Wax Trax! Screening and Ministry in Toronto Review

A few weeks ago, I posted up an interview that I did with Julia Nash, daughter of Wax Trax! Records co-founder, Jim Nash, about the documentary she directed on her father’s record store and label called Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records.

The documentary is very good and Julia is incredibly fun to talk to. What you didn’t hear in that interview was the fact that they were taking the film on the road along with a Q & A session as well as a concert featuring Cold Cave and Ministry.

Ministry doing a Wax Trax! era set.

In Toronto.

Would I like to cover it?


The event was an interesting one. You could get tickets one of a few ways but the main way was buying the limited version of the vinyl soundtrack at certain record stores during Record Store Day. You could also RSVP for the show online with no guarantee of seats.

Having seen the film a couple of weeks earlier (there are some nice perks to this gig), the one that was really confirmed for me was how well it was shot and how good the documentary looks. As I’ve previously stated, Industrial Accident is a documentary worth checking out.

The Q & A that followed was helmed by Mark Sillicorn (Julia’s husband, who also worked on the film) and featured Julia Nash, Jeanne Payne (Julia’s mom and Jim Nash’s ex-wife) as well as Chris Connelly (of Ministry and Revolting Cocks fame) and Frankie Nardiello (aka Groovie Mann from My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult).

The Q & A was brief but we did get an interesting few snippets out of it. When a fan asked about what the future for the Wax Trax! brand and label were, Julia replied that there were ideas floating around for some sort of museum exhibit and a coffee table book. In terms of musical releases, she said never say but it just wasn’t something they were entirely interested in doing.

HOWEVER, Julia revealed that they had been approached The Young Gods as a possible home for their new album. They ultimately had to turn the group down due to other work but she did say that the album had an Underworld vibe to it and that it was pretty killer.

Next up was the actual concert performances. Cold Cave were on first and unfortunately, from where I was sitting at any rate, something was wrong with their sound mix and I couldn’t make out a majority of their vocals.

Not being familiar with them, their sound definitely has that Wax Trax! vibe to it. Definitely a band I’ll be giving a proper listen to over the next few days.

And then we came to the main event.

When it was announced that Ministry would be doing an “Wax Trax! era set,” it brought up a lot of questions. Technically, Ministry only had a handful of songs on the label. Would this be a set of those few songs and all new stuff? Would it Ministry performing songs from that time period? Would they perform a set of songs by the various Ministry side-projects that were on Wax Trax!?

As it turns out, this is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen Ministry perform.

My fan-relationship with Ministry goes back to high school and this show is the fifth time I’ve seen them live. The band has continued to release albums, the last two haven’t done a lot for me. As a live band, Al Jourgensen has assembled a good group of players including Tony Campos (Fear Factory, Static X), Sin Quirin, John Bechdel, Cesar Soto, and Derek Abrams.

But as to the setlist… if you grew up listening to Ministry during the 80s and 90s, you could not have asked for a better one. Tracks from The Land of Rape and Honey like “The Missing,” “Deity,” and the title track, which I’ve never seen the band do live.

We got all of the big tracks from Psalm 69 and The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste with Chris Connelly joining in for a few tunes.

The encore was included the Revolting Cocks “No Devotion,” and 1000 Homo Djs’ cover of Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut”. But the topper, the final song of the night, was something unexpected and weird and amazing.

A song from Ministry’s synth-pop years, “Everyday is Halloween,” as an acoustic sing-along.

From what I can tell, Al broke this idea out in LA in December of last year with Dave Navarro as a special guest, but never in a million years, did I think that I would see this. Nor did I entirely expect the entire crowd to belt-out the chorus. It was really something to see.

If you are a Wax Trax! or Ministry fan in Austin, San Fransisco, and Los Angeles, I highly recommend getting your name on the RSVP list because if you manage to get in, you’re in for an awesome show.

Brent Chittenden

Brent Chittenden is a freelance writer with a gift for the geek. Currently a writer with A Journal Of Musical Things and a podcaster with True North Nerds, he's also written for Comic Book Daily, Explore Music and a dozen other places. Currently, he is the co-host of the True North Nerds podcast. You can find out more at www.facebook.com/bcchittenden

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