By Keeyahtay Lewis
This year there has been much talk about the Twins of Evil tour- two of the “evilest” men in rock touring together: Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. I had never seen either play, so I was stoked to check them out. Manson was opening the date in Camden. There was a large black curtain in front of the stage that remained up even as the music started. Finally the curtain dropped and revealed the stage. Darkness, crazy lights, inverted crosses- exactly what you would expect. Manson emerged from the shadows while his band played one of their new songs, “Hey Cruel World” off of Born Villain. The song is classic MM, soft and loud at the same time, with that voice you can’t confuse for anyone else.
Manson isn’t exactly as wiry as he is in my brain, he shows a bit of that age, but he still looks like what you would expect. He came out wearing all black with some kind of google/mask situation covering most of his face. Every person was on their feet loving every second of it. He changed microphones often: at one point having a huge knife attached, then a flashlight, and more I couldn’t really see from my seat.
They ran through most of the songs you would expect them to play; “Disposable Teens,” “mOBSCENE,” “The Dope Show,” “Personal Jesus,” “Coma White”… the stage was incredible and constantly changing. Manson himself would often change outfits and masks. At one point came out on a pulpit. Another time in a pope outfit. Here is the thing though, it all felt a little…off to me. He just seemed tired. At one point he said, “in all the reviews put in parentheses that Manson fell over drunk. And I am motherfuckers.” When he said that, it made more sense. It felt off but apparently it was because he was wasted. Talking between songs wasn’t garbled. At one point he said, “Can you hear the words coming out of my mouth.” The answer was no, not really.
“Sweet Dreams” was a definite highlight, and it was pretty cool. A single bulb dropped down from the ceiling. He sang into it at times, and other times swung it out over the crowd. Dramatic. He ended with “The Beautiful People” and for a few minutes, he felt mostly on his game.
Rob Zombie was up next, another huge curtain was hanging from the ceiling. But this time when the sheet dropped a fire breathing robot was on the other side. Awesome. His band was already ripping into Jesus Frankenstein and he came out looking like a cast member from Mad Max. Tall hat, long robes, long dreads, mask covering his face and skeleton arms extending off of his own arms. His microphone stand was a huge skeleton.
The energy was immediately so different. Rob Zombie is an animal on stage. Never staying in one place for long, running from platform to platform. Head banging while dust literally flew off of his hair. And the fire. I love shows with fire, and they made great use of it. “Superbeast,” “Meet The Creeper,” and the hit “Living Dead Girl” were up next. His background was huge LED screens that showed old horror movies and anime porn.
At various times huge robots came out and danced on stage with the band. Another time it looked like he was riding in one. He spent a lot of time talking with the audience, and at one point walked along the barricade holding hands along the way. Rob Zombie does not look or move like a man who has been doing this for 20+ years. His portion of the show was good, and it just seemed like fun.
A personal favorite “More Human Than Human” was next and the place lost their shit collectively. Theme for an Angry Red Planetplayed with LED signs that said “Mars Needs Women” flashed across the stage. “Sick Bubble Gum,” “Scum of the Earth,” “Pussy Liquor” and the White Zombie hit, “Thunder Kiss ’65” were next. The energy never waned and Zombie never stopped moving. The Alice Cooper song “School’s Out” was next, and they finished up with “Dragula,” Rob Zombie’s biggest commercial hit.
Although they call this the Twins of Evil Tour, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson could not have had more different shows. Manson wasn’t nearly as fun, but his fans loved it just the same. Zombie definitely puts on a hellofashow. He brought his love for horror to his show, but never forget to make it fun for everyone. You know what you are getting into when you go see those two perform. I think the biggest surprise for me was how damn good Rob Zombie was. Manson was having a bit of an off night, which happens to everyone. All in all, there was something for everyone there.