You are here
Home > MUSIC > CONCERT REVIEWS > Ministry & Melvins // Live @ House of Blues Houston // 3.29.22

Ministry & Melvins // Live @ House of Blues Houston // 3.29.22

Article and Photos by Ommar Ortuvia


Houston, TX — If you lived during the 90’s, you probably were lucky enough to have experienced many things that were popular during that decade – things such as the Sega Genesis, the internet, Furbies, Beanie Babies, the Super NES, the Simpsons, etc. More than likely you also popped in a CD of your favorite alternative, grunge, or post-grunge band into your yellow Sports Discman while you cruised the mall, hanging out at the food court and perusing band t-shirts at Journey’s. If this last sentence sounds familiar, then you perhaps caught the Industrial Strength Tour at the House of Blues Houston on the evening of March 29th, 2022, which was headlined by Ministry, with Melvins as a supporting act.

Inside the venue you could feel the anticipation for tonight’s show – Ministry and its supporting acts have had to reschedule and change their lineups multiple times due to logistical and safety difficulties surrounding virus restrictions for 2 years. Many times the fans have had their hearts set on attending this concert, only to be left hanging due to a rescheduled date. But this night things were different, and everyone was excited to finally see Ministry’s Al Jourgensen (aka Uncle Al) and Melvins’ Buzz Osborne (aka King Buzzo) head their respective bands on an adrenaline filled journey of industrial and sludge music.

The Melvins set started with the theme from “Sanford & Son” with a backdrop of Endora from “Bewitched,” which was the perfect foreshadowing of a set filled with wackiness and fierceness. When King Buzzo walked out on stage with his distinctive tunic/kaftan and wild untamable hair, along with Steve McDonald (bass) and Dale Crover (drums) the crowd went wild. The trio started the live set with funky drum-fill filled “The Kicking Machine” from their 2008 album Nude with Boots. Things then moved to “It’s Shoved” from their 1991 album Bullhead, which features more of their classical grunge sound, with King Buzzo belting out lyrics with his booming voice, which can be described as a James Hetfield-meets-Rob Zombie tone. Throughout their set, the Melvins embarked on a variety of songs spanning their almost 40-year musical career, keeping the crowd entertained with the band’s boundless energy and stage presence, most notably with Steve McDonald performing flying kicks and yoga-esque poses while keeping the low end tight. Their setlist was closed with “The Bit,” whose massive riffs, hard drums, and growling vocals gave the perfect ending to 45 minutes of grunge, post-grunge, and sludge for the Houston crowd.

At this point everyone could have gone home happy, since the Melvins gave an amazing performance, but knowing that Ministry would come next made the crowd become a little anxious and impatient, having the occasional fan belt out one-liners to let the staff know that they were ready for Ministry. While crews were setting up, a picture of William Burroughs was projected in the background, with a neon-lighted cross in the foreground, to give fans an initial taste of classic Ministry-ness. After the sound check and the stage setup, which included a chain link fence throughout the front stage perimeter, it was lights out.

To say that Ministry is political is an understatement – they incorporate many aspects of current and past politics into their music. This was pretty clear with how the band initiated their set – a Ukrainian flag with the words “Ministry stands with Ukraine” was projected in the backdrop, while a recording of Державний Гімн України – the Ukrainian national anthem – played. After this introduction Ministry began their live set with “Breathe”, a classic off their 1989 album The Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste. Throughout the set, Uncle Al and crew would give snarling looks through the fence as they sang and/or played their instruments, making you wonder if the fence was placed there for more than just a mere prop. Either way, as Ministry progressed through the night, the viciousness of the music ramped up the energy on both sides of the fence. This first act was closed off with a fierce back-to-back parade of “N.W.O”, “Just One Fix”, “Thieves”, and “So What”, with the members slowly exiting the stage one by one, leaving the bassist Paul D’Amour and drummer Roy Mayorga on stage to close things off. Afterwards darkness again, with crews taking down the chain link fence. This can be interpreted as a metaphor that Ministry will be letting it all loose and not hold back for the encore.

Once Uncle Al and the rest of Ministry returned to the stage, they treated the fans with “Alert Level” and “Good Trouble” from their latest 2021 release Moral Hygiene. The final song was a cover of “Search and Destroy” by Iggy and the Stooges. Uncle Al let the crowd know that it was going to be their last song for the night, which propelled the crowd to let it all out and enjoy the coming sonic slaughter.

For many fans this was a night that had been rescheduled and rescheduled again, but the wait was worth it to have finally been able to attend this double whammy of bands. As established bands, both Ministry and Melvins have been around for almost four decades; but their music does not sound dated at all, and this was none the more evident than tonight where fans with grey hair and canes could rock out side-to-side with their teenage counterparts, high-fiving each other as rock/metal brothers-in-arms. Will we have this explosive duo tour again, delighting young and old as they’ve been doing this tour? Only time will tell, but let’s hope so.



Ommar Ortuvia
Merging my love of music and photography, I ended up here. No soy ni chicha, ni limonada.