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Achtung, Babies

HANZEL UND GRETYL play industrial music on which they hang the biggest, most ridiculous MOTORHEAD-type riffs you have ever heard. Despite being from New York, they appear to sing mostly in German; that is, when you can even remotely understand what language they're singing in. They assert the need for fist-pumping by the audience during every single unintelligibly anthemic chorus; the drummer even climbs up on his drums at least three times during a single set to encourage an even greater level of audience hysteria, whatever that might be. Two of the band members are so androgynous that between their SLAYER growling and rather fetching leather skirts, only DAVID BOWIE knows for sure. Another dresses like a gay German soldier from World War I.

In other words, they are the greatest band of all time.

At least that's what the crowd was acting like when they opened for MINISTRY at the Catalyst last Thursday, and they were such stupid, hilarious, hair-whipping fun that if you'd have been there, you--for one shining moment, anyway--might have thought so too.

Steve Palopoli

Al, You Know It's True

Ministry went ahead and put on a spectacular show after Hanzel and Gretyl, with frontman AL JOURGENSEN playing the key role in the spectacle, looking like a warrior on the battlefield of the apocalypse, screaming at the gods and throttling the bones that comprised his crucifix-shaped mic stand. They've come a long way since "Every Day Is Halloween," the most popular dance track at my local laser-tag arena goth-night back in 1984. Having grown up in Chicago during the '80s among friends who revered anything that came out on the WAX TRAX label, I was constantly drowning in a sea of industrial music, ignoring SKINNY PUPPY, not caring about debates over what KMFDM really stood for and not knowing that BAUHAUS was actually an art movement. But resistance was futile--I finally caved and bought Psalm 69, but I couldn't help feeling like a Johnny-come-lately. Then, last Thursday night at the Catalyst, all my years of hard work doing other things besides listening to Ministry paid off: When Jourgensen asked if we were ready for some old shit, and then launched into "N.W.O." and "Just One Fix," I got to cheer and sing along as if I'd been with them from the very beginning. If only my acid-eating, puppy-hating, REVOLTING COCKS-loving combat boot-wearing friends could see me now ...

Plus, Ministry brought their own light and sound system, which they used to maximum effect by (a) turning up the volume to 11, making the tiny tea kettles in my ears whistle all through the next day, and (b) syncing up the lights, the music and the ample samples and effects so perfectly that it was hard to tell what was live and what was iTunes, which was kinda sketchy because it blurred the line between real music and MILLI VANILLI (or, more recently, ASHLEE SIMPSON), but the music sounded exactly like the album and I totally got to feel old-school, so all is good.

Father Chuck

Sure, he drops the F-bomb like valley girls say "like," but his message at the Rio Thursday was surprisingly conservative. In a long-winded, occasionally entertaining and extremely roundabout way, CHUCK D called for old-fashioned accountability and responsibility in hip-hop. He schooled us on its history, lamented the current booty-and-thug soullessness of the genre and talked a whole lot about rules and role models--two subjects associated more closely associated with parochial schools than hip-hop. But Chuck made some compelling arguments, and if he can just tighten up his delivery like we know he can, then the next generation of would-be thugs might even listen.

Unidentified Farcical Object

Does anybody out there know who UFO are? I mean, obviously a lot of people do, given the packed house at the Catalyst last Saturday night. And I'm sure I could find plenty of information about them on the Internet, but really, what would be the point? The fact remains that they're still playing '70s hard rock like it never went out of style. Sweet.

Mike Connor

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From the November 24-December 1, 2004 issue of Metro Santa Cruz.

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