It was a wet and miserable leap day in 2012. While this may have been a damper on most people’s days, it actually set the tone for me as I headed to the Enmore Theatre for my one-and-only Sidewave show this year. Walking into a sea of black, I was wildly surprised at the diversity of the crowd, particularly in age. Some of Marilyn Manson’s original Australian fans appeared to be in the audience.
First up on the bill was horror-punk, Wednesday 13, and things did not get off to a great start. As the band came out, followed by main man, Mr. 13 himself, with a crescendo of hard-hitting music, the lights seemed to fail in supporting this stage entrance. Wednesday 13 actually had to scream for someone to “turn on the fucking lights” before things got going. It probably didn’t help things that the levels weren’t quite right, throwing the band into a bit of a funk.
Wednesday 13 had a lot of work to do to regain a vote of confidence in the crowd, but the band were clearly trying too hard to command the audience. Despite a decade-long reign of horror-punk/goth-rock, this crowd of Manson fans were not giving it up that easily. I loved every bit of the music, but there was no depth whatsoever in the set, so it just didn’t take off with most of the crowd. If I didn’t know them before tonight, I’d assume that these guys were touring on the release of their first EP. I hate to say it because their music sounds great, but tonight, they just couldn’t sell it.
After a 20-minute wait, we were blessed with the return of the newly reformed, Coal Chamber. It was pretty clear that these guys have only just returned to touring because, like Wednesday 13, things started off slow, but after a song or two, the band found their groove and it was great. Drummer, Mikey “Bug” Cox was something of a spectacle throughout the whole set. The sheer energy and vivacity as he flailed about flawlessly through every song was unbelievable. This was enhanced through strategic lighting and a crew member pouring a full bottle of water on him and the drums every two minutes. There were a bit too many “put your middle finger up” moments with no particular reason but just because this is a hard rock show, but other than that, Coal Chamber were the big winners of the evening.
That isn’t to say that the god of Fuck didn’t know how to ignite the crowd, but when he arrived on an excessively smoke filled stage to the intro of Anti-Chris Superstar, things went downhill very quickly. Just to ensure every show in Australia got the same fair treatment, Manson was absolutely beyond intoxicated on stage, to a point where his vocals were inaudible, and he spent an awful lot of time crawling on the stage. He appeared to have a severe dislike for a stagehand because he took every opportunity to throw his microphone or mic stand, followed by a harsh middle finger and aggressive shouting in the direction of said stagehand.
If I weren’t so keen to hear the obvious closer of The Beautiful People, I probably would have left early. The band were clearly getting pissed off with Manson and the crowd were loving hearing every song, but it seemed like most of us wanted to stay only to see what he might do next.
The most impressive part of his performance was the fact that his clothing didn’t rip while trying to hold in the seemingly 20 kg he has gained since his last tour down under. Manson looked to be drowning in a pool of self-loathing that, if he isn’t careful, will turn to a puddle of his own vomit, sending him out of this world in the way of so many before him. But while Keith Moon, Bon Scott and the like went out on top of their games, Manson will fade into nothing, like a flaming bag of shit on someone’s doorstep, because what he has become is an absolute joke. There is no connection to everything that was and has been Marilyn Manson for the past two decades. There is no desire to put on a good show for the crowd, or to play the songs that people have loved for so long.
There was nothing superstar about this anti-Christ. I’ve seen him before but I won’t see him again until he can revert back to the days where this was the standard of his show.