Live Review: Marilyn Manson

O2 Academy, 05/12

Having a DJ perform is pretty unusual as far as support acts go for a show headlined by a name like Marilyn Manson, but then maybe that’s why Amazonica’s set is pleasantly surprising. Dressed in a spiked leather jacket and with cropped blonde hair, ‘Dirty Harry’ treats us to all the classic tunes, ranging from The Who and AC/DC to Rage Against The Machine and Eagles of Death Metal. The crowd is disappointingly apathetic save for a few pumped individuals, but to her credit her own wild energy alone makes up for this; Amazonica is in her prime, and with the electric Catty vibe she generates it quickly becomes clear why she deserves a place on tonight’s lineup.  

A short wait afterwards, the lights go down and crowd excitement peaks as an unmistakable growl pierces the air from behind the giant curtain hanging over the stage. The prop then drops to reveal the man himself and his equally impressive entourage as they launch straight into ‘Revelation #12’. Manson – having taken the phrase “Break a leg” a little too literally earlier on during this latest tour – sits in a grandiose motorized wheelchair like a cult icon in his throne. Despite having already seen him live and in the flesh before, it’s hard not to once again give into a sense of awe.

Tonight stands out from his last stop at Glasgow’s O2 Academy in 2015, though – for one thing, Manson’s a cappella ending of ‘This is the New Shit’ is a welcome twist in how it shows that his deep voice can be just as enticing on its own when it’s stripped back from everything else. Two crew members dressed in surgical scrubs eventually assist Manson out of his wheelchair and into a hands-free crutch – putting on his signature bowler hat, the singer transforms into some kind of cabaret goth pirate. Naturally, ‘Disposable Teens’ and ‘mOBSCENE’ are the usual crowd-pleasers, and the rest of the band are killing it as they let loose amongst a backdrop of strobe lights and smoke machines.  

Manson interacts with the audience too; just enough to make him seem like an approachable person like any other, but not enough to shatter his ‘God of Fuck’ persona or distract from the music itself. During ‘Kill4Me’, two fans dance and lurk on the edge of the stage (hey, maybe they actually would kill for him), and there is a glorious moment where crowd hype intensifies as one of them turns and freely bears her nipples to the room. The theatricality of the show doesn’t end there either – having wriggled about on a hospital bed for ‘Sweet Dreams’, Manson later on invites Juan Alderete over to centre stage as the two begin drumming on his bass guitar, and it doesn’t take long for us to recognise it as the intro to ‘The Beautiful People’. Following the encore, the evening ends on a solid finish with another classic, ‘Coma White’; the lyrics “But all the drugs in the world won’t save her from herself” leaving us with a bitter sweet dose of reality.

The extended breaks taken in between songs for the switch-over of props may have been a drag and disrupted the flow of the gig somewhat, but if anything it seems to be a sign of dedication on Manson’s part to ensure that his fans get what they pay for. And sure, dropping the mic at the end of almost ever song may lose its effect after while, but ultimately the night delivered on exactly the kind of pure decadent in-your-face rock you’d expect. What did you do with your Tuesday?

[Anni Payne]

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