Marilyn Manson

Metaldays - 2017

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Regardless of what your personal taste says about Marilyn Manson, one can’t deny that he is one of the biggest rock/metal artists out there right now, and in landing him as headliner for the first day of the festival, some kudos must be given to the people behind Metaldays. I can’t imagine this being an easy task.
Now, the question is, was he (and the band) a good fit for the festival?

“I know we just met each other, but I wanna hear a bit more from you. I’m screaming for you.”
- Brian Hugh ‘Marilyn Manson’ Warner (vocals)

It was clear that Marilyn Manson had brought out the big stage show. As the show opened, we saw the man sitting in an enormous chair that took up the centre of the stage – the drums were pushed out to one side. He was dressed in black, and his microphone was adorned with brass knuckles. This was used for the majority of the show, but he also had a knife shaped one, one with an inverted cross, and one in the form of a shotgun. With less frequent changes than this, Manson also changed his attire a few times during the concert, and when it was time for Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) the chair was removed and the backdrop changed to resemble a wardrobe. Probably to indicate this now being a bedroom. Later, there would be another backdrop change, and Manson got to sing on a microphone stand dressed in flowers. Fair enough, I can see how this doesn’t seem like such a big deal when put down to paper, but trust me, they had the big and flashy show all down – just look at the pics, and hopefully you’ll get the idea.
In the unlikely case anyone wondered who the main character here was, it became painfully apparent when the show began. Manson was, after all, the only one in the band who got a spotlight on him – the musicians had to work in half shadow throughout. Of them, Jeordie Osbourne White (a.k.a. Twiggy Ramirez) was the only one I recognised, whereas Tyler Bates and Paul Wiley (both on guitars) as well as Gil Sharone (drums, obviously) were new to me. It is true, I haven’t kept up with the band for a while.

Having Manson as the sole person in full light may not have been such a great idea that they thought it was though. When he was at the supreme centre of attention, it quickly became apparent that the façade couldn’t hold up. First of all, I was surprised to see what had for the longest time been a super skinny boy grow up to become quite a heavy-set man. Hey, this can happen to anyone, and I am not judging anyone for changing shape, but what really struck me was the failed attempt to hide the double chins by painting them black – that had the word vanity written all over it!
Worse than this though, and this became more apparent as the show progressed, was that Manson was neither in any kind of physical nor mental condition to do this thing. If he was just completely out of it for some unknown reason, or by the looks of it filled to the ears with drugs, I cannot say, but not only were his comments to the audience dumb and out of place, but he also had to have a crew member rush on stage and help him out when he was supposed to move around. Honestly, the man couldn’t even get on or off the stage by his own accord! And when he wanted to open The Beautiful People by banging a drumstick on the strings of the bass, no one could fail to notice that he wasn’t even able to stay in the rhythm of this fairly easy beat.

“What’s a nice place like this doing around people like us?”
- Manson (vocals)

As an attest to his great fame, the ground in front of the stage was filled with festival guests though. The weather had put a damper on things earlier, but Iced Earth (who played just before Marilyn Manson on this stage) had managed to bring things around and opened up for a good party atmosphere again.
That Marilyn Manson couldn’t keep up with this, or even keep it going, was quickly apparent, as you must have understood from the text above.
It wasn’t that the band didn’t try, they even let the audience take over in singing the chorus in the above mentioned The Beautiful People, but it certainly was that the band didn’t try very hard. The reaction from the audience wasn’t swift, but it was relentless. Throughout the show, there was a small yet steady stream of people leaving the stage and music behind in order to seek out, well, anything else than this I imagine.
We stuck around to the bitter end, more with a sense of obligation than anything else, but there really was nothing for it. This show was pretty much dead in the water from the beginning, and there was nothing and no one capable of plugging the hole of the sinking ship.
I can only hope that this was an off night for the band. If not, they, and especially the namesake frontman, needs to clean up their act if this is to continue. Again, kudos to the festival management for taking on the task of getting the band here. It’s not their fault it didn’t work out once they got here.

Setlist (incomplete):

The Dope Show
Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) (Eurythmics cover)
Disposable Teens
The Beautiful People
Coma White

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