After A Long Hiatus… A Review Of Manson, Orpheum Theater 02/02/18

Hello y’all.

It’s been a while.

I have been doing lots of videos for my YouTube channel:

and have been AWOL from the blog, but have been missing it, however, I feel like I need to do a review of the last show that I saw, which was Manson. I hesitate to be negative about any band or performance, there is always something good to take away from almost any music or show, but the experience was not great this time, and on top of that my camera was messed up. So, if I have to analyze myself, I have been in avoidance.

However, here we go…


Rewind to February. After I had purchased the new Manson album and raved about it, I saw he was coming to town. He had come to Milwaukee a couple of times and I  didn’t go and regretted it, but this time he was coming right to Madison. I scored a ticket immediately and without hesitation. It was on the higher end of the scale for tickets I buy (about $65 after all the crazy fees), but I was not going to miss this one.

When the time came, with my ticket and my trusty Nikon Coolpix

I headed down to the recently remodeled Orpheum theater in Madison. This is only the second time I had been there. The first was to see Royal Blood open for The Pixies. The line outside was outrageous! It went around the building. Longest line I have ever stood in prior to a show. At least I was able to get a good marquee shot.

Once inside I slowly meandered to the rail on the right hand side and waited. The crowd was a mix of young, old, preppy, grungy… just about every style was represented. Including the obligatory too drunk guy down front.

Promptly at show time, a woman came out, dressed in leather with short hair and an “I mean business” look on her face. She walked up to the table that was center stage and the show started.

Her name was Amazonica.

Here is a clip from another show to give you an idea of what it looked like.

I was like huh?

A DJ set to open for Manson? I mean don’t get me wrong, she wasn’t bad, but it just didn’t really seem to fit with the mood, although she played heavy music. She did a lot of dancing behind her rig and pointing and throwing the horns and trying to be all rocked up. In the end though, it seemed off the mark to me.

When her set was done, the actual curtains came down.

Behind the curtain you could hear all kinds of prep being done. Excitement was growing. The smoke machine was on overtime and the whole stage area was filling up. The poor security guys down front were almost completely hidden from view.

Then the lights dimmed again and Manson began.

He started the show singing from a motorized, church inspired chair.

The crowd went wild of course. To my surprise it was a respectful non-moshing wildness.

He was wearing black leather pants and a black shirt with vest and the last time I saw him he was a tiny speck from the back of the Madison Coliseum opening for Nine Inch Nails, so being at stage front, even if I was off to the side was… well, great.

I didn’t notice it at the time, but that was when something happened to my camera. While I was looking at the pictures after the show I came across this one and I was like… “What the hell?”      It looks like he has a tail !   There was a hair of something on my lens. All my pictures look like this. Ugh.

Manson did some new stuff from the Heaven Upsidedown album and I was surprised how intimate the show was for such a large crowd. Behind me the place was packed.

He had simple makeup on and there were no dancers, or giant animal legs or anything weird onstage except for the giant guns that had fallen on him during another show and caused him to be in a leg wrap/cast still for this show. It didn’t seem to impair him much, but I began to notice that something seemed a little off. He was just a little slow, like he was guarded, or holding back. He kept spitting and randomly dropping or throwing the microphone down.

After a while he did a little banter and actually chided the audience for not being more wound up. It was weird. That was when things really went off the rails.

I don’t know if it was a bad night or what, but it seemed that it got worse as the show went on. There were moments when he was on in and rocked, but then he would drift. Every so often a roadie/stage guy would come out dressed in scrubs with a clear plastic cup of some liquid and Manson would take it like a shot and then of course throw the plastic cup and continue.

The guitarist was killing it. That part was 100%

In the end, it seemed that for whatever reason, Manson had lost his enthusiasm for the show. He was just going through the motions.

He did an operating room gurney version of Sweet Dreams, that even despite the mood was great. It was a standout. He used a trouble light for most of the song until he smashed it on the side of the gurney and the roadie/stage guys turned on the head lamps they were wearing, so it was likely staged that way.

Then came a costume change. He was offstage for a bit and came back wearing a suit made of feathers. It had to be damn hot.

He did a few more, then complained to the audience again.

Things got even more degraded when he started messing with the instruments. He messed with the bass player

and then he took the guitar later and tried to make noise with that. He is no guitarist.

After an awkward bit of that he left the stage again. This time to return with balloons to do The Nobodies, which even with the mood and weirdness that was going on, he did great.

It was probably the best bit of the show for me. He really brought it together for the song and I thought maybe he had shaken off whatever was the problem.

However, after that song, he went offstage again. We waited a bit, there was some Manson chanting and then we could see in the low lights that someone was walking him across the stage with flashlights. He went from stage left to stage right, then went backstage and never came back.

It was over.

We were stunned. He clearly cut the show short. It was a disappointment.

The next day also, I noticed the weird line in my shots and considered the prospect of having to buy another show camera. As it turned out, thanks to my procrastination on that, I ended up knocking it off the counter and it crashed to the floor. When I turned it on to see if it still worked… the weirdness was gone.

It was a weird night at the Manson show, but I choose to believe that he was just having a bad night.

Manson’s has gotten me through some hard times in my life and I will always be a fan.

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New Manson! New Manson! New Manson!

There are only a handful of current artists that I will buy sight unseen. Or rather ears unheard? Most groups I check out on Spotify, make sure that it moves me, and then go and pick up the music for real.

There are also a handful of artists that I only buy digitally. The majority of them have disbanded but NIN and Manson are still putting out new music.

Yesterday morning I got a tiny notice on my phone that the new Marilyn Manson album had been released. Just like that. There had been an Instagram post with a link to the song “WE KNOW WHERE YOU FUCKING LIVE” a while back, but I had no idea the album was being released that day.

I stared at the notice for a moment, then went directly to Amazon Music, found it, bought it and downloaded it. Like 4 minutes tops from notice to owning the music. That in itself is worth a whole post. Kids these day will never know the experience of having to get a ride to the mall and being the last one on their block to have the new whatever album and having to wait to get home to put it on the turntable.

So now I had it… my only hang-up was having time to listen to it. I got through about 4 songs on the way home from work yesterday. So far… I LOVE it.

The album is called Heaven Upside Down.

This the 10th album by Manson. It has been interesting to hear the evolution of his sound over the years. The shock and outrageousness has mellowed a bit but the anger and hard in your face rock has not.

The cover shows about the most normal look he has ever sported, which is interesting since he has made a science of makeup and costume and various looks throughout the years. He looks a bit less like a sometimes controversial rock star and more like a GQ back pages model.

As I write this I am listening to Heaven Upside Down. I do love it. I think he is doing a good job staying weird enough to keep his older fans while sounding modern without turning us off and sounding like a sell out.

Love him or hate him, he has his way of doing things.

I’m still listening Brian.


Those of you who have read my blog recently saw the post about the kids David Bowie Blackstar backpacks. Not to be outdone. you can now pick up some killer Manson schwag. I find this amazing, but he is officially selling fanny packs.

Remember those?

Saw this come up on the merch bar in Spotify. I literally laughed out loud. This is legit. Official Merchandise. No kidding.

He is crafty with the merchandising and style and appeal to various groups, but I’m not sure what group he is going after with this one.

Oh crap, maybe it’s me.


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METZ – Majestic Theater, Madison WI – 9/23/17

To say that the METZ show was amazing would be an unabashed understatement.

I arrived 15 minutes before doors opened, and I was only the 5th person in line. As I talked about in my pre-show post, it’s always a gamble showing up too early, but I wanted to be assured a stage front position. I got it. Surprisingly, at 15 minutes to show time there were only 20 people inside. I counted. I actually went and sat down at one of the tables and made my pre-show post to keep busy until show time. My eventual spot was there, right at stage front, directly in front of the drum kit, which was about a foot from the edge of the stage.

A group of 3 girls came in and headed down front about 5 minutes to show time and I decided that it was time to claim my position. I stood in front of the drum set and put on my “you shall not move me” face.

In the end, even at the height of the show there was respectful room between everyone and it was a calm, but SO digging it, crowd. My wish to be dead center was realized and I was glad I was. All 3 bands were great and METZ SHOULD be experienced up close if you can.

Promptly at 9, the first band came out. FACS.

They are a 3 piece from Chicago. They were awesome. I couldn’t find out much about these guys, but here is a link to their Bandcamp page:

As I said I was at ground zero of the drum kit and it was intense. The band (I hope I have this right!) is Jonathan van Herik (guitar), Noah Leger (drums) and Brian Case (bass) and from the first pound of the drum, I loved it. It was drony, full of bass and the drums were so loud and booming that they airflow actually moved my shirt as I stood there.

After a moment I tried out my panorama feature on my new phone, not really expecting much, but I think it turned out great.

To be fair I couldn’t make out any of the vocals. Not a one. Also to be fair, in the position I stood almost all the speakers are way outside and almost behind you. It didn’t matter. This stuff was great.

There was a giant panel of effects and though van Herik mainly stood in one spot the whole set, his feet and hands were making some incredible sounds… drony like I like and smooth changes and he used the feedback as another instrument. It was cool.

Case was prowling around and doing vocals. He was very into the groove.

The red light was horrible for pictures, but I got a few keepers.

Then there was Noah. He was crushing it through every song. Pounding pounding pounding. It was unbelievably cool being front and center for that.

He was a flurry of arms and when he hit the Sabian cymbals I could feel the air whooshing over me, and the bass drum was beating my heart for me. So damn cool.

Here is van Herik making the noise. He even broke a string at one point and just let it hang and kept on going. It wasn’t so much about individual notes as a reverb build up of rhythms and textures.

They played a short set, but I will be looking for more from them. Well worth checking out for if you see them come to your area. Make sure to check out the Bandcamp page.

Next up was Dasher. They set up quick and got right into it.

Dasher is Kylee Kimbrough (Drums and Vocals), Gary Magilla
(Bass) and Derek McCain (Guitar). Here is their Bandcamp page.

To say that Kylee is intense is right on the mark. At one point froth was dripping from her mouth. I am not kidding. She bashed her mix and match drum set with a fervor that was ferocious. Her vocals and facial expression matched. I couldn’t really make out the words, but again, it didn’t seem that important to the feel of the experience. That’s funny coming from me, a guy who hates when vocals are buried in the mix of any song, but here, with Kylee 2 feet away from me… the words were superfluous. She was like a caged animal. After some of the songs she got up from the drum seat and walked around the stage a bit, like she was shaking off the last song before storming into the next.

The Dasher music was more hard-edged than PACS, but still had a lot of great guitar from Derek. He also used pedals and feedback, and occasionally would put the tuning peg end of the guitar directly on the floor to add another element of sound. It was great.

and unlike PACS he was very animated while playing and used his space well. Getting up close to the speakers to ramp up the feedback to a chorus of cacophony. Then there was Gary on the bass with flying fingers.

He played not as just a mere backing groove, he was part of the thrust of the music. I barely had any idea what to watch as this show was going on, like if I looked stage left I would miss something stage right.  It was that good.

At the end of the last song of their set Kylee went nuts and started kicking over the cymbal stands in a Who-ish fashion and threw down her drumsticks.

That signaled the end.

One of the drum sticks careened off into the crowd right next to me and landed at the feet of a guy in the crowd who I could see mentally debating if he would bend down and pick it up. He eventually did. I would have dived for it like a home run baseball at a World Series. I am just that musically nerdy.

As it turns out, my impression that the guy was not impressed with a drumstick that Kylee has abused for 6 straight songs, was true. As METZ played he moved up to the stage and set the drumstick down, then walked away and left it after the show. I snagged it.

It IS beaten up. For sure.

I also got a set list. Dalton would be proud.

Dasher was equal parts screamo punk and straight ahead rock. I’m curious to hear it with vocals. I need to check out the album.

As the stage was being changed over, Otis, who came with Amy, joined me at stage front.

I took this shot after the band had started. You can see the gleam in our eyes.

METZ started and I was instantly mesmerized by the intensity, and the sound and power.

METZ is Alex Edkins (guitar, vocals), Hayden Menzies (drums), and Chris Slorach (bass).

My history with METZ is literally by chance. 2 Years ago on Record Store day I entered a drawing and won my pick from a list of new records. I checked them all out on Spotify and some were okay, some not, but when I got to METZ… I was blown away. It was the METZ second album. I loved it. So the chance to see them live was not to be missed. I had no idea it would be SO awesome.

This panorama shot didn’t come out as good as the others, but I had to include it simply because of Otis’s face. We were already blissed out by this point. In some ways I don’t even know where to begin to describe the show. It was SO intense and got to me so deeply that I am having a hard time finding the words. Melodramatic perhaps, but day after show I am still having goosebumps. Here are some pics of the guys.

It wasn’t easy to get a good clear shot of Hayden. He was usually just a blur.

The music was primal. It had elements of drone with hard-driving thudding bass lines. Each instrument was essential. All three are intertwined perfectly. It was the closest I have been in a long long time to just closing my eyes and simply moving to the sound. Otis was close to pogoing and was surprised there wasn’t a mosh pit going on.

There were vocals, but I couldn’t make them out much. Again, this was not really important. The music was connecting with me at a much more guttural level. It was ALL feel for me. Booming, droning, changes by Chris were hypnotizing.

Every song was incredible.

The crowd, though animated was mostly head bobbing or dancing where they stood, feeling it like me. We were all under their spell.

These guys were tearing it up non-stop.

The whole set was a short burst of balls to the wall intensity that was truly an awesome experience that I was ecstatic to have been able to be down front for. This show will stay in my top 5 for a long long time.

Alex wrung it all out on that guitar. He gave it all and beyond.

The set was short sadly, and we wanted them to come back out, but it was not to be. It took a few minutes and the house lights to come up before we grudgingly walked away from the magic spot at stage front.

Thanks guys. You brought it.

I hit the merch table on the way out to pick up the first album

and the new album “Strange Peace”

This is the Loser Edition. First run colored vinyl!

This was an amazing show. Have I made that clear? Amazing.

Thank you METZ, Dahser and PACS.

Thank you Majestic.

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METZ Preshow 9/23/17

Waiting for METZ. 

Was here at doors open and waiting patiently. 

To show up early is always a gamble and I have learned the hard way about waiting, but for this show I wanted to be down front.

It’s 15 minutes to show time and no one is on the floor.

At least my spot is still open. Lol

Hope that means that tonight will be intimate.

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Take Your Protein Pills And Put Your Backpack On…

I was on Amazon today getting a decal for my car. It needs a little something to set it apart from the other silver sedans in the parking lot. I have already stood next to someone else’s car at least twice not understanding why the handle button is not unlocking the door.

So something on the back window for identification purposes will be just then thing.

I ordered a Bowie decal, which I will show in a later blog once I have it on…


while I was on Amazon I came across this:

I am a bit stunned. Of course, I fully acknowledge the rights in this world for folks to make money, and I have seen a lot of cashing in on Bowie merchandise, hell, I made the star letters as vinyl cutouts to sell, but I find this one comical.

Is this the kind of backpack little girls want to wear these days? What happened to Hello Kitty and My Little Pony? I just don’t get the demographic for this. Is it for parents to buy for their kids who won’t understand or appreciate the significance, or are there very young girl Bowie fans who really dug his Blackstar album? It really spoke to them in a way that they really want to emblazoned it on their backpack? Be that kid in school? I mean it is marketed as a kid’s backpack. It’s a bit boggling.

Per the description in the ad: Small Size For Kids Under 6 Years Old

Don’t fret little dudes. It also comes in blue.

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom

Take your protein pills and put your helmet backpack on.

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The Miracle Of Plastic (Vinyl Actually)

There are many ways to damage your records.

Leave them in your car when you run in to hang out with a friend, warping your copy of Blondie “Eat To The Beat”.

Lazily refuse to put the albums back in the sleeves and just lean them up against the stereo rack and then have your high school text-book and Trapper Keeper fall into your exposed copy of Led Zeppelin’s “In Through The Out Door”.

Have the breeze from the open window blow the dust cover down while your Beatles “Magical Mystery Tour” album is playing and listen as the tone arm bounces and scratches its way across side 2.

There are many other ways, but these and a few others are the ones etched into my brain. My “Police – Regatta De Blanc” fell victim to misuse and forever had a skip in the song “Deathwish” forever.

So I learned.

However, there are always accidents, and recently I had one.

I needed to do some work in the basement, and as everything is better with music, I decided to throw on the first record I thought of, which happened to be “Adam Ant – Strip”. I had listened to that non-stop when I was working in the music room as I was finishing it out.

I pulled the record from the shelf, opened the record player and pulled the record out of the sleeve. It so happened that I pulled it out with Side 2 facing up. My favorite side is side one. So I flipped it.

With my index fingers on the edge of the record I spun it in order to turn it over to side one… unfortunately, it slipped from my fingers and fell.

In slow motion I saw it fall and bounce off of the tone arm of the open record player tray, then slide across it into my hands.

I stood frozen for a moment.

I can’t believe I did that!

I turned over the record and could see right away a huge scratch.

I was a bit devastated.

I got this record only a few years ago, but it really found a place in my catalog and due to its continual spins in the music room set-up, it is a Mike classic. I immediately considered the necessity to replace it.

The cover and back cover are ridiculous

but I NEED this album.

I decided to take it upstairs and survey the audio damage.

Much to my surprise, I really heard no damage at all. It was unbelievable. The look of the scratch is horrible. If I were looking at this record in the store I would pass on it. Yet it was imperceptible. You just never know. I have had records that looked mint that have skipped and been unrepairable, and this baby is gauged and still plays great.


Thank goodness for the miracle of plastic, or in this case vinyl.

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DUDE ! Synchronicity is REAL

I speak about synchronicity all the time.

You know when you think of a song and then hear it later that day. It happens to me with a scary frequency and I know it’s a thing.

It happened again, and this time with an image. Not exactly a perfect match, but I think you will clearly see the synchronicity in it.

Several posts ago I did a review of the newest Nine Inch Nails EP and stated how much I did not like the cover. A drab rehash of another cover.

Then I took a photo that reminded me of NIN and Trent. Here it is again.

Then I found out that Nine Inch Nails has a NEW release. Another EP called “Add Violence” coming out soon!

Now, look at my photo above and then check out the cover below:

COME ON! Sure, not an exact match, but…

can you deny that the images are similar? Switches and knobs. Lights and labels.

I holding up an imaginary hand for a high-five here!

Come on. Give it to me!

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