Marilyn Manson @ Civic Hall, Wolverhampton – Wednesday 6 December 2017


A broken leg and not enough middle fingers…

Witnessed by Jason Guest

A police presence outside the Civic Hall. A walk-through security scanner. Paramedics onsite. Though this is a far cry from gang-infested, gun-toting, bible-bashing ‘Murica, the recent bombing in Manchester means that everyone is on their guard. Two nights previously however, there were no police outside when Mastodon were about to grace the same stage. So here we are, queuing for the God of Fuck himself, Marilyn Manson, and it seems that the myths and their accompanying fears loom large over everyone except for the fans.

Inside the venue, with DJ Amazonica blasting out many a metal classic, no one gives a shit. Many are dancing, many have many beers in hand, some are projecting shadow puppets onto the curtain that conceals the stage, and a few are throwing a tied-up shirt around the crowd until it finds its way back to its owner up in the balcony. Yep, clearly a threat to civilisation, Marilyn Manson fans are the problem…

Excerpts from The Cure’s ‘Killing an Arab’ and The Doors’ ‘The End’ play over the PA for a few minutes before the curtain drops. Two guitarists on the left, bassist (no, not Twiggy Ramirez) and drummer on the right, and red lights and dry ice flood the stage. Opening with ‘Revelation #12’ from new album Heaven Upside Down, The Pale Emperor makes what could be the feeblest but turns out to be the most extraordinary entrance ever seen. Mid-stage, buried in smoke, a throne. And not just any throne. It’s a mobility throne. And like an evil Dr Evil with great tunes, Mazza wheels himself forward, takes the evening by the short and curlies to twist it into one of matchless malevolent merriment.

‘This Is The New Shit’, ‘Disposable Teens’, ‘mOBSCENE’ and catchy as hell ‘Kill4Me’ – the crowd chanting ‘Kill, Kill, Kill’ at our host’s beckoning – sees Manson deliver a commanding performance. And though the crowd are into it, there’s a feeling that Manson’s physical state might be a hindrance. But after breaking the fibula in two places in his right leg at the New York show on 30 September (the last show with Twiggy Ramirez), rather than let it dictate or disadvantage the show, Manson makes it part of the theatrics. Two surgery scrubs-clad medics appear either side of him for the rest of the show as he stands centre-stage – ‘These guys aren’t even real doctors, they only prescribe me legal drugs…’

Not once does the energy in the room abate. ‘Deep Six’, ‘Third Day of a Seven Day Binge’, and ‘The Dope Show’ are heavy and hellish, and Eurhythmics’ ‘Sweet Dreams’ – delivered by Manson atop a hospital bed – goes down a storm. With a light show as intense as the band as tight, this is a powerful performance. With ‘Great Big White World’ and two more tracks from Heaven Upside Down – ‘We Know Where You Fucking Live’ and the singalong ‘Say10’ – what remains but ‘The Beautiful People’ and ‘Irresponsible Hate Anthem’ with its rousing chorus of ‘Fuck It!’ to finish the night off and send all these dangerous Manson fans back out on to the streets to cause mayhem and tear society apart. Or go home after an amazing show.

20 years ago, Marilyn Manson played this venue on the Antichrist Superstar tour. He beat up his band, he walked spider-like across the stage on stilts, one for each of his four limbs, he stood atop a podium and tore pages from The Holy Bible, and he broke a bottle and gashed himself across the chest before his limp body was dragged offstage only for him to return soon after and deliver the remainder of an exceptional set. 2017 and Manson still delivers an outstanding show and still commands the stage and crowd like no other. Even with a broken leg. And without enough middle fingers…

 Marilyn Manson - UK 2017