TVD Live Shots:
Ministry with Gary Numan and Front Line Assembly at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 5/3

Industrial giants Ministry stopped off at the Fillmore in Silver Spring on May 3, supported by New Wave god Gary Numan and Front Line Assembly. This celebrated lineup wowed the DC-area crowd.

Starting promptly at 7pm, Canadian band Front Line Assembly, or FLA, kicked off Wednesday night’s gig with heavy dose of electro-industrial music. Specifically, Front Line Assembly is known for combining electro-industrial elements with electronic body music, or EBM. For the uninitiated, EBM has its roots in the European punk and industrial music worlds; it combines industrial music and synth-punk with some elements of dance music.

Led by Bill Leeb, Front Line Assembly started with 2010’s “I.E.D.” from the album Improvised.Electronic.Device. While FLA has 17 albums in its discography, from 1987 to 2021, the set list drew from albums released from the 1990s to 2013. I was surprised to hear my 1985 jam “Rock Me Amadeus” in the set, which made for a bit of fun nostalgia. The crowd-pleasing, 30-minute set was dark and atmospheric; as a photographer it was great fun to shoot.

It had been over a year since I’d last seen and covered electronic music pioneer Gary Numan; I reviewed his gig at Washington DC’s Lincoln Theatre in March 2022. At that time, I was super stoked to photograph one of my bucket list artists—at the Fillmore on May 3, I was so happy and excited to be able to do it again. Before the show started, I spent a lot of time telling the security staff and other photographers around me how good his set was going be. I was right.

At 8pm Numan took the stage, opening with “Intruder,” from the 2021 album of the same name. As I mentioned in my write up last year, Intruder has been characterized by Numan as something of a companion piece to 2017’s Savage (Songs from a Broken World); both albums address themes of the Earth’s pending climate disaster.

At the Fillmore, Numan’s set drew from his 21st century body of work. The aforementioned “Intruder” remains a favorite of mine, and I was very happy to see that “My Name Is Ruin” from Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is still in his set—that song is one of my very favorite of the last ten years by any artist. The heavier sound of more recent work may be surprising to those only familiar with early hits “Metal” and “Cars,” which still get enthusiastic responses from the crowd. But it holds its own against Numan’s work from the ’80s. Gone is the android look from that era; Numan and his incredible band now dress and move like goths coming in from the desert. Coupled with the stage lights, it’s riveting to watch. I love it and find it endlessly fun to photograph. What a joy.

Synth-pop roots are a common thread in this line up; Chicago’s Ministry started as a synth-pop band before evolving into one of the great pioneering industrial rock/metal outfits of the late 1980s. The band has gone through many lineups, and founder Al Jourgensen is the sole original member. The current lineup includes guitarists Cesar Soto and Monte Pittman, bassist Paul D’Amour, Roy Mayorga on drums, and keyboardist John Bechdel.

Ministry kicked off their set with a trio of songs from 2021’s Moral Hygiene: the dystopian “Alert Level,” the John Lewis tribute “Good Trouble,” and “Disinformation.” This obviously set the tone for much of the set; politics remained on prominent display in the front half and included a new song from Hopium for the Masses, to be released later this summer—“Goddamn White Trash.” It went over well with the DC-area crowd and made me giggle a bit. Jourgensen said quietly after the song, “It’s funny because it’s true.”

Jourgensen acknowledged that fans were probably there to hear old material and he rewarded their collective patience by reaching back to the band’s 1980s albums for the second half of the set. At this point the crowd surfers were making their way over the barrier—the still young and those young at heart. A good metal gig will do that to a crowd.

While the spring tour with Gary Numan and Front Line Assembly wrapped up May 13, you can catch Ministry later this summer touring with Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper.




Front Line Assembly Setlist
Killing Grounds
Rock Me Amadeus

Gary Numan Setlist
Everything Comes Down to This
Here in the Black
Love Hurt Bleed
The Chosen
My Name is Ruin
A Prayer for the Unborn

Ministry Setlist
Alert Level
Good Trouble
Believe Me
Broken System
Goddamn White Trash
Just One Fix
The Missing
Burning Inside

Ricky’s Hand

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