Show Pics: Ministry @ Industrial Accident Screening (4/19)

As I mentioned in the preview, Wax Trax! had quite a bit of influence on my music in my late teens and early twenties. To that point, metal never flirted with my new wave. Industrial changed that. Wax Trax! was the conduit to the bands that had distribution in Europe, but no outlet in the states. That record store along with venues and musicians in Chicago invited over bands like Front 242, KMFDM, Laibach and others and then incubated new projects like Ministry and Revolting Cocks. Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records documents the rise and fall of one of the most independent labels and record stores. The story goes like this: An openly gay couple, Dannie Flesher and Jim Nash, from the midwest moves to a shady neighborhood in Denver to open an amazing record store, they snap and move to Chicago, grow to love and champion bands via a record label, foster a “sound” and ultimately fall apart because of the necessary, but unpleasant parts of the business before being lost prematurely.

House of Vans hosted an event tied in with Record Store Day in Austin for fans of the label with a screening of the movie, a show featuring Cold Cave and Ministry and brought along a ton of merch from the barn archives (see the movie). Pics from the event, Q&A and performances to follow.

Wax Trax! was *the* industrial label, though like “indie”, industrial was a broad description. EBM, punk, darkwave and industrial fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. It was an odd intersection of angry, queer, punk, synth experimentation based on new tools that both limited artists and created inspiration. Example, Revolting Cocks trademark repetition was based on the limited capabilities of even the most cutting edge sampling systems available. The movie is well-paced, includes interviews of artists on the label and those influenced. It is well worth the viewing for any fan of the bands of that genre and era. I loved that it filled in gaps for me, the origin stories of bands, why Ministry’s sound evolved so rapidly, the collaborations and shuffled band members creating new projects, a revolving door of artists all creating in a studio while on tour or coming through town.

The panel post-movie consisted of Julia Nash (Jim’s daughter), Mark Skillicorn (Julia’s partner), Frankie Nardiello of My Life with the Thril Kill Kult and Paul Barker of Ministry (bassist from the mid-80’s to 2003). Frankie is loveable. Julia paraphrased: “No, Wax Trax! isn’t being re-launched, not right now, anyway.” Paul didn’t like the cider. Heh.

Fans lined up early to make sure they could use that free RSVP and get up front. The Q&A ended with a rush to the barricade.

Cold Cave focused on darker and driving songs. Strong set of hits, Wesley Eisold’s long hair and sunglasses were props for the strobes popping through the haze. I overheard several Ministry fans unfamiliar with Cold Cave say they weren’t bad, the equivalent of loving approval.

Ministry‘s set was an homage to the Wax Trax! days. It focused on the late-eighties, early nineties with songs like “Stigmata” and “Just One Fix”. They did a cover of RevCo’s “No Devotion” and Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut” (a common RevCo collab cover). They closed with the acoustic version of “Halloween”. Yes, “Stigmata” was amazing live, “Burning Inside” was particularly hard-edged and bad ass. It was a dream set for many fans, focused on the albums they discovered, the cathartic release to all the chaos around them.

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