Marilyn Manson

support Myrkur
author RUB date 04/06/18 venue SCC, Århus, DEN

The infamous Marilyn Manson is known to both fans and critics alike. It might have been some years since he put out anything that managed to match his former glory on the likes of ”Antichrist Superstar” and “Mechanical Animals”, but the shock rocker is still going strong. As support for his newest outing, “Heaven Upside Down”, he has blessed the Danish crowd with a visit at the big stage of Scandinavian Congress Center in Århus. And quite surprisingly to some, the fanbase has obviously been waiting for this; the concert is close to sold out as I write this, which also comes as a surprise to yours truly. Nevertheless, I’m sure the gig will be a bizarre and obscure spectacle with plenty of classics, and since I am yet to witness Manson’s performance at an indoor venue, I’m eager to find out if the show will have the atmosphere to pull it off. Opening for him is the Danish Myrkur, who, if you look at it, isn’t as surprising a support act as one might think. Her road to the metal stage has been quite controversial to some given her previous releases in the pop genre, so it might actually be a fairly fitting warm-up for the master of controversy that is Marilyn Manson.

All photos courtesy of Hasan Jensen

Myrkur

I have seen Myrkur a few times by now, but I’m yet to see an all-around good performance from the artist. It has either been flat-out dull or the sound hasn’t been good, and it has therefore never surpassed average in my grade book. Perhaps this fourth time it’s going to happen? She enters the stage at precisely at half past seven; no time to waste. The deep sounding descant of the drums, bass and guitar is a juxtaposition to her beautiful and very light voice. She does her best to warm-up the crowd with her unique take on black metal, albeit a bit more polished than what we’re used to tonight. The rhythms are heavy and relatively easy to absorb, if you aren’t used to the heaviest of the heavy, as you might not be as a Manson fan. Sadly, the audience doesn’t seem to “get” it at all. They’re even more static than the fairly static backing band joining Myrkur on stage, although this gets slightly better she picks up her own guitar. But it’s still a rather lukewarm experience, if I’m honest.

The heavy bass continues to accompany her beautiful voice, as a very dense track starts to roar, but her guitar is not to be heard in the mix at all. She does make a short visit to her black metal repertoire with a roaring tremolo riff and pounding blastbeats, but this only results in parts of the audience migrating out of the venue. I do appreciate that they gave her a chance, but they’ve only witnessed 15 minutes or so of the performance, so it’s rather clear that it really wasn’t they type of music. Whether they went to the bar or outside to smoke, I’m not sure, but that portion of the crowd didn’t enjoy the support. And to be honest, neither did I. Again, I find most of the music dull and uninspiring, and although one can’t argue she’s one hell of a vocalist live, this just isn’t doing it for me. That coupled with a few hiccups in the sound once again makes for a pretty for forgettable affair.

5

Marilyn Manson

Off with a blast, the roaring sound in the speakers warns the audience that Manson is about to enter the stage, and the crowd answers with a sea of hands in the air. Manson enters wearing some Braveheart-style (or Peter Lundin-esque, for the Danish fans) make-up and with that, he has indeed brought his bizarre show to Aarhus. The sound is in order, and the bass is hitting hard. The stage setup includes two upside-down crosses soaring above the stage, as seen on the cover of his newest album, which looks like they could include some white lights for later. In the middle of the stage is a high tower with a sort of high voltage symbol on it and a dictator-like microphone stand as well — just like an old-school Manson setup. The crowd is clearly digging the first aired track, as it continues to clap along to the tunes in unison. “This Is the New Shit” is delivered with force and power, but Manson’s voice can’t seem to hit those high-pitched shrieks that one associates with the song, becoming fairly strained at times. It is sadly obvious that he wrote some of these songs many years ago. Apparently, Manson still has plenty of sex appeal though, as a bra thrown onto the stage evidences. It is clear that the audience is wide awake, as they are singing along to pretty much every song, and at a point, Manson even quotes Talking Heads in a joking manner, only underlining the fact that the once-so-angry, shocking and provoking Manson isn’t really anywhere to be found. I can’t help but joke, as he lights a smoke: “Is this really what the once-so-controversial Manson has been reduced to?”

A definite highlight of the evening is the intro to “Rock is Dead”. “Now I want to do a song that is now totally inaccurate”, Manson offers, and indeed, Manson doesn’t seem to think rock is dead at all anymore, hurling himself into an absolute banger. This ensures that the nostalgia trip continues down the right path, which the majority of the people here seem to enjoy. Following this are “The Dope Show” and “Sweet Dreams”, which also bring cheers and sing-alongs from the crowd. New songs are also aired in between, and the one to highlight here is “Say10”. The build-up for the chorus works really well live, coupled with some massive lights — though surprisingly not from the upside-down crosses mentioned in the intro. And now for the center stage prop: the high voltage symbol starts to blink for several minutes, as Manson is probably doing a quick change over for the next track.

Appearing on the top of the tower, now wearing a tie with his ‘90s military general outfit, Manson smashes the microphone down as he kicks off the classic “Antichrist Superstar”, singing into his regular knuckleduster microphone. As for “The Beautiful People”, Manson is now wearing his charismatic general’s hat as well, and people are really getting into gear now, as underlined by the music stopping just to let the entire crowd sing along at times. Manson leaves the stage again, just to enter one last time wearing a black hood. What most people are expecting now is to finish in the highest of gears with “The Fight Song”, but this was not what happens. Instead, we are given a cover of Gerard McMann’s “Cry Little Sister”, which just seems so out of place at this point. The track in itself is performed well, with a Chino Moreno of Deftones -style shriek in the chorus, but as it would show, that is it — the last track. It seems so anticlimactic to end on that note, and I cannot help but feel a bit flat. Not because the concert isn’t good overall, as I pretty much get what I expected, but rather because why would you end it like this? It just seems odd. The strange ending aside, it is actually a pretty good concert. If you came expecting to get the good ol’ shock rocker with plenty of bizarre and weird stage props, you must have been sorely disappointed. But what you get instead is a solid rock show — and that’s perfectly alright given the high number of classics tonight aired tonight.

7

Setlist:

  • 01. Irresponsible Hate Anthem
  • 02. Angel with the Scabbed Wings
  • 03. Deep Six
  • 04. This is the New Shit
  • 05. Disposable Teens
  • 06. mOBSCENE
  • 07. Kill4Me
  • 08. Rock is Dead
  • 09. The Dope Show (“I Don’t Like the Drugs (But the Drugs Like Me)” Intro)
  • 10. Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) (Eurythmics cover)
  • 11. Say10

— Encore —

  • 12. Antichrist Superstar
  • 13. The Beautiful People
  • 14. Cry Little Sister (Gerard McMann cover)

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