#BGReviewer: Twins of Evil: Zombie & Manson

Aug 15, 2019

The theory that London is a conservative town was put to the test last night. If you were at Budweiser Gardens or in the downtown core, you would have seen some unusual looking characters with white eyes, macabre makeup and fun and dramatic clothing. I was excited to be among them.


Rob Zombie, who headlines the 2019 Hell Never Dies tour with Marilyn Manson, is an artistic force and an electrifying performer. He owns the stage, which is no small feat because his characteristic visuals – with pyrotechnics and videos that enter my nightmares after every Zombie show – captivate the audience’s attention.


I love his swagger, his obvious comfort in his own skin and enviable mane and his commitment to deliver a hard-core rock show for his audience. He got the crowd to their feet by opening with “Dead City Radio,” turned us on with the sexy “Pussy Liquor” and maintained the momentum throughout the set. At one point, he stepped off the stage to engage with excited fans in the front rows and then teased that his fingers are attached to his hand despite their efforts to pull them off.


Everyone wanted his attention and he playfully accommodated us. During guitarist John 5’s solo, he grabbed a flashlight and shone a light on sections of the crowd around the entire venue. Just before closing with “Dragula,” he brought Manson back to perform “Helter Skelter” while clips from his next movie “3 from Hell” took over the large screens. The movie, written and directed by Zombie, opens this fall. 


I’ve seen about 100 stadium concerts, but Marilyn Manson had eluded me until last night. I wanted to be excited and mesmerized because that’s how his music makes me feel. I wanted the outrageous, intelligent and articulate Manson to grab me and not let go. Sadly, his performance at Budweiser Gardens was disappointing. There were long breaks between songs and Manson was barely comprehensible when he spoke. Too many people in the seats sat through his songs – a nail in the coffin of artists whose music inspires frenetic energy.


Still, when the band played “Sweet Dreams”, there was a distinct shift in Bud Gardens. Where Marilyn didn’t bring it, his band remained tight and present. The guy next to me, who’s also seen many live shows, summed up his experience this way: “I love all of Manson’s albums, but he sucks live. He just can’t do it.” I wouldn’t go that far. Lots of people sang along and raged later in the show.


Like most rock shows I’ve attended with a lesser-known band opening for two powerhouse bands, Palaye Royale played to a half-empty venue for most of their set. They didn’t appear to be phased. They brought the energy, flair and solid rock we’d expect to support the Twins of Evil.


Finally, I’d like to give a shout out to the lighting and sound crews at Bud Gardens. Whether the bands bring their own people, or they’re contracted, they have an excellent venue in which to create the sight and sound magic.


#BGReviewer: @juliemaltby

Photos by: @BillWoodcock 

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