Photos by Minh Tran. Text by Mark Lore.
Marilyn Manson in 2015 is… wait. Marilyn Manson in 2015?
Yes, Marilyn Manson in 2015. Brian Warner’s creation is going on 25 years and, if you were to judge by Wednesday night's sold-out crowd at the Roseland, is still going strong.
Which is goddamn impressive. Manson no longer shocks in these heady times. To put it in perspective: in 1993 Manson was forced to change his debut album title from The Manson Family Album because it referenced Charles Manson’s band. Manson… err, Warner, has gotten plenty of mileage from shock value. But if that’s all there was to it, he certainly wouldn’t have been standing on stage last night in front of a theater brimming with oldsters, kids, goths, jocks, and working stiffs.
Manson has managed to reinvent himself—visually and musically—much like Madonna and David Bowie did before him. Last night’s performance showed him tracing his own footprint while wearing decades of pop culture residue on his sleeve... and face. The latest incarnation of Manson is less garish freak—i.e., the one most recognizable from the mid-’90s—and more neo-romantic; sort of a mix of Alice Cooper, Adam Ant, and Bowie. His band, which includes longtime bassist Twiggy Ramirez, still sports the same Blade Runner cyber-punk look I thought died out a decade ago.
More pics and review after the jump!
Manson came out blasting through industrial muck, from opener “Deep Six” from his latest LP The Pale Emperor, to classicks like “mOBSCENE” and “Disposable Teens.” But things were far more interesting when he got into slinkier glam numbers, like the excellent “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” and “The Dope Show.” He saved the best for (almost) last with “The Beautiful People,” which is still a stone-cold killer.
The production for the current tour is much more stripped-down. The stage was pretty spartan, actually. And Manson dispensed with any scripted banter, although he did take on the role of preacher (hence the name "The Hell Not Hallelujah Tour"). Manson prowled the stage clad in a long black jacket, occasionally writhing on the ground and flirting with Ramirez. For a couple songs he pulled out his mic that resembles a large butcher knife. I was secretly hoping he’d draw blood, but the most we got was Manson stabbing through a tambourine and a paper valentine. Sometimes he even looked a little bored.
Marilyn Manson in 2015 is far less offensive as Marilyn Manson in 1996. But I suppose that’s not the point anymore. He’s still a showman (and he still makes makeup look good). Call it a gimmick, but it’s what makes Marilyn Manson a big fish in a sea of worms.