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Hugenottenhalle, Neu-Isenburg, Germany
23rd November 2009
Marilyn Manson, Esoterica

I guess that there aren’t many bands that are debated and written about that much like MARILYN MANSON. Misunderstandings and consistent self-dramatisation have shaped the career of the American formation up to today. Besides the controversy about the performances, front man Brian Warner aka Marilyn Manson and his band mates got talked about due to rock albums such as `Antichrist Superstar´ and `Mechanical Animals´. The latter one, in my opinion a multi-layered and partly retro homage to gloomy glam rock, aroused my interest in their work in particular. Therefore, I was curious about MARILYN MANSON would sound like today.

Recently, the band released the long-player `The High End of Low´ and has been on a world tour of the same title since this year’s August. On 23rd November, it was time for the appearance in Neu-Isenburg. Actually, the concert should take place in the Frankfurt Jahrhunderthalle, but for various reasons it was relocated to the smaller Hugenottenhalle. There weren’t the best conditions to attend a concert: Stormy weather and pouring rain combined with traffic jams made me arrive pretty late. The admission procedure had already been finished and most of the fans and listeners were waiting in front of the stage for the appearance of support act ESOTERICA. Obviously, the concert wasn’t sold out, as there was enough space left in the hall.


Last year, the British rock formation ESOTERICA delivered the debut entitled with `The Fool´ which was produced by John Fryer who had already collaborated with big names such as NINE INCH NAILS, HIM and DEPECHE MODE. This year, ESOTERICA presented the new full-length recording `The Riddle´ and the single `Silence´. Besides supporting MARILYN MANSON, Tobias (vocals), Matthew (guitars), Bari (guitars), Laura (bass) and Luke (drums) had appearances at major festivals and went on tour with KORN. /

Music & Performance
When the lights went off and it was time for ESOTERICA, I didn’t know what to expect from the support band as I hadn’t known any songs. The first thing I noticed was the certain similarity of vocalist Tobias to Brian Warner making him appear like a younger brother of the main act’s mastermind. However, the soundscape was rather different from MARILYN MANSON’s compositions: Gloomy and melodic rock music that lived on dynamic guitars and Tobias´ sonorous vocals. The guys and their female bassist Laura tried their best to interact with the crowd that welcomed them in a friendly way. Nevertheless, the five-piece seemed to be slightly nervous while presenting songs such as the recent single `Silence´, `The Fool´, `Watch this Drive´ or `Life is lonely´. Before they performed the last piece `Don’t rely on anyone´, they wanted the audience to sing along the line “Don’t rely on anyone” and so the listeners did. Even though the band members need to get more routine and self-confidence on stage, they provided a solid performance of 30 minutes including some pretty good songs.

Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.6 / 10

Marilyn Manson

Formed in 1989 as MARILYN MANSON & THE SPOOKY KIDS in the federal state of Florida, the band soon gained a lot of attention with its unusual performances and striking outer appearances. Over the years, their soundscape transformed from punk-influenced rock to rather dark and industrial-like rock music. In 1994, the formation signed to Nothing Records, which was a label of NINE INCH NAILS-mastermind Trent Reznor, and released its debut album `Portrait of an American Family´. Due to the offensive lyrics and provoking behaviour on stage connected to choosing names of serial killers, MARILYN MANSON had often to deal with bad press, protests and petitions, especially in the USA. The band was falsely accused of being responsible for the Columbine High School massacre, as the killers were said being listening to its music. Up to now, the formation has released seven long-players, for example `Antichrist Superstar´ (1996), `Holy Wood´ (2000) and `Eat Me, Drink Me´ (2007). This year, the most recent piece of work entitled with `The High End of Low´ hit the stores. /

Music & Performance
After ESOTERICA had made room for the staff that instantly started doing the change-over, a black curtain protected the stage from curious looks. The audience that mainly consisted of twenty-somethings wearing black clothes reacted calmly to that measure. Due to the fact that all photographers were allowed to take pictures during the first song, I hoped for a not too low level of illumination although I had been told that there should be difficult conditions. When the lights went off again and the crew members carried away the black curtain, I had to experience that there were the worst conditions I have ever experienced: Fog was wafting around and it was front man Brian Warner aka MARILYN MANSON himself who finally brought some light on stage. Completely dressed in black and with small lamps attached to his gloves, the lead singer sent out red laser beams while he and his colleagues were euphorically welcomed by their following. Although I was swearing and cursing because of the lack of light, I had to admit that it was an impressive upbeat that perfectly fitted to the opening song `Cruci-Fiction in Space´.

After that, the photographers had to leave the photo pit and the building. Therefore, I missed the second piece `Disposable Teens´. I was back in the venue to listen to `Pretty as a Swastika´ taken from the most recent album. From then on, it was hard for me to separate the music’s quality from the way too bold and simple show which was obviously intended to appear provoking and debatable. For example, Mr. Manson set a bible on fire, put on a steel helmet and hoisted a German flag accompanied with the listeners´ cheers and yells. When some light beams were creating turned crosses on the front man’s jacket, I didn’t notice any outcry or anything else. Any dismay? Any distraction? No way! The audience remained almost unimpressed. Thus, all of that effort was even unintentionally funny and in my opinion there was no need for it, as it only diverted attention from the fact that MARILYN MANSON definitely contributed several critical and well-done songs to the alternative music scene. I particularly enjoyed my favourite song `The Dope Show´ as well as `Coma White / Coma Black´ and the additional piece `The Beautiful People´. The vocals were good and as powerful as I expected them to be. The same applies to the skills of the musicians I could only vaguely perceive because of all the fog and the lack of light.

All in all, it isn’t easy to give a comment on that concert as I couldn’t compare it to previous gigs. Perhaps other appearances have always been like that - if yes, I’m too grown up to appreciate it with regard to the special interludes.

01. Cruci-Fiction in Space
02. Disposable Teens
03. Pretty as a Swastika
04. Irresponsible Hate Anthem
05. Love Song
06. Four Rusted Horses
07. Devour
08. Dried Up, Tied and Dead to the World
09. Coma White / Coma Black
10. We're From America
11. The Dope Show
12. Rock is Dead
13. Sweet Dreams (Eurythmics cover)
14. Rock'n'Roll Nigger (Patti Smith cover)
15. The Beautiful People

Music: 7
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 6
Total: 6.9 / 10

All pictures by Katrin Renner (

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