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Marilyn Manson SP02

End Times? Marilyn Manson, Live in Manchester

05 December 2017, 01:16 | Written by Joe Goggins

It tells you all you need to know about Marilyn Manson that most artists would've gotten away with cancelling this tour, and yet he still cracked on.

Back in late September, at a show in New York, Manson made the deeply ill-advised decision to try to scale the two huge pistol props that stood behind him and his band, during a rendition of his classic cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". Not knowing his own strength, he ended up crushed beneath them.

Given how much they weighed, he did well to survive the incident; instead, the primary injury was a thorough break of his leg in multiple places, which means that tonight - more than two months on - he emerges a full half hour after his scheduled stage time in a glorified wheelchair.

During the incendiary opening numbers - "Revolution #12" and industrial classic "This Is the New Shit" - Manson displays a mastery of his electronically controlled throne, but also great frustration - he continually stands up in his seat, like a fearless kid on their first stabiliser-free bike ride.

And by track three - fan favourite "Disposable Teens" - he's up and at them, wisely keeping his right foot, still in a protective plastic boot, aloft the whole time behind him. Manson's here in support of Heaven Upside Down, his ninth LP, released in August, and the tenor of the show matches the album's aggressive tone; it's certainly a departure from his last show at the Apollo, two years ago almost to the day, which meant much more heavily on 2015's brooding The Pale Emperor.

"I may be a little bit broken, but you can't fucking break me!" is the opening pronouncement from the self-appointed God of Fuck, and at points, you can see where he's engineered his circumstances to his advantage. He delivers a handful of tracks whilst lying on a hospital pulley, flanked by two guys dressed as surgeons in both scrubs and surgical mask. They stand silently behind him at other pints in the set, too, which has you wondering whether they're there as part of the act or if, in fact, Manson's management have recognised this whole episode as an opportunity to place a couple of minders on stage with him; after all, the slurred delivery of his stage banter does not suggest he's knocked his legendary absinthe habit on the head.

Still, even with a heady hat-trick of his bibulous predisposition, his limited mobility, and a muted Monday night crowd, Manson still puts on a show. His costume changes are as numerous as they are disconcertingly quick. His vocal delivery remains a symphony in ominous rasp. During recent single "We Know Where You Fucking Live", Manson roars into a microphone designed to look like an old-fashioned camcorder, with a torch atop it. It shouldn't be anywhere near as unsettling as it actually is.

There hasn't been a great deal going Manson's way these last couple of months, so it's to his credit that he's here at the centre of a powerful live show. Could he do with interacting with the crowd in a more coherent manner? Sure. Would it be a disaster if he swapped out some of his audience chat, nonsensical to most, in favour of playing more than the fifteen tracks he manages tonight? Surely. The brutal truth, though, is that we almost lost Manson back in September. We should take him, thereafter, any way we can get him.

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