In junior high, my friends and I had matching plaid pants. We’d wear them every day and listen to punk/ska religiously … until the summer between 7th and 8th grade. My friend Tom came to pick me up and go to Ohio’s King’s Island theme park. I was surprised on this humid, July afternoon, when he showed up with jet-black dyed hair, combat boots, black cargo pants, black t-shirt and black fishnets on his sleeves. Tom, like many of my friends that summer, had gone goth. They were struck by the performance, shock musician du jour, Marilyn Manson. His affinity for uttering sex noises and making heavy, discontorted rock understandably lured them all in.
As Manson took the stage last night at the House of Blues in Boston, the crowd of all ages dressed just like my buddy Tom did years ago, went rabid. Manson owns the stage like a dictator of death. Greeted with just as much love and admiration was the original bassist, Twiggy Ramirez, who thumped at his brooding bass with sludgy riffs to anchor the band’s sound.
They opened with “Deep Six” from their freshly released, The Pale Emperor. Manson brooded to the stage in ominous pace. Swirling across the stage in a stumble, he resembled Heath Ledger’s joker—sinister and a bit off kilter. His voice seemed a bit shot; yet his presence and showmanship carried it through. He pouted about, knocking over the mic stand every time the stagehand propped it back up for him. He creeped towards each band mate as they delivered militant meters—no one missed a note. Aside from the bass being a little loud (possibly to blanket the strained vocals), they were super tight.
The set list jumped all over the band’s 20+ year catalog with every era summoning a growl of approval from fans. Bashing tambourines and howling into butcher blade mics, Manson wrapped up the night with an encore of “Coma White” from 1999’s Mechanical Animals. Foam wafted morbidly from the ceiling, glitter puffed from the sides and Manson stood center stage under spotlight with chrysanthemums—it felt like a funeral. It was the perfect end to the creeper’s grand dope show.
Unlocking the Truth, Brooklyn’s band of über talented 12-13 year old metal heads were surprisingly swapped out last minute by SADIST. Their brief set involved G.G. Allin antics, chains and masks. The barrage of noise and yelling left the audience a bit confused. And with this sorta crowd, that rarely goes over well. In the end, it was all worth the dark, strange trip.