House of Blues, Boston MA
There was a bitter chill in Boston that swept in last week and the fact that it was January, had nothing to do with the temps. I’m talking of course about the MARILYN MANSON headline tour that came to town. Touring in support of his “comeback” album, there was no shortage of rabid fans and curious parties willing to brave the actual cold, to make it to the show. You can always tell the reluctant boyfriend or a friend dragged to one of these things. I saw quite a few converts from the early crowd, by the end of the night.
I almost missed the start of BUTCHER BABIES opening set. Thanks to the extra vigorous pat down by security, a rarity even for this place. The band hit the stage as a ran to the front of the barricade, unsheathing my trusty Nikon. And when I hit the front of the stage, the first thing I noticed was Carla and Heidi were fully dressed! I know what you are thinking: “here’s another dickhead sexist journalist who is gonna talk shit about BUTCHER BABIES”. This blogger and this blog has been a supporter and defender of BB’s right to bare arms or whatever else they want. Actually, I was just surprised they were buttoned up in general. Then I remembered I was the House of Blues, which is owned by Disney wasn’t going to permit any shenanigans at all, or at least allow them to be reserved for the notorious headliner.
In the meantime the band was opening up a can of whoop-ass. Front Women Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey ran all over the stage, screaming, headbanging and generally looked like they were having a more awesome time than everyone in the room. Between songs they were really funny, hitting on girls and picking on the few dumb dudes in the room. I had seen them already in a few small clubs, and there was no doubt they were best suited to the bigger stage and show. The pair leaped off of speakers and other parts of the set while they screamed themselves blue in the face. The entire band is solid, but who really stood out to me was drummer Chrissy Warner. He sounded like a powerhouse behind the kit and really killed it performance wise. The band of course did there well known tracks like “Mr. Slowdeath” and “Axe Wound”, and a few new songs from their upcoming full length on Century Media Records. To their detractors I say; the band is not trying to re-invent the wheel musically, nor will they. They just play some fun, mean sounding metal and promote some girl power. The crowd response was all you needed to know about this night, it was huge! Besides, if you don’t have haters, you are doing it wrong. Props go out for the entire band hanging out by their merch table the rest of the night, posing for pics, and signing anything and any body parts people wanted.
Then it was time for the main event. I was really excited since I skipped out on the last tour for a variety of reasons. I rather enjoyed Born Villain last year and really didn’t see the fuss about it being some sort of comeback record. Manson has been fairly consistent overall, always puts on a great show, and generally does a lot for his fans. The band hit the stage to the brand new album cut “Hey Cruel World”, and the crowd was immediately into it. Manson was in hysterics, pacing back and forth on stage, crooning and then howling into the mic. It’s the perfect song to start a show off with. It has that old NIN/MINISTRY groove to it that Manson’s music was well known for back in the day. No navel gazing, just rage and rock. He was wearing the creepy “evil mouse mask” from the HCW video. It’s also a take off of the one from the Golden Age of Grotesque era. It was disconcerting and normal for him all at once. The next track was “Disposable Teens” which sent the club out of control. As usual, by his side was ever slender looking TWIGGY RAMIEREZ on guitar. He looked resplendent in his little party dress, but was really ham handed on those essential, heavy riffs. Next up was “The Love Song” which dialed down the tempo, but no less fury. Manson for his part is a tireless showman. He changed costumes and props nearly every song, and had 9 different microphones for a 14 song set. You might call that excessive and diva like, but I would call it brilliant. My favorite of these was the rubber blood spatter smock and Knife-microphone that was an homage to Dexter and of course his fabulous pimp suit for “The Dope Show”. None of the theatrics took away from the pace of the show and were executed with military precision. Manson was where he needed to be and on point. The show still felt dangerous and spontaneous. There we all kinds of confetti cannon showers, dramatic lighting, light up crucifixes and a huge backdrop you’d come to expect from such a spectacle.
In addition to the hits, Manson did play some interesting cuts such as “Slow-Mo-Tion” and “King Kill 33”. Although the back-to back cover songs of “Personal Jesus” and “Sweet Dreams”, are nearly obligatory now, they definitely were appreciated by the crowd. On tracks like these it was easy to see the value of the energy bassist Fred Sablan (GOON MOON/BIRTHDAY TWIN) and drummer Jason Sutter bring to the fold. They are recent additions to the group, but fit in well considering the lineage for talented guys the band has had. The highlight of the show for me might have been “Coma White”. With an effect that made it look like it was snowing inside the venue and Manson’s performance, wrought with emotion. You could tell as he brought the level of crowd energy up and down with just his command and will, and the fans dug it. It’s a move not just anyone can pull off. With a blend of classic/modern DAVID BOWIE, ADAM ANT chameleon antics, and IGGY POP-like energy, Manson owned the night.
Coming out for an encore of “Antichrist Superstar” and “The Beautiful People”, it would have been hard to top that for a finale. I was a little bummed that the show ended at just over an hour, or that Manson chooses not to musically acknowledge Portrait of An American Family. I get that the 44 year-old Manson may not relate anymore to music he made twenty years ago. Maybe next tour we’ll get to hear one of those classic anthems from the 90s that made many people in the room dig the man in the first place.
Hey Cruel World
The Love Song
The Dope Show
Rock Is Dead
Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
King Kill 33
The Beautiful People
by Keith Chachkes