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Marilyn Manson
The Hell No Hallelujah Tour
Toronto Feb. 2, 2015

Like “lambs to the slaughter” a sea of black leather jackets, fishnets and mascara was herded through the snowdrifts lining Polson Street in downtown Toronto. With a cold wind blowing off the lake at the end of the road, ladies dressed in mini skirts and heels proved tougher than all the men wearing (twice as much) clothing. But they all huddled together, in the -25C/-13F weather, as the cattle of Goth, Metal, Punk and all around music fans funneled into the slaughterhouse known as The Sound Academy.

Spilling into the warmth of the long, narrow “killing floor,” the crowd pushed their way towards the beckoning stage at the far end of the establishment, excited for the “Antichrist Superstar” himself to eventually emerge from the darkness. For those old enough to remember 20 years ago, the Reverend took to a tiny stage on Queen Street East, at the Opera House and shocked fans with his mix of theatrics, heavy metal sound and horror visuals. Since then, his arena worthy rock anthems has played bigger venues in the area. But now, almost returning to his routes, what presence would Marilyn Manson bring to this club setting?

Before that question would be answered, those who made it in early enough were rewarded with the opening act, Weaves. A local Toronto band, who’s eclectic rock sound was solid, though maybe not have been the right fit for pumping up the majority of the crowd. But shortly after 9pm with the entire venue packed, shoulder-to-shoulder, front to back, the lights went out and the hypnotic introduction began.

Manson hit the stage with a fierce energy, opening with “Deep Six” from his new album “The Pale Emperor,” which sent the audience into a frenzy of approval. Bathed in lights, Manson held the audience in the palm of his hand, but it was the second song in the set that the audience really opened up to, by putting their cellphones away and welcoming the energy of a rock show. “Disposable Teens” saw the audience getting rowdy as they moshed, danced, crowd surfed and screamed along to Manson’s catchy and thought-provoking lyrics, ”I got a face that’s made for violence upon, and I’m a teen distortion, survived abortion, a rebel from the waist down.”

"Bathed in lights, Manson held the audience in the palm of his hand..."

Manson continued with hit after hit, “mOBSCENE”, “No Reflection” and “Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)” weaving new songs in between, giving his fans a good mixture of old and new. Between songs Manson spoke to the crowd with the southern drawl of the stereotypical TV Evangelists that he sang about on earlier albums and Manson even took the time to introduce every member of the band on stage with him. (Something I had never seen him do at any other show.) Speaking of the band, they were in perfect form, playing with a sloppy precision that fit Manson’s vocals beautifully. These musicians definitely deserve the recognition.

He then played hits like “Rock Is Dead”, “The Dope Show” and the “Personal Jesus” cover, again weaving new songs in between. All of this lead up to the obligatory performance of “The Beautiful People” and finally for all the fans of his heavier songs, Manson finished the main set by unleashing the “Irresponsible Hate Anthem” to the chants of “We hate love, we love hate.” But one of the biggest highlights of the whole night was the performance of “Coma White” as the encore. Manson returned to the stage in a white shirt covered in blood and his microphone stand was covered in bloody white lilies.

Though trying to fit 20 years of music into a 90 minute set, is sure to leave out a lot of personal favorites, Manson still put on a solid show for all his fans who braved the horrible weather to be there. Overall, when you strip away the theatrics, pyro and controversy, Marilyn Manson and company are a solid rock and roll band that on this tour is letting the music speak for itself.

Ryan Andrews, HMS

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