Live Review: Rob Zombie + Alice Cooper + Ministry + Filter @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park – August 29th 2023

Halloween came early to Raleigh NC this year, as Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper brought their ‘Freaks on Parade’ tour to Coastal Credit Union Music Park on Tuesday, August 29th.  Following a successful run last summer, Rob Zombie returned with his Freaks On Parade, this time joining forces with fellow shock rock icon Alice Cooper, and adding support from industrial trailblazers Ministry and alternative rockers Filter.

Filter at Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh NC, August 29th 2023

With four acts on the bill, the venue filled early in the evening.  Luckily the extreme heat that had been prevalent most of the summer had slightly broken and there was a bit of a breeze that made the heat and humidity bearable.  Those that were able to make it early were treated to a great opening set from Filter.  Having just released The Algorithm, their first album in seven years, mastermind and frontman Richard Patrick and his bandmates were inspired and ready to deliver the opening salvo of glitchy industrial rock with Filter’s signature alt-rock hooks.  The band hit the stage and immediately grabbed the crowd.  They played a solid condensed set that mixed new songs from The Algorithm, including “The Drowning,” and “For the Beaten’”with fan favorites like, “Take a Picture,” and “Hey Man Nice Shot.”  The new songs fit perfectly in the setlist with their classic material, providing a modern take on the soaring anthemic Filter sound.  The crowd was up and cheering as Filter brought their 30-minute set to a triumphant conclusion, living up to the old adage “Leave them wanting more.”

Ministry at Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh NC, August 29th 2023

Next up were industrial metal pioneers Ministry, lead singer, instrumentalist and producer Al Jourgensen.  Despite the fact that Ministry has reached the 40th anniversary of their first release, 1983’s With Sympathy, Al Jourgensen is grinding out Ministry songs with as much ferocity as ever.  The crowd reaction was as intense as Jourgensen’s delivery.  Like Filter before them, Ministry was limited to a short but powerful set that managed to hit some highlights from a long and illustrious career that included, “Thieves,” “The Missing,” “N.W.O.,” and “Just One Fix.”  Ministry left the crowd rabid and frothing for more.  It was a heavy primal experience that provided an ideal link into the headlining sets to come.  And what was to come were stunning over the top horror-filled theatrical performances from two shock-rock music icons.

Alice Cooper at Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh NC, August 29th 2023

The first of the headlining sets was delivered by Vincent Damon Furnier, better known to the music world as Alice Cooper.  At 75 years old, Cooper is still a formidable performer who augments his shows with a solid cast of very talented musicians.  An Alice Cooper show is as much about the performance as it is about the music.  His set is filled with stunning and shocking visuals based in old-school horror.  Alice did not simply take the stage, he emerged from behind the front page of a giant newspaper hanging from the ceiling stage with the headline, “Banned In North Carolina! Alice Cooper – Trial Set: For Deeds Against Humanity”.  He started with a tease of “Lock Me Up,” before launching into the hits “No More Mr. Nice Guy,” and “I’m Eighteen.”  The rest of his 65-minute set was a solid blend of old favorites and newer gems from across his vast catalog.  The performance was filled with high production-value visuals that saw Alice handling a large snake, and being chased by a towering Frankenstein monster during “Feed My Frankenstein.”  The penultimate section of the show saw Alice wrapped in a straitjacket, electrocuted, and ultimately beheaded in a guillotine by Marie Antoideath, played by his wife, Sheryl Cooper.  Luckily not even death can stop Alice Cooper as he was resurrected to finish the show.  Throughout everything, Cooper’s songs were expertly delivered by his backing band led by the triple wave of lead and rhythm guitar heroics from Nita Strauss, Ryan Roxie, and Tommy Henricksen, with Chris Wyse expertly deputizing on bass for Chuck Garrick, and Glen Sobel driving the beat on drums and percussion.  While Cooper was undoubtedly the center of the show, he often brought the band up to the front of the stage to share the spotlight, and fan favorite guitar slinger Nita Strauss was even given a scorching solo.

Alice ended his show with a romp through “School’s Out,” that included a snippet of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall Pt. 2”.  It was a wildly entertaining set that showed the iconic Godfather of shock-rock still has some gas in the tank and can hold his own with the acts that have followed in his shadow.

And speaking of acts who have followed the trail blazed by Alice Cooper, the final headliner of the evening Rob Zombie has been a friend and frequent collaborator with Cooper since 1996, when they wrote and recorded a Grammy-nominated song for The X-Files.  Alice has even referred to Rob as being “like my little brother.” And Alice Cooper’s little brother was more than up to the task of closing out the ‘Freaks on Parade’ show in Raleigh.

Rob Zombie at Coastal Credit Union Music Park in Raleigh NC, August 29th 2023

Like Alice Cooper before him, Rob Zombie is an artist who is adept at mixing music and visual arts.  As the curtain dropped for his set, Zombie was at the front of the stage on a riser behind a large cyber-punk looking metallic demonic skull with “ZOMBIE” blazoned across its brow.  He started off with “The Triumph of King Freak (A Crypt of Preservation and Superstition) from his most recent album, 2021’s The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy.  Clad in his signature look of cowboy hat pulled down low over his long dreadlocks, bell-bottomed jeans, and custom patchwork jacket, Zombie blasted through a set that was heavy on songs from his triple-platinum debut solo album, Hellbilly Deluxe: 13 Tales of Cadaverous Cavorting Inside the Spookshow International, but also included highlights from across his seven-album catalog as well as a few White Zombie songs for good measure.  Crowd favorites included, “Superbeast,” “Feels So Numb,” “Living Dead Girl,” and “Thunder Kiss ’65.”

The stage was adorned with large video screens that played an endless array of wild and sometimes unsettling images, like clips from Zombie’s cult classic horror film, House of 1000 Corpses that accompanied the band playing the film’s theme song.  Not to be outdone by Alice Cooper before him, Rob Zombie’s performance also included large devils roaming the stage, towering flames, and even a dancing evil robot during “More Human Than Human.”  Providing the sonic wave of sound behind the sound clips and stunning visuals fell to Piggy D on bass, Ginger Fish behind the towering drum kit, and the recently returned Mike Riggs on guitar.  The band more than ably blazed through the setlist with a thundering ease that belied their talent, making sure the music held its own against the visual assault.  Through it all Rob Zombie managed to remain the center of attention, roaming the stage, wildly dancing, and working up the crowd.  By the time Zombie closed with fan favorite “Dragula,”  it was hard to tell who was more spent, Rob or the delirious fans.

Rob Zombie and Alice Cooper with Ministry and Filter @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park
Photos © Dan Kulpa // Clashdan Photography // @clashdan

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