Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids were initially formed in 1989. It took six years before they landed their first big taste of success, both with their fantastic cover of The Eurythmatics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ and as opening act on the infamous Nine Inch Nails ‘Self Destruct’ tour.
But it wasn’t until ’96 and the release of ‘Antichrist Superstar’ that Marilyn Manson (they dropped the Spooky Kids moniker in the early 90’s) became a household name. The scourge of parents and religious groups around the world who as good as branded the man the earthly personification of Satan himself. This wasn’t helped by the even more infamous Manson tour ‘Dead To The World’, which included a seemingly endless barrage of controversy in legal battles, city bans, right wing picketing at every stop, and other backstage drug and sex fuelled debauchery.
18 years and seven albums later, Marilyn Manson as a shock artist has lost a great deal of his bite. He’s a little more well behaved these days, spends less time in court defending his actions and his albums, while never veering too far from their original course, are preaching to a far more desensitized America than the one that found his demon baiting in ‘Superstar’ so disturbing.
And as Manson and his band took the stage this past March 28th, at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton, British Columbia, there was a nervous energy in the building. The nervousness of a fan base that wants mid to late 90’s Marilyn with a fresh twist. A fan base hoping the 46 year old entertainer hasn’t allowed age to curb his candour and bite.
Manson entered the stage in clouds of thick smoke to a spooky haunted house refrain and immediately launched into his latest hit from his latest album, ‘Deep Six.’ The stage was dressed in faux Catholic decorations with Manson as high priest adorning many of them.
As the show progressed through the band’s albums, the stage makeup changed, featuring different setups for different eras. The most common being the double pronged cross that is the band’s latest logo. A representation of spiritual warfare within. The lighting was energetic and well timed to give the music maximum effect.
As for the performance itself. It’s true that this is a more subdued MM. And while he’s still a talented performer and obviously still enjoys himself up there, his stage presence feels much less spontaneous, his movements more deliberate than even the last time he came through Canada. That’s not to say he was above splaying himself on the stage or throwing himself against a monitor speaker. And the half dozen times he left the stage to join the front row in a hearty sing-along was to nothing but the utter delight of the fans who had camped there all evening in hopes that he would do just that.
The setlist contained no surprises. A greatest hits checklist filled out with a few choice cuts from his latest, very well received album ‘The Pale Emperor.’ If all you know of Manson is what you’ve heard on the radio, then you weren’t disappointed with the song selection. It would’ve been nice to hear a few more songs from ‘Superstar’ or ‘Holy Wood’ though. But that’s a subjective opinion. Every one, at every show has their own dream setlist that very few people ever get to hear.
Manson’s been doing this for over 25 years now. He’s been doing this as a bonafide rock star for 20. His crowds and venues may not be as big (he wouldn’t even have considered playing a place like Penticton in his heyday), and his shock may not be as shocking, but he still knows how to rock a house. His singing is still sharp, his band sounds great (although they were playing to a backing track for some of the songs, which is cheesy and unfortunate) and the songs still transfer well in a live setting. If you go to a Marilyn Manson show in 2015, you won’t be getting what you’ve be getting even ten years ago, but go prepared to be entertained. At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters anyway.
Marilyn Manson is currently on tour across the world, Details can be found at: