Live Music + Gig Reviews

Marilyn Manson – Download Festival, Donington

31 May 2003

It had just passed 7pm, the sun was retreating and myback ached to hell as I hunched at the front of the Main Stage for the BrianWarner show, aka Marilyn Manson. Pockets of expectant young facessurrounded me, voiceful in the regimented “MANSON!” chants which awaited thearrival of the self-proclaimed Anti-Christ.

A classical piece was blared out for dramatic effect.As the music peaked with shrilling violins and deep humming bass, a jumbojet flew over the stage to add to the drama. Donington is strategicallylocated adjacent to the East Midlands Airport meaning every quarter of anhour, bands performing were drowned out by the ear shattering gush of jetengines. While an awesome spectacle, it is terrifying when asleep at 4am, ajet screams above so loud, that it sounds like Al-Qaeda are on their waydown.

One by one the band dribbled onstage, pasty white withbright red lipstick wearing varied gothic 1930s regalia. Two masked leggydancers in Nazi SS uniforms, clocking their heels and kicking theirteasingly exposed legs marched onstage. Finally Manson, his hair shorn tolook like the bastard transvestite brother of Trent Reznor, trumpedup between his two female escorts.

And so with an overblown entrance rivalled only byPrince Naseem, the band plundered into Disposable Teens, sendingthousands into spasmodic euphoria. Within a minute I was at the bottom of apile of bodies, my ankle barely surviving thanks to some considerate nearbyindividuals and my faithful brother.

Oblivious to the mess at the front, Manson and cothrashed about in typical gyrating camp fashion. Indeed if there’s one thingMazza is best at, it’s posturing – kinking his knees together with that dog-mouthed grin while he elongates a limb to point the microphone out to the revellers or “motherf**kers” as he kindly addresses us.

No respite is allowed as Irresponsible Hate Anthemcareers out of the PA. Hats off to Manson. While the set isn’t as elaborateas previous outings, the mix of tempestuous, scantily-clad dancers, and balls-to-the-floor, guitar-swinging thrash-omania is great entertainment.

Sadly this is the problem with the Manson family,who hopelessly dwindle from outrageous shock rock to disappointing pantomime.Yes the songs are there: Rock Is Dead, The Dope Show, Great Big WhiteWorld. Yet the show drags. Manson gradually loses more and more clothes. Hepicks up more and more bottles of water, downing them and spitting it backout. The girls hoist their skirts up so bright red knickers are firmly inview, simulating all manner of lewd sex positions that the male contingentjoyfully appreciate.

The so-called god of f**k barely interacts with his fans, exceptto ask if any of us “motherf**kers” believe in God. What! He’s stillhumping the God line?! That is sooooooooo 1996! A faceless pubescent roachnearby squeals, “You are God!!!” I was tempted to go rest my sore ankle, butnew songs beckoned so I soldiered on.

This Is The New S**t, a guzzly piece of proto glamrawk, came across pretty well, with large sectors of those en masse knowingthe words. Mobscene got as OTT as one could hope for, with the Mansonescorts reappearing nude, their breasts and genitalia covered with rubberimitations. Another sex show ensued while Manson bleated on… To be honestmy attention was elsewhere (you had to see some of the positions the girlswere getting in to appreciate the moment).

As dusk drew in Manson looked exhausted. The BeautifulPeople wrapped things up, giving the masses one last reason to erupt beforethe atavistic endeavours of Iron Maiden.

Spectacular for all the wrong reasons in its sheermediocrity and predictability, one hopes Brian will revise for nexttime… You can only resit so many times before it becomes pointless.

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Marilyn Manson – The High End Of Low
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Marilyn Manson – Download Festival, Donington