Ministry at Hollywood Palladium: Don't Fence Us In

The metal-grate fencing that went up around the stage just before Ministry's set Friday at the Hollywood Palladium put one in mind of the chicken wire famous for protecting bar bands down in the South. Except, if anything, this fence wasn't erected to protect the band from patrons throwing bottles on stage, but from fans hurling themselves on stage.

Then again, this barricade between performers and audience more likely served some unknown symbolic purpose, like a scaled-down version of Pink Floyd's wall. Lest bruising contact between singer and crowd be preempted altogether, knee-pad-clad frontman Alain Jourgensen did climb over and lob himself into the sweaty sea of faces again and again, in visually arresting if not altogether convincing acts of atonement.

The two-man Ministry expanded to an octet for live reproduction of its percussive punk, speed-metal and industrial noise-type grinding and wheezing--truly exhilarating in double-time, and exasperating when the minimalism slowed to a cacophonous crawl. If vocals are already rendered incomprehensible by arrogant distortion on record, imagine how much less actual content seemed to figure into things at the Palladium. To quote Pink Floyd: Tear down the wall.

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