For the first time since 2009, Marilyn Manson is performing on American soil. In support of the recently released (and surprisingly solid) Born Villain, Manson has scaled back his show to tiny venues, not only assuring sell outs in every market but giving the fans a chance to get up close and personal with the Antichrist Superstar himself.
The show touched down in Oklahoma City’s Diamond Ballroom on Monday, bringing a quick 75-minute show filled with just about every Manson hit you could want with some of the strongest tracks from Born Villain.
After an opening performance by The Pretty Reckless that’s hardly worth mentioning, Manson and his band (includes Mr. Twiggy Ramirez) walked out on stage to the suitably eerie theme music from Suspiria then immediately launched into Born Villain’s Hey, Cruel World…. Starting with palm muted guitar that sounded like a racing heartbeat, Hey, Cruel World… eventually built into a wall of distortion with Manson’s trademark growl hovering over the top.
The irresistible crunch of Disposable Teens was next, setting the atmosphere for several giant circle pits to break out in the crowd while Manson marched around the stage like a demonically possessed military officer. Manson encouraged the audience to keep up the crowd surfing and moshing as he quickly ran through The Love Song and new track No Reflection, allowing things to get nice and violent by the time mOBSCENE rolled around.
The Dope Show found Manson putting on some silver sunglasses and a pink boa as the song’s grinding, stripper-friendly drum and bass groove got everyone to break from the sonically induced violence for a few minutes and simply get their sleazy dance on. The song, now 14 years old, still sounded fresh and it was definitely one of the highlights of the evening.
Two more tracks from Born Villain made appearances in the set, the by-the-books alt rock Slo-Mo-Tion and Manson’s ode to love with a side of physical abuse, Pistol Whipped. Approximately no one was familiar with the new tracks, but by the time Pistol Whipped‘s chorus circled around the second time everyone was singing along. The track’s catchy and judging from the crowd’s response, Manson could have a minor hit on his hands if he decides to release it as a single.
On the cover front, Manson dusted off both Personal Jesus and Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This, both garnering a huge roar of approval from the crowd. Sweet Dreams in particular seemed to really connect, with the band turning the original’s synthtastic instrumentation into syrupy, almost sticky sounding guitar lines as Manson’s scarily aggressive voice raged through throughout the venue. The man certainly knows how to get a crowd engaged, that’s for sure.
The Antichrist Superstar record was well represented in the later part of the set, with both Tourniquet and Irresponsible Hate Anthem making appearances. For some reason, Manson didn’t play the title track as he has on the other dates of the tour, but by the time the show ended with a phenomenally raw version of The Beautiful People, no one really seemed to mind.
Early reviews of this tour (particularly of Manson’s appearances on the Soundwave lineup) were rough, saying Manson sounded awful and seemed drunk, high (or both), but this was not the case in Oklahoma City. Manson was on point, although the show was short Manson really seemed to pour his energy out for every track and his band sounded better than ever.
The group has scaled back the number of props used as well, and apart from a few hat changes, a knife microphone stand and a smoke gun that looked like a revolver, this show was definitely about the music and Manson’s ability to control the crowd like only so many frontmen can. He’s still got it, and any fan of his should not miss this current trek.
Setlist: Hey Cruel World, Disposable Teens, The Love Song, No Reflection, mOBSCENE, The Dope Show, Slo-Mo-Tion, Rock Is Dead, Personal Jesus, Pistol Whipped, Tourniquet, Irresponsible Hate Anthem, Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This), The Beautiful People