Time was when Marilyn Manson could have filled halls bigger than this one on his own. But he is no longer the cultural conservative’s favourite bogeyman and in Obama’s we’re-all-in-this-together America, his shock-rock status has been commuted to travelling freakshow turn, playing horror metal tag team on this co-headline Twins of Evil tour with Rob Zombie.
Marilyn Manson & Rob Zombie
Star rating: * * * *
That didn’t stop him putting on a bit of a show, raiding the costume department for his sadistic bishop, gimp butcher and gothic Zorro outfits and ranting mock maniacally from his dictator’s pulpit. But too often the soundtrack to these rote shenanigans amounted to a lethargic industrial metal dirge, only occasionally enlivened by the glam punk likes of mOBSCENE, the slowburn Berliner sleaze of I Don’t Like The Drugs (But The Drugs Like Me) and his curious sideline in thundering gothic covers of 80s pop hits.
Rob Zombie’s presentation was more of a creature feature – well, he is a successful horror film director, when he is not otherwise occupied with the important business of schlock metal. A still from King Kong was emblazoned on the safety curtain, there were frequent horror movie montages on the big screens and even a sneaky plug for his forthcoming film, Lords of Salem, while the show itself was populated by a cast of giant robot aliens, dancing golems, animatronic demons and ghoulish spectres and songs such as Meet The Creeper, Living Dead Girl and Jesus Frankenstein.
Far from being swamped by this theatrical extravaganza, Zombie was an engaging and energetic ringmaster. His cover of School’s Out was no big surprise, as he is clearly this generation’s Alice Cooper, displaying a gleeful will to entertain, which was lacking from his evil twin’s set.