It was a wet and miserable leap day in 2012. While this may have been a damper on most people’s days, it actually set the tone for me as I headed to the Enmore Theatre for my one-and-only Sidewave show this year. Walking into a sea of black, I was wildly surprised at the diversity of the crowd, particularly in age. Some of Marilyn Manson’s original Australian fans appeared to be in the audience.
First up on the bill was horror-punk, Wednesday 13, and things did not get off to a great start. As the band came out, followed by main man, Mr. 13 himself, with a crescendo of hard-hitting music, the lights seemed to fail in supporting this stage entrance. Wednesday 13 actually had to scream for someone to “turn on the fucking lights” before things got going. It probably didn’t help things that the levels weren’t quite right, throwing the band into a bit of a funk.
Wednesday 13 had a lot of work to do to regain a vote of confidence in the crowd, but the band were clearly trying too hard to command the audience. Despite a decade-long reign of horror-punk/goth-rock, this crowd of Manson fans were not giving it up that easily. I loved every bit of the music, but there was no depth whatsoever in the set, so it just didn’t take off with most of the crowd. If I didn’t know them before tonight, I’d assume that these guys were touring on the release of their first EP. I hate to say it because their music sounds great, but tonight, they just couldn’t sell it.
After a 20-minute wait, we were blessed with the return of the newly reformed, Coal Chamber. It was pretty clear that these guys have only just returned to touring because, like Wednesday 13, things started off slow, but after a song or two, the band found their groove and it was great. Drummer, Mikey “Bug” Cox was something of a spectacle throughout the whole set. The sheer energy and vivacity as he flailed about flawlessly through every song was unbelievable. This was enhanced through strategic lighting and a crew member pouring a full bottle of water on him and the drums every two minutes. There were a bit too many “put your middle finger up” moments with no particular reason but just because this is a hard rock show, but other than that, Coal Chamber were the big winners of the evening.
That isn’t to say that the god of Fuck didn’t know how to ignite the crowd, but when he arrived on an excessively smoke filled stage to the intro of Anti-Chris Superstar, things went downhill very quickly. Just to ensure every show in Australia got the same fair treatment, Manson was absolutely beyond intoxicated on stage, to a point where his vocals were inaudible, and he spent an awful lot of time crawling on the stage. He appeared to have a severe dislike for a stagehand because he took every opportunity to throw his microphone or mic stand, followed by a harsh middle finger and aggressive shouting in the direction of said stagehand.
If I weren’t so keen to hear the obvious closer of The Beautiful People, I probably would have left early. The band were clearly getting pissed off with Manson and the crowd were loving hearing every song, but it seemed like most of us wanted to stay only to see what he might do next.
The most impressive part of his performance was the fact that his clothing didn’t rip while trying to hold in the seemingly 20 kg he has gained since his last tour down under. Manson looked to be drowning in a pool of self-loathing that, if he isn’t careful, will turn to a puddle of his own vomit, sending him out of this world in the way of so many before him. But while Keith Moon, Bon Scott and the like went out on top of their games, Manson will fade into nothing, like a flaming bag of shit on someone’s doorstep, because what he has become is an absolute joke. There is no connection to everything that was and has been Marilyn Manson for the past two decades. There is no desire to put on a good show for the crowd, or to play the songs that people have loved for so long.
There was nothing superstar about this anti-Christ. I’ve seen him before but I won’t see him again until he can revert back to the days where this was the standard of his show.
Putting on a live performance is not easy. Putting on live performances on consecutive nights after a festival like Soundwave is even less easy. So when February the 29th rolled around and the Enmore Theatre played venue to a Soundwave sideshow featuring Motionless in White, Wednesday 13, Coal Chamber and Marilyn Manson, the crowd were fairly understanding and forgiving – definitely a good thing because as last year’s Soundwave proved, when Slayer cancelled their Sydney show, a group of angry metalheads can get pretty damn rowdy.
With heavy rain and muggy humidity, the black clad fans were already less enthusiastic than they might have been. Groups of men and women of all ages came dressed in all manner of costumes, from the casual jeans and black t-shirt to fishnet tops, corsets, PVC bodysuits, chains, spiked platform heels, and everything in between. Crowded public transport and extensive traffic jams had taken their toll on the audience even before the doors opened, and while some managed to stay excited, it was telling that the bar was constantly busy and that the sides and back end of the Enmore were crowded with people sitting down, even while the bands played.
Motionless in White opened the gig at 7:30 as the crowd was still filtering in, the Pennsylvanian six-piece’s set drawing their hardcore fans to the front as this has been their first Australian tour. With just a short playing time, the band went through their big hits including Creatures and Puppets, to the adulation of their small contingent of fans. The most popular song, however, was their cover of Rob Zombie’s Dragula, a track that got even those unfamiliar with the band singing and swaying along.
A short wait later, Wednesday 13 took the stage, his arrival heralded by banners proclaiming ‘I wanna be cremated’. Striding on stage with a sceptre in hand, the metal legend was sadly let down by some lighting and sound mishaps, so that even after having to scream for the lights to be turned on the quality of the sound was well under par, the levels not having been properly adjusted. Regardless of the difficulties, Wednesday 13 was still a brilliant performer, consistently energetic and continually trying to reel the crowd in. The big break was Homicide, at the first strains of which the crowd sang (screamed?) along, hands up in the air. Again, however, the most popular song was not one of his own, but a song from his band Murderdolls – 197666, a short, fast and loud number that got the heads banging and the fists pumping.
Newly reformed Coal Chamber were the high point of the night. The crowd went off, and the band fed off the energy in turn. Fiend, in particular, saw the audience go wild, the rapid guitars and passionately growled lyrics creating a fast paced frenzy that got them jumping and throwing their heads around. Rowboat was also played absolutely spectacularly, the sound reverberating through the whole of the Enmore and utterly immersive, the crowd pulsing in time with the guitars. For a band that has been split up for a decade and that reformed with a new bassist – Chela Rhea Harper – they played with the same temerity and cohesiveness as a band that had just been touring extensively . They ended with Sway, almost the entire audience joining in with the anthem’s lines “the roof the roof is on fire, we don’t need no water let the motherfucker burn. Burn, motherfucker, burn.” Coal Chamber exited humbly, with some prepping for Manson. It was they, however, who stole the show, leaving the crowd wanting more and with high expectations.
It was to these high expectations that Marilyn Manson emerged, the red silk curtains lifting up to reveal a stage completely covered in smoke, from which a silhouette could be vaguely distinguished. Starting with Antichrist Superstar, Manson was received with thunderous cheers and applause. Yet it wasn’t long before the audience realised that Manson’s slurring and incoherence were not intentional, but that he was definitely way past sobriety. For a crowd in which every second person was wearing a piece of Manson merchandise, it was like watching a car crash – even after they knew it wouldn’t improve, they were glued to Manson, with the grotesque curiosity of wondering what he would do next.
This isn’t to say that Manson wasn’t entertaining – despite looking pregnant, his butt wiggling at the audience and the way he threw around stage equipment were so out of the norm for musicians that it was fascinating. If only it had sounded better, he would have put on a wonderful show. As it was, however, people who had gotten up sat back down, and some left early. Those who did stay standing up were mainly the Manson fans who knew enough of the lyrics and Manson’s recorded sound to be able to fill in the gaps for themselves that his live show left. Manson finished with Beautiful People, a wise choice as that was what everyone had been waiting for, and it was at that that the crowd truly went wild.
It was a pity that Manson appeared to be in such a mess, and that the lighting and sound for the evening were not perfectly managed. The crowd, however, tired after a long working day and a long concert did not make much of a fuss, happy enough with Coal Chamber’s performance, and ready to head off without causing a ruckus.
MARILYN MANSON On 'Born Villain': 'It Doesn't Really Sound Like Any Of My Old Records' - Mar. 2, 2012
Marilyn Manson spoke to Revolver magazine about his recently completed eighth studio album "Born Villain", which is due out this spring through Cooking Vinyl Records. The first single from the follow-up to 2009's "The High End Of Low", a song called "No Reflection", will be released in May.
"It doesn't really sound like any of my old records," Manson said about his new CD. "In fact it sort of sounds like what I listened to before I made records — KILLING JOKE, JOY DIVISION, REVOLTING COCKS, BAUHAUS, BIRTHDAY PARTY … It's very rhythm-driven. It's actually very bluesy. It's the first record where I repeat verses. I just sign the words in a different key, the next time. I've never done that before, because I've always felt like I needed to write a lot of words in the past … I think this will probably be the grandest concept record of all."
Manson, whose macabre lyrics and outrageous stage behavior have been controversial, also spoke about how he defines "shock rock." "People expect me to me a 'shock rocker,' but there's nothing you can do anymore to be shocking," he told Revolver. "All you can do is be confusing. Don't ever empty the bucket of mystery. Never let people define what you do. It's not about zigging when you should zag. It's not about doing something unprecedented and unpredictable. It's just about never being a word, or something that is not in the process of transformation."
Manson's U.S. theater tour is scheduled to kick off April 27.
The singer last September unveiled a new music video for the song "Born Villain" directed by actor Shia LaBeouf.
Drummer Ginger Fish (real name: Kenneth Robert Wilson) quit MARILYN MANSON in February 2011 and has since joined ROB ZOMBIE. He has been replaced by the Los Angeles-based drummer Jason Sutter.
MARILYN MANSON in 2009 parted ways with longtime record label Interscope following the disappointing sales performance of "The High End Of Low".
"The High End Of Low" was Manson's first album with longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez since 2000's "Holy Wood".
With their new disc ‘Born Villain’ finished and ready for a spring release date, Marilyn Manson and his band have been hitting the stage of the Soundwave Festivals in Australia, warming up for their North American ‘Hey Cruel World’ Tour that kicks off in late April. Triple J radio recently caught up with Manson in Australia and talked about the making of ‘Born Villain,’ how he approached the writing process this time around, and inching out the competition.
Manson considers his new album ‘Born Villain’ “very cinematic”, explaining, “It’s very cinematic in the sense that when you’re watching a movie and you feel the tension of the score or what’s happening in the film and something violent is gonna happen. You wanna be able to change it when you’re watching the movie.” Beyond the cinematic touches, Manson also feels it his most conceptual work to date and really tells a story.
Although his career has stood the test of time, Manson felt it was important to get back to basics for ‘Born Villain, saying, “You say you’re making a comeback, that means you have to admit that you’ve not done what you’ve done before, continuously, as well. I had to admit that to myself and realize how do I fix this and I had to just take it back to basics.” He continued, “I had to take it back to my brother and my partnership with Twiggy and we had to just go back to the simple things.”
Manson realizes that in addition to all the bands from his era, a whole new regime has marched in, and that being the best he can be is really what’s important. “I have to have ambition, I’m competing against people from the same era as me, people from new eras, so the main point is being determined to be the best at what you do, whatever it is,” explains Manson. “That may sound a little bit too athletic like it should be on a Wheaties box, which I don’t eat breakfast by the way because I’m usually still awake, but I think it’s having the determination to succeed in what you do, and not ever being satisfied with that, always wanting more and wanting to be the best you can be.”
As far as if he’ll ever stop? Manson said, “Eventually I will stop at certain things, when I don’t feel I can do them as well as I should but I feel like I can do this better than I did before, and that’s why I’m doing it right now.”