Marilyn Manson - The Wiltern, Los Angeles
Mon, 25 Feb 2008 08:18:49
Marilyn Manson Photos
Marilyn Manson Videos
Have you ever been crucified before? Marilyn Manson has, at least figuratively, anyway. Fickle fans have come and gone. Protestors still come. Burlesque queen Dita Von Teese recently went. He's also in the midst of lawsuits, still. So it's fitting Manson opened up two nights at the Wiltern in Los Angeles with "Cruci-fiction in Space." However, when he hit the stage for the second night alongside old partner-in-crime/bassist Twiggy Ramirez and Slayer's Kerry King, it was evident that Satan was in the house. At a Manson show, that's all you really need. Now, it's been a few album cycles since Manson seemed truly evil, but dusting off "Little Horn" from his classic breakout Antichrist Superstar, with Twiggy on bass and King guesting on lead guitar, brought the heavily Hot Topic-clad crowd back to 1997.
In fact, Manson's phenomenal sets, Friday and Saturday, were heavy on Antichrist songs. He blazed through a scathing "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" (King guesting during the second night). Manson aimed that sonic firebomb directly at his detractors. "Tourniquet" sounded just as twisted as it did, when he first debuted it. When the screen behind Manson lit up in flames, "1996" spewed enough hate to burn the building down. The closing set combination "Reflecting God" and "Beautiful People" saw Manson back on his Antichrist podium and proved he's still the mainstream's king of all things evil. However, "Little Horn," a live rarity, was the highlight from that era, both nights. King brought a Slay-tanic edge to it the second night, but hearing that last lyrical breakdown, "Everyone will suffer now", couldn't help but send chills up the audience's collective spine. Manson's set remained light on Eat Me, Drink Me songs both nights. The first night, he played "If I Was Your Vampire" and "Heart Shaped Glasses." The second saw him replace "Vampire" with another rarity, "Mechanical Animals." That was the one big difference between the sets, and it did change the mood. The crowd erupted to hear "Mechanical Animals" the second night, and it was a good choice on Manson's part.
Manson talked a lot more in between songs during the first show, and as always, his banter proved cynical and witty. After an incredible rendition of "Great Big White World," he joked, "You know why I love Los Angeles? There are two kinds of people here. There are those that made me famous and made me a rock star. Then there are those that can only be famous, because they know me and fucked me—because I'm a rockstar." After an especially angry "Fight Song," he wryly joked, "I'd like to thank the Academy. I'd like to thank my drug dealers of Los Angeles. I'd like to thank God for all the loose women of Los Angeles. And, I'd like to thank God for striking down all of the people who are fucking me over." Aptly, that came right before "Dope Show."
The truth was, Manson didn't need to thank anyone. He's blazed his own path since he burst onto the scene in the mid-90s, in the face of detractors from the Right and the Left. Not only does he remain relevant, but he remains dangerous. A bastion of celebrity attention, girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood and Lindsay Lohan were both amidst the backstage circus. However, as angry as the set was—"Rock N' Roll ******" and "Sweet Dreams" never sounded better—Manson was at his best when stepping back. As fake snow fell during "Coma White," Manson poured his heart out, screaming that memorable chorus, "All the drugs in this world, won't save her from herself." It was forlorn, tattered and extremely poignant. Again, this was the dynamic that defined Manson in the '90s and why he resonated with a disenchanted nation. It's good to know that he can still pull it off. In fact, it was even better than ever.
Opening act, Ours provided the perfect segue into Manson's madness. Playing songs from their Rick Rubin-produced forthcoming Columbia release Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy, the band combined spacey, ethereal melodies with feral howls and a primal energy. The tambourine strains and ominous lighting, created an effect of strange uneasiness. Ours walked a fine line between art house-chic and metallic darkness during "Black" that simply entranced its listeners. Each song saw vocalist Jimmy Gnecco nearly bursting at the seams. His soft croon and violent howl, put him somewhere between Bono and Jonathan Davis. However, that's quite an inventive place to be, and the band have big things ahead.
It doesn't matter who tries to crucify him next, Manson still rules.