By Niki D'Andrea
Better than: A proctologist with bad depth perception.
I learned a few things at the Slayer/Marilyn Manson show:
1) Slayer becomes more aggressive and tight as the band's brutal set wears on.
2) Marilyn Manson is a consummate performer, but looks better clothed.
3) Some stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. The reason is they are true.
Allow me to expand on my lessons:
Slayer: A live Slayer show is the sonic equivalent of a jackhammer to the skull. The band played a 70-minute set that hit like a 10-minute tornado, complete with enough stroboscopic effects to make one’s eyeballs bounce to the beat in their sockets. If you are prone to seizures, stay away from Slayer shows. Drummer Dave Lombardo pummeled the skins like he was frantically beating an angry grizzly bear to death, while guitarists Jeff Hanneman and Kerry King traded mangled, screaming solos that wailed into the upper registers with tinnitus-tingling precision. Singer and bassist Tom Araya, who’s never had to resort to growling and grunts to sound scary, belted out lyrics in his usual pissed-off maniac manner, while whipping his mass of curly black hair around. Incredibly, the band seemed to pick up speed and play even louder as the hits kept coming, from “Confearacy” (off the new album, Christ Illusion) to classics like “Reign in Blood” and “Angel of Death,” which ended the set.
Remember when Marilyn Manson closed the MTV Video Music Awards with a performance that had him wearing nothing but butt floss? Thankfully, the king of creepy emerged from behind an opulent black curtain fully clothed, before a screaming crowd of thousands. He then launched into songs off his new album, gesticulating and gyrating in über-cool ghoul fashion, with a microphone that was attached to a big knife blade. He definitely had a commanding presence, and worked it appropriately for his 70-minutes, moving all around the stage, pumping his fist, humping the air, and mixing in some of his older, more metal-edged songs with the newer, industrial-sounding stuff. In short, he put on a hell of a show. (I actually cut out before the end of Manson's set, but check out the extended entry here for a full report from a friend who went the distance).
Stereotypes: The audience was awesome. Before Manson’s set, Pantera’s “Walk” played on the loudspeakers, and I swear that every single person at Cricket Pavilion was singing along and pumping their fists. But we also need to talk about fires and boobs, and why they have been a part of almost every big metal show I’ve seen. First off, it’s stupid to start fires, especially when it’s 95 degrees outside. But people still started a bonfire on the lawn during Slayer’s set -- what do they think this is, Woodstock 1999? The only kindling was paper and plastic cups, and those fumes are pretty nasty. The fire got pretty big before two seemingly random dudes with fire extinguishers put it out; the smoke was choking up the pavilion. Everybody said, “That happens at every metal show.” Another thing that should be a part of every metal show is boobs, and the cameramen who were projecting people from the audience on the big screens did not disappoint -- panning in on women with large breasts, and waiting a couple seconds to see if they’d flash the boobs. Not every woman obliged, but several others thought it was too hot outside to keep their shirts on. Way to keep tradition going!
Personal bias: When I was in the 8th grade, I wanted Kerry King to be my boyfriend.
Random detail: I saw Eddie Kelly, singer of local metal madmen Blessedbethyname, crowd surfing during Slayer’s set. They put him on the screen several times. Later, I ran into Blessedbethyname bassist Madio. Somebody else told me that the guys from Valley industrial-metal band The Iris were there. I also ran into several friends, several acquaintances, and even photographers from our local daily newspapers (gotta cover than Manson lady). Also: people were throwing glow sticks around the pit during Slayer’s set. I have never seen that before.
MORE MARILYN MANSON... Metrosexual Cyber Druid By Layal Rabat
The bonfires that lasted past the Slayer show were being fueled by toilet paper and various plastic cups before the Marilyn Manson show started. Police helicopters freshly circled the skies to protect the exiting Slayer fans from the Marilyn Mansonites.
Right before 10 p.m., the show kicked in with Manson lounging on a huge chair. He began this sort of macabre puppet show, where the sets kept morphing throughout, with slight costume changes à la Cher, but with a bit less glitter, and appearing more like a female.
To break it down, the music was amazing, but the show was so visually intriguing that I almost forgot about the music at times. The crowd was wowed when heart-shaped confetti fell from the ceiling -- that’s around the time that I was sitting there enjoying the show and smelling a person that reeked of manure next to me. I’m thinking he was a pit refugee, as he kept wobbling during the show and bumping into me.
Just as I’m zoning out on the sweaty meathead next to me, Marilyn appears in a boxing ring, wearing a silver boxing robe and pretending to box as a puppet. He looked like a metrosexual cyber druid jumping around. He then removed the hood of his robe to reveal his face. He was so pale in the lights, leading me to believe that he never does daytime shows (which makes sense because of the intriguing lighting and the visuals on the projector). He must have gotten Rose McGowan’s foundation in the divorce.
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Manson was now standing at a podium as Nazi-esque banners unfurled, showing the thunderbolt design that’s come to be a symbol for him. He continued the theme of being a puppet, appearing as a politician and a religious figure at times.
Towards the end of the show, he stood at an area of the stage, and then rose on a platform while a column of smoke circled around the approximately 10 foot high base, forming what appeared to be a fluid column from an ancient Roman coliseum (which makes sense with all of the little Neros in the crowd, continuing to fuel the fire and dance around it -- much to the dismay of the frustrated security guards).
His game of charades ended with what I’m going to refer to from now on as the encore jackoff. Now let’s get something straight, the band stopped during the show several times for about 20-30 seconds or so to completely change the set for the scenes that Manson was portraying. But at the end, it stayed dark and quiet long enough to indicate that they wanted to change sets, but they also wanted to make everyone scream.
A thunderous rain dance arose from their feet as the crowd shouted and stomped. And Manson played a song, and then of course had to make the crowd beg for another one. The lights all went down, but when they came back on, the band had disappeared.