LIVE: Marilyn Manson @ O2 Apollo, Manchester (04/12/2017)
December 8th, 2017
We’re approaching almost 30 years now since the inception of Marilyn Manson; one of the most controversial and headline grabbing public figures in the world of rock and metal. It wasn’t too long ago that The God of Fuck almost became The God of Fuck All, but managed to clamber his way out of obscurity, and reinvigorated his stance and relevance in the world throughout his latest three records.
With the rocky late 00s behind him, Manson has progressively pulled himself back into the limelight, brushed off the dust and dirt from those first couple of comeback records, and, though no longer grabbing headlines in such gasp inducing fashion, he’s captivating and building his fanbase on the road in support of album number ten, ‘Heaven Upside Down’.
Enlisted as the sole support act for the UK leg of the tour, you may know The Amazonica  under her far more well known alias, Dirty Harry. It somewhat makes sense that she’s in the same circles as Manson; along with her own rock solo work, she once featured on Cradle Of Filth‘s cover of ‘Temptation’ by Heaven 17. What doesn’t make sense, however, is what she adds as a support act. Essentially a club DJ set, there’s no cohesion, melding, or bleeding together of the tracks at all. This could easily be a girl with a Spotify playlist, dancing and drinking onstage to songs that don’t contrast or blend together. There’s no manipulation, no tempo change, and no real amalgamation effort whatsoever.
Despite a later start than scheduled, the black drapes veiling the stage plummet to unveil the antichrist superstar that is Marilyn Manson  as he and the band kick right into fist-pumping set opener, ‘Revelation #12’. Following an accident with a large stage prop at a show in New York back in September, Manson is still recovering from a broken leg, as he sits upon a wheelchair dressed up as a throne, and screams and roars his way through ‘This Is The New Shit’.
He’s soon assisted onto his feet, his broken leg raised and supported by a knee crutch, not content with sitting back in his wheelthrone, and, if nothing else, this needs to be commended. Though this certainly strips away what Manson is capable of bringing to the table in terms of the drama, theatrics, and spectacle that we’ve come to expect over the years, the simplicity is welcomed, and allows us to focus more on him as a vocalist and the instrumental backdrop as opposed to the display onstage.
We’re taken through a vast amount of the Manson discography across the 15 song long setlist, from the blues-tinged swagger of ‘Third Day Of A Seven Day Binge’, the erratic stomping grounds of ‘Deep Six’ and ‘Say10’, fan favourite ‘Disposable Teens’, the glam influenced and clinical ‘The Dope Show’, and breakthrough cover hit, ‘Sweet Dreams’.
Still, Manson isn’t one to steer away from being a showman and being sensational, even with a broken leg. He’s brought onto the stage on a gurney, donning some scrubs, and thrashes to aid some hospital fetish imagery during the sinister and macabre number, ‘Tourniquet’, before being pushed around the stage in a wheelchair like a hospital patient, as he screams into a microphone attached to a camera for the rebellion encouraging call-to-arms of ‘We Know Where You Fucking Live’.
Things take a bit of a speed bump induced tumble come the encore. The band get halfway into ‘Coma White’ before they completely abort it, and instead turn it into the more space rock ‘Saturnalia’, with some lyrics from ‘Killing Strangers’ being sung alongside it. Manson then decides to start dicking about on the guitar for several minutes, and eventually it just gets to a point where you just want them to get on with it already.
Thankfully, things pick back up for the climax of ‘The Beautiful People’; its almost militia-esque pummelling drums and chugging dissonant guitar chords calling us to action, and with the crusade of fans standing to attention before him, Manson remains rightfully worshipped as The God of Fuck, and, though he may no longer be the same shock rocker turning the world upside down, ten albums down the line, Manson is far from dried up, tied, and dead to the world.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)