Tuesday 12 December 2017

Live: Marilyn Manson – Manchester Apollo 04/12/2017

MARILYN MANSON (+ Amazonica)
Apollo, Manchester

It has been a turbulent year for Marilyn Manson. The tragic loss of his father delayed the release of the album that became 'Heaven Upside Down', the firing of long-time friend and collaborator Twiggy Ramirez after historic rape allegations, and the freak accident involving an unsecured stage prop that left Manson with a broken leg and led to a series of American tour dates being cancelled. But the self-proclaimed god of fuck is a tough one to keep down. The new album has enjoyed rave reviews since its release and the tour has made a feature of Manson's injury that will no doubt be a talking point for many audiences for some time to come.

This latest tour sees an interesting support act in the form of DJ Amazonica. Yes, you read that correctly. Admittedly tour support slots are contentious things with most bands these days taking whoever is willing to pay for the slot, but this seems like a misstep. It's a common complaint that bands who often don't really need the exposure are often found supporting bigger ones to draw some of their own fans to the gigs, but in Amazonica this seems to have been completely forgone in what seems like the easiest and most convenient set-up possible.

The DJ has a pretty standard table set up and performs a pretty standard set comprised of rock and metal classics with the bass turned up and hard kicks inserted over the top. The mixing was pretty on-point and there was a good reaction from the crowd, but it was really underwhelming for a night like this. At a club night with a couple of guest bands and the time to let the songs play for more than 30 seconds each this would have been far more enjoyable, but in this context it would have been much nicer to see a new hungry young band give it their all tonight.

Despite the light setup of a few DJ decks and a table, Manson's stage time is still delayed by 30 minutes so the night will at least end at a proper time (honestly why are 10.30pm finishes for gigs even a thing?). When Manson does take to the stage it is to riotous applause as he nips around on an electric wheelchair cum throne to the strains of 'Revelation #12'. Manson then continues the majority of the set on a peg-leg and assisted with costume changes by a couple of helpers in scrubs.

The set list itself is a nice mix of old and new featuring the likes of 'This Is The New Shit', 'mOBSCENE', 'Disposable Teens', 'The Dope Show', 'Sweet Dreams', and 'Tourniquet' providing highlights. While the newer cuts are taken from the last two albums with 'Kil4Me', 'Deep Six', 'Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge', 'We Know Where You Fucking Live', and 'Say10'.

There were some contentious issues though with Manson occasionally stopping the songs in order to pump up the crowd, and even outright aborting 'I Don't Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me)', and the encore performance of 'Coma White'. Post 'Coma White' the encore went into a stalling and messy version of 'Saturnalia' that killed the momentum quite a bit with an extended guitar solo, before bringing it back with 'The Beautiful People' to close the show. Obviously with a broken leg, climbing the podium for 'Antichrist Svperstar' was out of the question so that was an understandable cut.

Despite the broken leg and the odd stalls to the set it was otherwise a pretty solid showing from Manson. The band was tight and Manson and Tyler Bates' onstage chemistry is continuing to grow. And even though his movement was limited by the broken leg Manson still put on a show. It may not have been the huge spectacle of his mid-90s to mid-00s heyday, but he still give you plenty of bang for your buck.  

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