I specifically recall being at home watching MTV the first day I saw a Marilyn Manson video. It was frightening and fascinating all at the same time. The visuals affected me more than the music at that point and I can remember wanting to know more about this weird and wonderful man on the TV when my mother came in and told me that he was a devil worshipper. I promptly felt an inappropriate level of disdain (yes my childhood provided some level of religious direction) and forgot all about him for some years.
I rediscovered Manson in my A-Level years, when I borrowed a friend’s copy of Antichrist Superstar and fell hook, line and sinker. To a confused, arrogant and somewhat smothered teenager just waiting for the last day of school so I could escape not only the family home but the entire country and culture I was living in, Manson was a revelation. To this day, Tourniquet is one of my favourite songs.
I have heard varying accounts of a Manson gig. My brother saw him at a festival in Australia earlier in the year and reporting back scathingly (keeping in mind he loves Manson just as much as me, if not more), stating that Manson was so stoned/drunk/high that he could barely stand up let alone perform. My friend Jo has seen him twice before here in the UK saying he was good both times but definitely better when he was at Wembley Arena where it was big enough that he could put on a real production of a show. With all this in mind, I was nervous about seeing one of my favourite artists in case he was a complete let down. After all, so far as I know he still enjoys drug use and was performing at Brixton, not Wembley. So how was it?
SUBLIME. I swear Brixton Academy performs some sort of magic on its acts as I have yet to see a bad gig there. Manson was animated, loud, theatrical and downright brilliant. His voice was perhaps even better live than on his recorded works and he played nearly all my favourite tunes. In fact, if I could have given him my dream setlist before he went on stage and asked him to play it, it really wasn’t far off. Only the addition of Tainted Love (which I will argue ’til kingdom come is miles better than Soft Cell’s original) could have made it any better. If you missed him on this tour, go see him later this year when he tours with Rob Zombie. You won’t regret it. I may even buy you a beer.