Slated and loved in equal amounts thus-far, this one-night-only leg of Marilyn Manson’s Hey Cruel World Tour stopped at Brixton Academy, London, for his British gig before heading on to Belgium the day after. Considering the last time he was in the UK he fell under heavy fire for diva behaviour, we waited with baited …
Slated and loved in equal amounts thus-far, this one-night-only leg of Marilyn Manson’s Hey Cruel World Tour stopped at Brixton Academy, London, for his British gig before heading on to Belgium the day after. Considering the last time he was in the UK he fell under heavy fire for diva behaviour, we waited with baited breath and disappointed we weren’t.
We arrived to find the normal queuing for O2’s edition in South-West London – around the venue and up the road – already in full swing. We didn’t, however, expect to go all the way round the block, doubling past the entrance. Well, one of us did. The other argued in disbelief. From the simplistic garb we were decked out in – black jeans, t-shirt and boots – to full-blown Manson outfits complete with milky contact lens, people were out in force to command attention. Black nail polish just didn’t cut it there, especially with boys the spit of Jared Leto roaming around.
We (eventually) made it inside to be greeted by Lacuna Coil mid-performance. Their form of performance is like a better version of Evanescence – Christina Scabbia can clearly take-down Amy Lee vocally, and with her evil-pixie head-banging look darting over the stage, her clear passion for music (she mouthed Andrea Ferro’s vocals when he took over the microphone), and ability to command attention; Andy’s consistency and complimentary sound; and, the clear talent of the rest of the band (we loved the guitar solos) just make it no contest. No gimmicks – just good, fun, girl-metal.
No pyrotechnics. No bitching about wanting a jacket. Just us and Marilyn. Ish.
What caused us to end up in the mosh pit was a sing-a-long version of ‘Disposable Teens’, and what kept us there was the mesmerising stage presence Manson still rocks. It’s difficult to ignore a man with a knife on his microphone, especially when he is later straddling a politician’s podium, ripping pages out of the bible, but as if we would anyway. Grinding out classics like ‘Sweet Dreams’ with newer tracks like ‘Hey Cruel World’, gaps where his vocals clearly couldn’t keep up were marvellously filled by audience enthusiasm with participation or stunning costumes, lights and speeches. Our particular favourite was ‘Dope Show’ – “This is for anyone who is high like me”, before strutting out in a gothic John Lennon-inspired ensemble, with a curtain of lights that would clearly have inspired a Roxy and Velma-style finale, really hit the tone of the audience: let’s have fun.
Whilst our gigging-partner decided to take out some annoying troublemakers in a fit of mosh-rage (seriously, we were an inch away from it ourselves) during ‘Beautiful People’, we couldn’t help but remark on the eclectic situation – full on wrestle-mania broke behind us, a guy making sure he didn’t bump someone’s glasses off besides us, all before an angry blonde took out half the pit in the metal equivalent of ‘hold my weave’. This had us stop for a moment and think – this is the gayest thing on planet Earth, but it is occurring to a metal-music soundtrack. No wonder we felt at home – between a throbbing bass, men groping at each other and angry girls starting fights, what’s the difference between this and everything that epitomises Manchester’s Canal Street?
Disappointments were song selection – ‘New Shit’, ‘Fight Song’ and ‘Tainted Love’ were noticeably absent – and strains on his voice were showing, but this didn’t damage the performance one iota.
We came out of the gig as we came out of the pit – dazed, confused, but thoroughly happy and with a general sense of awe. Marilyn Manson, like his leather trousers, may have dipped out of style, but is always good to see.