Rob Zombie & Marilyn Manson

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author AP date 06/12/12 venue Valby Hallen, Valby, DEN

On a stinging cold Thursday night, I could think of a couple of better things to do than cram myself into a sports hall to watch two 'musicians' with respective egos the size of our solar system put on intellectually insulting performances. This is what I've signed up for, however, so I brave my way through the freezing wind to find a well-populated Valby-Hallen gearing up for the evening's first act.

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Marilyn Manson

Marilyn Manson

With the bitterly disappointing performance at Copenhell last summer in mind, my expectations for this aging shock rocker's show tonight were low, to say the least. And having such dimmed expectations turns out to be something of an advantage, as Marilyn Manson's theatrical display here does not leave a sour taste in my mouth. As a diehard fan of the man, you would probably find this hit parade more than satisfying, but if, like me, you've always only been marginally interested in his music, finding solid tracks here and there on each album and discarding the rest, then it is hardly an improvement on the Copenhell show.

Changing costume in between almost every song, from pope to pimp and everything in between, Manson certainly hasn't toned down the visual aesthetic of his show. But sadly, as most of the songs that require some singing prove, Manson is well past his best years. He's a tad chubby, looks to be in a state of disarray half of the time, and the sung parts are replaced with scrappy, distorted yelling. As one of only a few improvements on last summer's gig, the volume is considerably higher, and contrary to expectation at this concrete sports hall, very clear.

My personal highlight of his 13-song set comes with "Coma White", an unexpected, actual rock song off the successful "Mechnical Animals" record that is accompanied by what looks like snow falling from the ceiling - the most impressive and appropriate gimmick in tonight's string of confetti-storms, glow-wire guitars and the like. "Rock is Dead" - a personal favorite of mine from the same album, however, is delivered in tragically horrible fashion, and even the renowned cover of Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams" sounds like a withered, battered remnant of its past self.

Marilyn Manson

It also baffles me that (and I am fairly confident this was actually the case, despite a few people across the Internet disagreeing) "Antichrist Superstar" does not get an airing, with "King Kill 33" and "The Beautiful People" ending the proceedings. All in all then, I suppose Marilyn Manson does as is expected of him, but with none of the shock factor of his past glory days, coming across as little else than a has-been.

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Setlist:

  • Hey, Cruel World...
  • Disposable Teens
  • The Love Song
  • No Reflection
  • mOBSCENE
  • The Dope Show
  • Slo-Mo-Tion
  • Rock is Dead
  • Personal Jesus (Depeche Mode cover)
  • Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics cover)
  • Coma White
  • King Kill 33
  • The Beautiful People

Rob Zombie with a robotic arm

Rob Zombie

In the case of Rob Zombie, I just don't know what to expect from the man. His previous appearance in Denmark took place in 1995 - and that was with White Zombie, so my frame of reference is extremely limited. But in stark contrast with the depressing Marilyn Manson, Rob Zombie and his ensemble of hired guns are oozing life, playing the show like there's no tomorrow. It has to be said that in order to enjoy this stuff, one needs to turn off one's brain and appreciate it for what it is. And what it is, is a performance above everything else; a theatrical, exaggerated, visually stimulating show with next to no substance.

John 5 firing riffs at us

Rob Zombie & co. are in full zombie costume; there are huge robots dancing on stage; there are clips from classic horror flicks like "Frankenstein", "Nosferatu" and "The Shining" in the enormous array of displays that serves as the backdrop; there are videos with bare-breasted ladies; angry red women gunning down alien zombies on Mars; plumes of smoke and confetti; Terminator-looking statues on either side of the stage; and, towards the end of the show, an enormous, towering pedestal upon which Rob Zombie stands, dwarfing the similar setup Manson had in his own finale.

Then there's the music, which is secondary, and lyrically verging on retarded, with songs like "Jesus Frankenstein" and "Mars Needs Women" ensuring that this is probably the lowest common denominator in music. But it's played at such incredible volume, and accompanied by such astounding energy and tongue-in-cheek attitude by the band, that one cannot but stand in disbelief and enjoy it. Everything about this show has been blown into ridiculous proportions, and then exaggerated some more to the point where frankly, it is impossible to take it seriously. But no matter - my colleague Sebastian Taylor Bach from Revolution-Music and I have loaded our bellies with beer just prior, so we aren't exactly in the mood for an intellectually challenging concert.

John 5 finds an extra neck for his guitar

Despite this being a proper freakshow, Rob Zombie is a fantastic entertainer - miles beyond Manson's ability to interact with the crowd. Hell, following the White Zombie classic "Thunder Kiss '65", he even ventures into the crowd during a lengthy guitar solo by John 5 to give high-fives, and wraps it up with leading his band into a surprisingly faithful cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman", which he sings almost exactly in the voice of James Hetfield. We are then given another cover, Alice Cooper's "School's Out", before the lights dim for an expected encore. This is preceded by the trailer to Rob Zombie's new cult horror movie "Lords of Salem", and then manifests itself as the infamous "Dragula", much to the pleasure of the sizable contingent of fans upfront.

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Selist:

  • Sawdust in the Blood
  • Jesus Frankenstein
  • Superbeast
  • Meet the Creeper
  • Living Dead Girl
  • More Human Than Human (White Zombie cover)
  • Theme for an Angry Red Planet
  • Mars Needs Women
  • Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
  • Sick Bubble-Gum
  • Scum of the Earth
  • Lords of Salem
  • Thunder Kiss '65 (White Zombie cover)
  • Enter Sandman (Metallica cover)
  • School's Out (Alice Cooper cover)

--Encore--

  • Dragula

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