Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Do you love your guns, god, your government?" Marilyn Manson @ The Metro Centre - September 25, 2009 :: Concert Review

Battling the swine flu and poor ticket sales on the East Coast leg of his Canadian tour, Marilyn Manson had a lot of things working against him coming into Halifax. However, like the Cooper's and Bowie's before him have proved, the show must go on; and go on it did.

From the first phrase of "We're From America," Manson's voice was a little raspier than usual. Coupled with 2-3 minute pauses between each song of the hour and a half set, the sickness was evident. But the Antichrist Superstar gave it his all, and screamed (literally) his way through a blistering set of 14 songs.

The set list was an interesting mix of new material from the High End of Low album, ripping out some classics like "Sweet Dreams," "The Dope Show," and "The Beautiful People." Of course, the show wasn't without some personal highlights like "The Love Song," "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" and the Patti Smith cover "Rock N' Roll Nigger" from Manson's famed Smells Like Children EP.

Honestly, the new album isn't that great. It's not terrible, but some of the songs (most of which are about breaking up with Evan Rachel Wood and/or Dita Von Teese) come off as a little bland. However, the new songs were heavy as hell and gave me a completely new outlook on the record (which I will promptly give a re-listen). "Pretty as a Swastika" is probably the heaviest Manson song I've heard since anything off Antichrist Superstar. Definitely blew my mind, and my expectations of the High End of Low, out of my skull. Even the ballad, "Running To The End of The World" reveled in the grandiose Deep Purple-like organ, making the song an interesting toned-down choice for the set list (especially since he didn't play the first single from The High End of Low, "Arma-God Damn-Mother-Fucking-Geddon.")

Of course, it wouldn't be a Marilyn Manson show without the use of some provoking Nazi-esque backdrops, some upside-down cross lights, knife microphones, glitter and confetti canons. The props were a little toned down compared to the last time I saw Manson in Montreal three years ago. A giant high chair and a make-shift boxing ring were definitely lacking this time around, but the spotlight, smoke filled, paparazzi inspired setting during "The Dope Show" almost made up for that.

Montreal comparison's aside, it was great to see the band with original bassist Twiggy Ramirez - though he was playing guitar this time around - and with the driving force of drummer Ginger Fish (complete with two kick drums!). It's hard to believe that the unmistakable, thick crunching guitars ever-present on Manson tracks comes from one guitar on any given recording, but the band usually tends to stick to one guitar live - though on "Dried Up and Dead to World" Manson himself donned a guitar.

The breaks between songs kind of killed the momentum at times, and having the flu definitely took a toll on Manson (and his voice), but the set list selection combined with his relentlessness and show-must-go-on attitude made up for any lacking elements.
I would be lying if I didn't say I wasn't channeling my 15-year-old self most of the time, pumping my fists and singing along, all while staring in awe at one of my favorite rock n rollers of all time - so all in all, I had a great time and was consistently impressed by the Antichrist himself. Hopefully I won't have to wait three years to see him again.

01. We’re From America
02. Disposable Teens
03. Pretty as a Swastika
04. The Love Song
05. Irresponsible Hate Anthem
06. Four Rusted Horses
07. Dried Up, Tied, and Dead to the World
08. Leave a Scar
09. The Dope Show
10. Running to the Edge of the World
11. Rock is Dead
12. Sweet Dreams
13. Rock n’ Roll Nigger
14. Beautiful People

Sweet Dreams:


The Dope Show:


Beautiful People:



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