What happened when Marilyn Manson came to Sydney?

Marilyn Manson is playing a theatre in Sydney. It would be rude not to go, right?

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As we sit at the harbour in Sydney and enjoy the Australian sunshine over a margarita, the heavens suddenly open and ruin the lives of those of us who left the hotel in shorts and a t-shirt. Why the sudden shift in climate? Well, something menacing is coming to town…

Outside the Enmore Theatre the Australian goth contingent have gathered en masse to show their devotion to the Pale Emperor, the God Of Fuck, the Antichrist Superstar – Marilyn fucking Manson. And while he may no longer send the media into a blind panic with his shock tactics, if Double M is on form he’s virtually untouchable.

But who goes to Manson shows in 2015? Is he still the voice of the disaffected youth or has he outstayed his welcome? Well judging by the hundreds of people gathered outside, and even more in the theatre, he’s still revered and worshipped by goths, metalheads and rockers from around the world. However, it must be noted that as of late Manson’s live show hasn’t lived up to expectations. Late arrivals, early finishes, and a nonplussed approach have left bitter tastes in the mouths of his fans for the past ten years – then something happened.

Stories have been circulating across the web from media and fans alike that Marilyn Manson is back in the game and ready to stir shit up once more. This has to be seen to be believed, and at 9:35pm we stand and bear witness to the industrial shock artist.

What bolsters anticipation for tonight is that Manson’s latest album The Pale Emperor is by far his best work in a decade. Filled with melancholic anthems and the raw emotion we loved from MM’s heyday, there’s more here than just a greatest hits set – and with nine albums under his belt, there are many.

Opener Deep Six shakes the room from floorboards to rafters as the (rather impressive) soundsystem takes a pummelling and the stage show is set into turbodrive with strobes, smoke and steam everywhere. You’d think the crowd down front would be losing their minds, but it’s a sea of smartphones filming their idol returning to claim his throne as the best showman in metal. And that’s the devotion Manson and his band have garnered in their 25-year history. Sydney is awash with black t-shirts, black hair and black make-up thanks to this man and the voice he gave to the voiceless. Chances are if you’re aged 25-30 you grew up listening to his bitter social commentaries that fuelled your teenage angst, and despite being older and wiser now, we defy you not to regress to that formative period when Disposable Teens drops into mOBSCENE.

It’s a set of newbies, golden and grotesque oldies and even the odd cover in the form of Sweet Dreams and Personal Jesus – complete with rally-esque banners emblazoned with the double cross. While the show itself perhaps isn’t as theatrical as, say, Slipknot, all Manson needs is some smoke and lights to for complete immersion into his twisted world. The odd costume change gives the night a narrative as his revolving wardrobe provides for than enough leather and even different mics in the shape of knives and knuckledusters.

In short, tonight is a milestone for Manson and his fans. Not only has he delivered the goods in inimitable fashion, but it has more than made up for the broken promises of the last decade – so much so, one crazed fan stormed the stage to try and get up close with the evil genius.

Closing on the double-whammy of Beautiful People and Irresponsible Hate Anthem, the Aussie crowd are buzzing as they swarm out into the night with make-up streaming down their faces and sweat drenching their Jesus Is A Cunt t-shirt (yes, we saw one!). The God Of Fuck is back and thank fucking god for that.

GALLERY: The Goths Of Sydney

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.