House Of Vans Hosts Show Honoring Wax Trax! Records With Film Screening And Performances By Cold Cave & Ministry
On Saturday April 13th, the city of Chicago had quite the special Record Store Day thanks to the House of Vans hosting a documentary film screening of Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records. The screening not only had a panel discussion and Q&A after the film, but a live music performances by opening act Cold Cave and headliner Ministry.
For those not necessarily in the know, Julia Nash, daughter of the founder of Wax Trax! Records Jim Nash, along with her husband Mark Skilicorn, produced and directed this mighty fine documentary. The documentary is a beautiful and insightful record of Jim Nash and Dannie Flesher, founders/owners of Wax Trax! Records, and the story behind the iconic label and record store.
How special is it for the city of Chicago, to have these two wisecracking pioneers relocate from Denver to Lincoln Park, and single handedly create and become the forward thinkers to releasing records devoted to a new genre of music: "Industrial" or better yet- "Industrial Swing," or better still- "Wicked Industrial Disco"-- as I like to call it.
Wax Trax! Records’ fourth release was from Front 242, a band that had a profound influence on Industrial Music, or what they liked to call "Electronic Body Music."
For a period of about 15 years after the 242 release, Wax Trax! would sell over a million records by Ministry, My Life With the Thrill Kill Kult, Revolting Cocks, KMFDM, and 1000 Homo DJ's, just to name a few.
Yes, there's sadness to this story- the demise of the record label, let alone the record store from Lincoln Avenue, and its inevitable end at Damen in Wicker Park.
We’re not here to dwell on that, as this night is a celebration of Wax Trax!’s influence to music. To have the bands, the players behind the scenes, and the devoted fans reconvene at House of Vans on Record Store Day for a film screening and show honoring the store and label, it is clear that Wax Trax! Records does not need a formal address. For it lives on, and will continue to live on, through the people it impacted.
Ministry, fronted by the mighty Al Jourgenson, headlined the Record Store Day event at House of Vans.
At soundcheck, it was hard to make heads or tails on what to expect setlist wise. Outside of Chris Connelly working out vocal duties alongside Al, not much time was given to early Ministry/Wax Trax! releases.
What inevitably transpired during the performance was a set heavily devoted to early Ministry and it's side projects. Ministry’s set included "The Land of Rape and Honey," "The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste," and "Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs." Their set was also peppered with songs from the Revolting Cocks and 1000 Homo DJ's. The four songs with Chris Connelly adding vocals, elevated the performance to a whole other level. Towards the end of an acoustic version of "Everyday is Halloween," the audience devotedly sang along with the refrain and the chorus.
Openers Cold Cave, even with some projector problems and a short set, did not disappoint.
Wesley Eisold and Amy Lee have such solid musicianship performing live that the songs truly speak for themselves with a blast furnace swing and might throughout.
An incredible band, that is Cold Cave.
Relentless in scope and might, and considering the tidy and cozy confines of House of Vans, that is saying something. A truly trailblazing show from beginning to end. This was the best I've heard full on Ministry in years.
This show from Ministry still resonates in my head days after, and trying to comprehend what I just witnessed leaves me drained, in a good way.
A most splendid time all around.
As for Wax Trax!, the brand, the documentary, Julia Nash and Mark Skilicorn...we have no problem singing their praises time and time again.
The label lives on, and the devoted fans show no letup in the love and support that is righteously reciprocated at any and all events.
What a magical evening from beginning to end.
1. The Missing
4. Jesus built My Hotrod
5. Just One Fix
8. Burning Inside (with Chris Connelly)
9. So What (with Chris Connelly)
10. No Devotion (Revolting Cocks cover with Chris Connelly)
11. Supernaut (1000 Homo DJ's cover from original song from Black Sabbath)
12. The Land of Rape and Honey
13. Every Day is Halloween (Acoustic version with Chris Connelly)
Words + Photos by Bobby Talamine