O2 Academy Glasgow
Sunday 22 November 2015
Marilyn Manson is legendary. Now on his 11th album, The Pale Emperor, it’s fair to say that his name is synonymous with rock and metal music. But, after so many years in the game, it’s a wonder how he’s managed to maintain that status. Looking around Glasgow’s O2 Academy, it’s clear that the majority of his fans are loyal. But, there’s no shortage of fresh faces among the crowd too; some even young enough to have their parents (willing or not) accompany them. The reason is simple – Marilyn Manson is back and better than ever.
The stage, lit up in red, white and blue in homage to Paris, awaits him. But, when the lights go out and rap music blares from the speakers, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re at the wrong gig. When you realise it’s raving about the Devil, though, you know you’re in the right place. Smoke clouds the stage and the lights flash red, as we descend into The Hell Not Hallelujah show.
The drums of “Deep Six” kick in, the song that heralded Manson’s rebirth, and he emerges through the smoke. It’s a hard-hitting start, powerful and upbeat, riling the crowd up for the night ahead. He wastes no time launching into “Disposable Teens” and “mOBSCENE”, familiar anthems that get lips moving and fists pumping. “No Reflection” follows, a lesser-known track that engulfs the venue with its heavy guitar riff. “Cupid Carries a Gun” marks the second and last song off his latest album to be played tonight, as he traditionally draws the majority of his set from older material.
Manson likes to interact with the crowd more than most performers, which shows a hint of humility after all this time. Not only does he throw towel after towel into the sea of faces, he launches a tambourine at one point. But, his favourite thing to put into the crowd is himself. He leaves the stage on countless occasions to make his way along the front row, singing with those who queued that little bit longer for this very moment. Manson even invites one lucky crowd surfer to join him on stage during “Angel With the Scabbed Wings”. She bounces about the stage, dancing and headbanging like it was planned all along, before getting a hug off her idol. It’s a sweet moment, no doubt to the envy of many in the crowd.
Apparently not a fan of microphone stands, Manson continually knocks them over as if they offend him. He swaps his standard mic for one brandishing a knife at the end and embodies the darker side of the music he portrays. But, he soon lightens the mood when he puts on a Santa hat that is thrown onstage. He keeps it on for a few songs, showing his sense of humour, despite what his infamous reputation might suggest. Of course, he doesn’t let that reputation go as he burns a Bible before the aptly named “Antichrist Superstar”.
He panders to the crowd by announcing he has Scottish ancestors, earning a predictable cheer, before asking if we want more. ‘Then more you shall get…’ he replies, receiving more cheers. Manson delivers a roaring version of “The Beautiful People”, undoubtedly one of his greatest hits. The O2 Academy vibrates when the chorus hits, the crowd jumping and singing the loudest they have all night. He ends the night on a softer note with “Coma White”, his resurrected mic stand covered in flowers.
Leaving the controversy that’s plagued much of his career behind, tonight Manson delivered a show that was mostly a trip down memory lane. Yet, each song sounded fresh, performed with the same enthusiasm as if they were newly released. The Pale Emperor marked a new lease of life for the gothic icon, who shows no signs of dying any time soon.