic propaganda videos (things like news clips about “the mother of all bombs” and Trump’s face morphing into Hitler) drove the message home. Ministry’s music has always been unsettling in a way that incites a call to action: It used to say, “get up, dance, head bang.” Now it says, “These fuckers are going to ruin our world. Do something about it.”

After a smoke break, frontman Al Jourgensen returned to say the crowd had been good, and deserved a “doggy treat.” He delivered said treat in the form of a second set of old favorites like Land Of Rape and Honey, The Missing, Deity, Stigmata, Just One Fix, N.W.O., Thieves, and So What. Jesus Built My Hotrod, Filth Pig, and Every Day Is Halloween were deeply missed (maybe Uncle Al’s just sick of playing those after all these years?), but the evening closed with excitement nonetheless.

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