Marilyn Manson '97 UK tour

Wolverhampton, Leeds & Nottingham

May 26, 27 & 28

An all in one rather than 3 seperate reviews. Saves on the typing y'know. So, the Beautiful People made it back, and they even managed to play Nottingham this time, though more of that later.

First a mention for support band Pist.on. They're an ok band, nothing too special, although I may give the CD a few more spins after seeing them. Their best song is still Grey Flap, and I don't care, but I remain to be convinced by a band doing a cover of a Smiths tune, matter of principle :)

But really, they were of inconsequence to the main attraction for everyone. And so, Marilyn Manson had a hell of a lot to live up to, especially in my eyes given

  • A) I'm a cynical bastard,
  • B) that they cancelled on Friday 13th when I went to see them, 10mins before the doors were due to be opened, and
  • C) they've had an inordinate amount of press and hype here.

    All these things combined mean it's going to be tough for them in my eyes. I'm afraid I'm not going to fall to my knees and kiss their feet

    Seems most people don't think the same as me though, given the amount of people arriving in their everyday make-up and costume dramas. Ah, good to know that Manson's tirade of individuality is getting through. Hell, it made me in my long hair, jeans and t-shirt seem an individual again ... almost.

    But given my reservations about it, what of the gigs. Well, the band seemed to have an interesting concept. No, not the antichrist superstar, I mean the 'let's shorten the set every night' concept. The set was about 3 or 4 songs shorter by the time it got to Nottingham. Ah, but that's being a temperamental artiste for you. Combined with the fact that he was right to do it in Leeds. More again soon.

    So, for the general run through then, then individual highlights. Start of the gig was pretty much the same each night. Angel with the scabbed wings, Get your gunn, Cake & Sodomy, Tourniquet and Lunchbox is a good start. After this, you'll have to forgive me, you will won't you :), for the set order, as stuff from ACS dominated, and, well, personally, I don't rate the album as much as Portrait, and as a result haven't listened to it enough to be able to remember all the songs and the order they get played in. But whatever, given that you know the stuff, and have probably seen them yourselves, they do some stuff, then Sweet Dreams, which interestingly got probably the best reception each night. Never understood why. I'm missing something, but I don't see what's so great about it. But what do I know. Beautiful people also get's a good reception, and throw in a bit more from ACS (I think tied up, dried ... Antichrist Superstar and maybe more) and we get to encore time.

    Now some of the individual gig bits, bugger, I knew I shouldn't have tried this 3 in 1 lark. But anyway, Wolverhampton. Seemed to get the works. We get the stilts for one song, the dress up in a suit and use the podium with that oh so fascist like symbol , complete with the left over of Type O Negative's snowstorm. Did they play Apple of Sodom here as well. I've not heard that one, though heard of it, and there was one track I just didn't recognise, but from what I could make out of the lyrics, I've a feeling it may have been. Could be wrong. So shoot me. For the encore, we get Irresponsible Hate Anthem, the slowed down 1996, complete this evening with dedication of the song to the person who liked cops, and for a second encore, Man that you fear, or is it the reflecting god, like I said, the album didn't impress me enough to listen to loads, and much of it sounds alike, repeated lyrics through different songs.

    Fast forward 24 hours to leeds, where we don't get the stilts, or the podium, or the snow, although we were treated to the sight of Madonna catching Twiggy's spit in his mouth. The encore is Irresponsible Hate Anthem again, complete this time with saying how people left these Shores for America a few hundred years ago, the land of the free, but if you look at the band you'll see they fucked up. Sorry to be picky, but looking at the band, the land of the free concept doesn't appear fucked up, if it was, they wouldn't be allowed to dress like that or leave the country, although I agree with what he meant. Anyway, during 1996 we had the if you've ever lived in Leeds and been to the T&C a few times, you knew it was coming incident. For more details, see my rant at the Korn gig. Basically, again, plastic beer glasses were thrown. So Manson asked if we wanted more music or if the fuckheads were going to continue to throw shit. So they start up the slow version of 1996. First bit in and another glass gets thrown. So Manson get's the lights up and offers the people the chance to get up on the stage so he can kick their teeth in. Surprisingly no-one agrees. Not so tough now as he put it. Next verse and he stops again, as someone has shouted at him. Intelligent stuff from Manson, picks out the person and asks what he said, give him a chance he says. Next verse, stop again. We have the guy all wrong apparently, cos before he called Manson a fucking pussy, know he's calling him a God. Nice turnaround. The rest of the song is finished with references to fucking pussy placed where possible and the guilty party being pointed out. Cool turnaround of the situation, but the song ends, the drumkit is trashed and there is no second encore. As I said, it was not unexpected, I'm afraid Leeds is a great place, great venue, but notorious and fucked up for this sort of shit.

    Forward to Nottingham. Last date of the tour, the place they cancelled at before. Things are pretty much the same for the majority of the main set. No stilts, podium, nothing. Not surprised to an extent, as it's the smallest venue, in physical dimension terms. Encore is Irresponsible again, complete with pretty much the same speech, but that's it. Trash drumkit and no 1996 or second encore. Could be tonight he was pissed with technical difficulties as he smashed a few, non-conforming microphones. But given the fuck off the gave Nottingham last time, and the fact that ticket prices virtually doubled in the five months they were away, and they then didn't give the full stage set that was promised or seen in some other parts of the country, well, it doesn't help the opinion. Course, some others won't realise, as the didn't see other gigs.

    So, at the end of the day, did they measure up. Hmmm. They were entertaining I guess, but really, given all the hype that's gone before, no they didn't. There was no stage set at Leeds or Nottingham, despite their promises, Nottingham was short changed in terms of the set length, which is exasperated by their cancellation 10mins before doors were due to open the last time they played there, or didn't as the case was. And really, the stage display isn't anything special. It's only Manson that does anything. The rest are really anonymous. If it weren't for the fact that they are done up, then they'd be no different to most other bands, and I'm afraid that just putting on makeup and dresses or whatever, doesn't catipult a band into the ohmygod they were awwwwessssoooommmmmeeeee league. Having said that, the Wolves gig was by far the best of the lot.

    Was the stage presence and movements outrageous. Nah, not really. All in all, it has to be taken and judged in the right context. If you think that they are the second coming, and that ACS is the greatest thing ever, then you'll have probably liked it. As I said, I prefer POAAF, and as they didn't play the UK in support of that album, it would've been nice to hear Dogma, Dopehat, My Monkey that stuff. I know they don't play it much now in the states, but for us it would've been nice, and for me, more preferable to so much ACS. If you're old and cynical like me, then it was just another show really.

    If you judge based on what they performed, stripped of all the hype, then it was good, but possibly no more. But you can't, as they've been instrumental in the creation of the hype, so they have to be judged against that which they've created. It left me with the same feeling as seeing White Zombie last year. You're led to believe you'll get more than you do, and by that I mean show, presence, not necesarily outrage.

    And as I mentioned, there's the small fact that tickets went from 5 pounds to 9.50 pounds in the space of 5 months, and without a stage show (which they appeared to promise - playing venues that can support the American show) to justify the increase. It's a big increase. Sure, it's what most tickets cost, but it leaves you thinking that when they are looking to establish a reputation and profile, then keep it cheap. That combined with the right press will draw people in. Then, zzzzonk, slap the prices up. They're not the only ones to do so. Ticket costs for Korn recently went sky high compared to when they toured in January. It seems to be a standard thing these days, maybe nothing to do with the bands, I don't know, but it leaves the average person like me feeling a bit pissed with it. And that's combined with the fact that there's been a lot of bands touring lately, and there are a number of festivals in the coming months. A lot of money.

    Of course, I'll probably be in a minority of 1 with all that opinion. See, people want and think they need Manson and Korn and everything so badly it hurts, and that anything will seem like the second coming. Me, I like the music, but I tend to try keep a more rational mind about it all. They're not a bad band, but they have much to live up to, much of which is their own doing, so you create the rules by which you are judged. I say what I think and like, not what the trend wants or dictates. That seems these days to be more individual than all the makeup wearing, ADIDAS sporting clones which abound. Which all makes me the fool right for seeing them 3 times. Well, there's the curiosity factor, and the plain fact that I like going to gigs, and there's nothing really better to do.Old and cynical, you'll probably get there one day to :) But it still doesn't beat Sick of it All and Faith No More as my personal gigs of the year so far.

    I guess ultimately I still can't decide, I want to like, because I used to, but ...