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Concerts Reviews

EsOterica, Marilyn Manson: 15 December 2009

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Live Act(s): EsOterica, Marilyn Manson
Event Date: 15 December 2009
Type of Event: Big Stage Concert
Venue: O2 Academy
Rated: *****
A concert is not only a cultural or a commercial event. It is also a social event. And gigs of Marilyn Manson tend to attract a whole variety of people.
Before I could access the ticket office and get my press pass I had to walk through a group of 20-30 Christian-oriented demonstrates who protested against Manson’s concert. You would expect those guys to turn up in Texas or Iran, but not in West Europe. Is there no greater evil than Marilyn to demonstrate against? Judging by their slogans those guys were had a very confused idea about the gothic/metal scene and the content of the songs that were to be played that night. Why some Christians and Muslims just cannot let others live their lives like they wish, as long as it complies with the laws of the country? Other religious groups are capable of that.
The support act Esoterica hit the stage just on time. It is not always fun to be a support act. Sometimes they are simply ignored and the audience just doesn’t turn up to see them. Sometimes they are welcomed with cold politeness and lame applause. Sometimes, and I wish it was rarely, they get to feel they are not welcome. But none of the above was the case with Esoterica rocking the house in Glasgow. Especially the younger audience was very responding and celebrated the nu metal/emo artists. Esoterica is a very young act, but their professionalism performing live is rather remarkable. Tobias was not only singing well, he also knew how to communicate with the audience and enliven those in the crowd who were less enthusiastic than the others.
After "Life is Lonely" (so very true) Tobias introduced the band which was followed by a solid performance of "Silence". This song is played in metal/emo clubs on the continent same as in the UK. "Watch this Drive" criticizes the Bush’s war in Iraq and what came out of it. It was followed by "Tomorrow I won’t remember" and "Don’t rely on anyone" closed their 40 minute performance.
A black curtain was hung over the stage. After all preparations for the headliner’s show were done an obscure intro-music filled the venue. One red projector was pointed up the black certain. The hall was filled with smoke. The tension rose.
Here I have to say a few words about the crowd. Except for the expected massive presence of younger emos, goths and metal heads who were optically the most interesting, there were many older people dressed nothing like gothic. An interesting exemplar was a guy dressed like the pope. Appreciate the joke. The funniest thing is that nobody removed his large hat that blocked the view to the spectators behind. On the balcony next to mine there was a father (?) with his son younger than 13 to my estimation. If Esoterica/ Marilyn Manson is one of his first concerts, there is no telling where he’ll be by the age of just 18.
Marilyn and co. opened the show with "This is Evolution". Lasers attached to the frontman’s fingers piercing the dark and the smoke. The crowd responded immediately. The second song on the set was an old hit "Dispensable Teens" and was followed by "Pretty as Swastika" from the new album "The High End of Low".
Twiggy Ramirez re-joined the band for this album. His contribution to the live sound is nothing less than enforcing. It must be mentioned that his appearance on stage has changed a lot since the "Antichrist Superstar" era. No traces of make-up were to spot on Twiggy’s face and his clothes were rather casual for (leather jacket and jeans), but it did the concert no harm. Music is not about what you put on your body.
More older material followed: "Guns, God, Government" and "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" before the band moved to the newest songs.
"Four Rusted Horses" with the line "Everyone will come to my funeral" was performed with a real feeling. "Devour" is another of truly personal new songs masterfully played on that concert.
"Coma White" just had to be there. Performed more in-your-face than on the CD, to my opinion. Marilyn snorted some white powder on the stage. No idea what it was. And "The Dope Show" blew the venue away and was followed by another classic from the "Mechanical Animals" album, "Rock is Dead". The way it sounded to me rock is anything but dead!
The band rounded up the show with "Sweet Dreams" and the explosive "From America". Unfortunately, no encore was played, but still it was almost 90 minutes of a great concert.
The visual side was perhaps more down to earth and less extravagant than in the tours of 1998 -2003 but the ability to excite the crowd and offer one of the best live performances of the darker scene is undisputable there.


System: FX, Grendel: 9 December 2009

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Live Act(s): System: FX, Grendel
Event Date: 9 December 2009
Type of Event: Small Club Concert
Venue: Classic Grand
Rated: *****
By the time I got to Classic Grand club System: FX, the second support act, were already on stage. Their performance started smoothly and the English quartet overtly enjoyed playing for the Glasgow crowd. Glaswegians are known to be a warm, responding audience and they let the guests from the south feel very welcomed. The EBM beats pierced the air while the sound was truly good. Apart of some minor technical problems that did the party-vibe no harm the concert was successful.
System: FX finished the performance with "Total War" and the audience sang the chorus along: "We want total war". No need to take these words seriously. The band is no bunch of blood thirsty militarists. I guess they sing it to entertain the audience that likes it while having no clue about what a war is like.
The main act Grendel hit the stage shortly after 10pm. The live line of one live keyboardist in 2004 has got fortification by a live drummer which made the sound richer and less of a karaoke-like. [VLRK] led his men into the cyber battle waving his war banners high. The 70-80 people in the club joined the leader [VLRK] in this celebration of EBM-industrial. The set successfully combined Grendel’s classics with and the new material from the recent EP "Grendel: Forces" which was also very appealing to Glaswegians.
"Harsh Generation", "Void Malign", "Dirty", "New Flesh", "Soilbleed", "Pax Psychosis", "End of Ages" and others were all there, not necessarily in this running order. There were no technical hitches and the whole performance was very energetic and swept the audience away. Being through with the set VLRK introduced his partners in crime [M4RC] and [S42H], but instead of having some well earned rest they were called out to play encore. The show ended with "Zombie". Unbelievable, but this song is played in very mainstream clubs of Glasgow while the average chart music fans dance their behinds to the mighty tunes of "Zombie". They could’ve played another encore, I believe, but there’re only good things to say about Grendel’s live ability. The fans I talked to after the concert share this opinion completely.
There was an after-party on the lower floor afterwards. The whole party night was more or less through by the midnight which makes sense taking in account that most people had to go to work the very next day.



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