Marilyn Manson is no longer public enemy number one, a stark reminder of which was a Parisian tribute of red, white and blue lights before he arrived onstage. The shock rocker cancelled his gig in Paris earlier this week but was in combative form in London.
Manson has been prowling through the music world for a long time now. His greatest hits collection was released over a decade ago. So finding new ways to offend was never likely, though an obscene version of the Teddy Bears’ Picnic tried its best. He still delivered Antichrist Superstar from his Hitler podium and kicked over everything in sight, roadies scuttling after him on constant tidying-up duty. He brandished a microphone with a huge knife attached, threw beer but didn’t like it being thrown back. “You may throw your bras but not your cups,” he leered.
He best maintained his status as rock’s master of the grotesque during his slow, nasty cover of Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), during which he lurched around the stage on stilts and long crutches like a Dali elephant. Otherwise the show benefited from a lack of set pieces, avoiding the arduous gaps left by costume changes and allowing his band to crash quickly between mOBSCENE’s raw riffing and the punk fury of Irresponsible Hate Anthem.
New songs such as Cupid Carries a Gun were bluesy stomps, less claustrophobic than past works. The biggest shock? His music is worth attention again.