Marilyn Manson at Myth, 5/18/12
With the Pretty Reckless
Myth Nightclub, St. Paul
Friday, May 18, 2012
Place a microphone stand within 50 feet of Marilyn Manson, and you can bet he'll kick it over with the precision of an NFL punter. This act happened no less than a dozen times during the goth metal icon's performance at Myth, and each time, a stage hand dutifully came out to pick it up. Similarly, Manson's selection of songs were one blunt thwack to the dome after another spanning nearly two decades of a morbid amalgam of metal, glam, and spectacle.
On the last point, it's unfortunate that Marilyn Manson would not allow photographers at his weekend stop at Myth. At 43, he's captivating to watch as ever. With asymmetrically chopped black hair, makeup recalling David Bowie's Aladdin Sane era, an array of black clothes, and platform boots that accentuated his already imposing height, Manson was all over his stage and ledges set above the monitors. He regularly reached out to the adoring crowd -- those who weren't moshing were throwing metal horns -- and occasionally touched them. Like the mic stand attendant, Manson likes to watch the people in front of him struggle a bit, and plenty of fans were coming close to ripping tendons in their upper arms in hopes of physical contact with their Antichrist Superstar.
"You motherfuckers are loyal and beautiful," he commended his followers at one point, and later, "This is the best fucking crowd in the whole goddamn tour." And the energy in the room was palpable as the stage morphed at times into a glimmering bulb-lit setting that almost felt safe.
Oh, and there was music playing through most of this as well. Although much of the material couldn't quite compete with Manson's disco ball helmet, pink boa, the mirrored blade mic holder, and the dry ice gun he shot from between his legs, there were several moments when the songs truly became meat on the bones. While a mostly screamed rendition of "The Dope Show" approached as an early highlight, it wasn't until his cover of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" that Manson embraced anything close to clarity in his vocal range.
It mattered little, as the tossing of microphones, spewing of Coors Light, and lewd gestures proved to keep the circus going through many recent songs that don't quite gel like his early recordings. Guitarist Twiggy Ramirez, in a frumpyish dress, and bassist Fred Sablan, who resembled a young Robert Smith, did their part to flesh out these songs, a handful of which like the muscular "Pistol Whipped" come from Manson's just-released Born Villain.
Ultimately, the crowd was waiting patiently to hear the tracks that brought Marilyn Manson to a level that would make Lady Gaga want to imitate him. Finishing off the set with songs that were a decade-and-a-half old like "Tourniquet" and "Sweet Dreams" brought out carefully honed melodrama, and when our frontman writhed into the fetal position during the latter song, it was almost a moment to feel something human within the monstrous artifice of the show.
That was all erased for the finale of the enormous Nazi-inspired "Antichrist Superstar" podium brought out. Shouts of "He's gonna do it!" rang out, and the signature moment unfolded with Manson knocking oodles of fake microphones off his perch and splaying himself precariously all over. Effectively building and riding hysteria in a room truly is "all relative to the size of your steeple," to borrow from the lines wailed for the encore of "The Beautiful People." You'll either be comforted or horrified that there's still a healthy congregation in the Twin Cities willing to chant "We hate love, we love hate" with zero hesitation.
Overheard: "Take your clothes off!"
Personal Bias: Having followed Marilyn Manson's early days in South Florida so closely at my old job, it was an imperative to see him perform. And without the benefit of a photographer, you'll just have to take my word. Meanwhile, wasting even a sentence on the bland hair metal pastiche of opening act the Pretty Reckless, fronted by Gossip Girl's Taylor Momsen, is painful.
The Crowd: Old enough to be a tortured teen in the mid-'90s. Fetish wear, Manson look-alikes, and a dude with a baseball jersey that just said "fuck" on the back.
Creepiest Moment: "I almost went to prison here," Manson said. "You'd all visit me, wouldn't you? My ass would hurt more than yours."
Hey, Cruel World...
The Love Song
The Dope Show
Rock Is Dead
Irresponsible Hate Anthem
The Beautiful People
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