review archive

Marilyn Manson London Docklands Arena January 24th 2001

Despite never having heard a Marilyn Manson song properly, I decide to go along to this for the spectacle and I am not disappointed. Sheltering under the awning of an alfresco tee-shirt stand we feast our eyes on the HUUUGE queue of assorted goth types winding round the building. These kids (and some old enough to have been through goth the first time) certainly like their slap and I haven’t seen so many pairs of stripy tights since the early ‘90s days of ‘fraggle’ (shudder). Nice to see people making an effort. Just as we are about to join the queue, we are amused to see the Windmill Nick Cave and friend. They pointedly ignore our cackling and pointing, as is only dignified.

Once inside, we spot Robin from Rachel Stamp being hugged by a woman in nowt but a shiny pink bikini. Somehow this comes as no surprise.

I spend most of support band Disturbed’s set stalking the corridors of Docklands Arena looking at people. Much more interesting than squinting at some brightly lit specks in the distance making a sound like Iron Maiden (I’m told) or maybe Faith No More (I think). Then they do a cover of ‘Shout’ by Tears for Fears. Not sure why.

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We find ourselves a space nearer the stage so at least we can see the band with the naked eye. Also find ourselves a discarded pair of fairy wings. Has some cruel soul pulled them off for a laugh? Are these Manson fans really that depraved?? Seems like the bloke muttering biblical platitudes at the queue outside should have muttered harder. Spot the best mohican hairdo ever. Its metal!! As in made of metal. Looks like he’s got a section of circular saw protruding from the top of his bald head. Excellent. This what we came for.

Oh no, we came to see a band, that’s right. The lights go down, a huge white curtain shrouds the stage (although we can see round the side of it). A big spooky shadow looms up behind the curtain, it’s a creature with an enormous wingspan stalking the stage! The curtain rises. Its Mazzer in spooky black pvc corset thing! The keyboard is on a giant spring, wobbling back and forth as it’s played. Brilliant! Why don’t Gorkys do that? It would really suit Euros in his wig-out mode.

The music is better than I’d been expecting, quite glammy, not really metal. Sometimes its alarmingly close to eighties goth, especially The Sisters Of Mercy. Mazzer wears big stilts on his arms and legs and stalks about waving and pointing his long spindly arms into the audience (and then he puts the stilts on, arf).

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For another song (don’t ask me what) he wears an amazing growing skirt which slowly rises from the stage with him stuck in the top like a fairy on a tree. Towering above the stage, he is a scrawny white insect man flailing about. I could really do with one of those skirts at gigs. If there was some bulbous-headed beanpole obstructing my view (as usually happens) I could just flick a switch and rise upwards in a stately manner.

They play ‘Fight Song’. Mazzer encourages us all to shout ‘Fuck Off!’ at various authority figures, (‘As we’re in London, tell the Queen to fuck off!’ We heartily comply) what fun! There’s their cover of ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’ What is it with these dubious eighties covers? They do ‘The Beautiful People’ which, strangely, I seem to know. Something else sounds like the Glitter Band.

Towards the end we go and stand near the back in order to make good our escape to the bus stop and are surprised to find lots of so-called fans hanging around in the corridors not even watching the band. What are they doing there? What would Mazzer think of this straying flock?

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