Marilyn Manson – $

Marilyn Manson is the musical equivalent of abortion on toast. It might be surprisingly good but it isn’t really my style, y’know?

I don’t seem to be alone in this. The promoter didn’t manage to fill more than a third of the Lotto Arena, which is far from Belgium’s largest venue, although Manson’s shameful performance at Graspop Metal Meeting this summer could be a major factor in the poor showup. The ones that did pitch, formed a crowd of surprising maturity and enthusiasm.

The support act, a low-key but quite charismatic British band called Esoterica (or esOtEriCA or whatever) that did a cover of Delerium’s “Silence” and made it sound even hotter than their female bass player. They single-handedly managed to restore much of my faith in the night, which is a deeply impressive feat for a cover band.

In all honesty, I can’t really tell whether I liked Marilyn Manson’s show, and just how much. It was definitely better than Graspop, but back then the crowd did not even cheer for an encore so that’s not saying much. The sound was decent, the gimmicks were entertaining, but there was something missing.
I can understand that they were trying to create a dark atmosphere but if the artist refuses to stand under the single working light, you may want to cut down on smoke a little so we can actually see him. Having to crane your neck to see if anything’s going on and where, is a mood killer.
Of course if you know the songs playing, there’s plenty to keep you awake. I was pleased to hear “Coma White” and “Coma Black” respectively, along with a whole string of oldies like “Beautiful People” and “Irresponsible Hate Anthem”; a safe but successful recipe. The shock effect was there but largely kept politically correct, which doesn’t do much for credibility.

While worth watching, the whole scene confirmed the fact that Manson has peaked some time ago, both in genre and personal inspiration. I think we were faced with one of the rare occasions in which the support act actually outstaged the main artist.
In his defense however, I heard Manson was in fact furious with his roadies during the gig, after hearing some of his props got stolen the night before as he asked for them.

Best out of five? I don’t think so.

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