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Manson, Murderdolls & Amen Live at the Download Festival, UK

By Tokemaster General, Contributor
Monday, July 14, 2003 @ 7:33 PM


Manson, Murderdolls and Amen L

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REVIEW BY: Danielle Adamson

Imagine a still summer’s day, and you’re floating on a wave of deranged metalistas in an intoxicated haze of the most highly priced booze money can buy. The blessed green fields of this sceptred isle rustle and tinkle with the trashy bric-a-brac of mankind’s finest invention, the marketing machine.

If the Kentucky Derby is for the depraved and corrupt jerk-offs, this is the last exit for the Heaven’s Gate rejects. And they ain’t even clocked a whiff of the self-sustaining sewage pits where’ll they’ll all be paying homage soon enough. The sweaty, pumped-up, new model army of the anti-Christ are stretched out in a semi-riotous column two miles long. Welcome to the Download rockfest 2003. The freak platoons who hit the arena gate before being fried by California-style sun, ran into unfriendly fire from Murder One, in mid-set on the Kerrang! Stage. Sad for the warm-up crew, most didn’t make it due to the brain-dead security gorillas who kept well over half of the crowd penned outside frying to a red crisp. It was the same for Shadows Fall – while Stampin’ Ground and even Funeral for a Friend only checked in small-time with the fans. Luckily, the beer was chillin’ a multitude of sorrows for the hard-core hordes of devil-horners.

All was forgiven as the first big and bloodthirsty crowd-draw hit their deranged chords. As ever, there was no quarter given for the George W junta in Washington DC as the star-mangled banners and angelic bunker-busters backdropped the one and only Amen. Sure, half this half-assed crowd were only there on the rumours of war that stalk theses self-acclaimed Christian criminals. But Amen were in no mood for some Sunday afternoon Holy Book conversion shit, and boy, did those virgins on the front line get to know it.

But there’s always gotta be some dumb-assed bozo trying to steal the show. This time – despite the crescendo chants of anticipatzio – it was the knuckled-headed Download baldy MC yapping marketing bullshit for the event’s mobile phone co-sponsors instead of curvey come-on wordz for de Chaos crew. Chaos never said nutting about no corporate build-up shit. As Amen took to the stage, the frontman had a murderous intent glint in his eye that more than matched the DETOX scrawled across his t-shirt. Now was the time for faint hearts to quit – and as the band powered into “Coma America,” it was clear that there’d be no escape. Sure as hell, Casey didn’t give his lungs – or suffocating devotees – a break as they tore through “Justified,” “Piss Virus” and “Refuse Amen.”

This band have never worried about pressing the self-destruct button – they’ve survived the turmoil of an ongoing beef with record company bosses and year-long crap putting out an album. Casey has been forced to re-build this band from scratch, and now, it seems, nothing can stop him. With a newly signed and long-awaited deal with Sony in the bag, the ringleader of all things chaotic had something to celebrate. And he did it in spades by obliterating his crew’s drum-kit midway through set bringing the satanic verses to an abrupt halt.

The whole deal might have been a set-up, but Casey and co. weren’t taking no prisoners in the ambush that erupted as a field full of charged youths exploded in a banshee scream of ‘Fuck Amen!’ The refrain sounded even more scabrous with each deafening repetition and panicked roadies sweating alligators dicks to fix the drummers kit while guitarist Rich taunted an ever-growing circular pit. (Eat you heart out you Cockney rhyming mothers!)

Then it was time for “Gun of a Preacher Man,” “Mayday” and “The Last Time,” which sparked near mass-hysteria and caused a storm on stage with Chaos running rings round his tour manager who was frantically trying to keep the mike from falling apart using duct tape. And these hell-raisers never gave the gagging throng a second to catch their second wind. The gig virgins lapped up the poison of Amen and howled approval as Casey slung second guitarist Matt to the floor via his throat and began pounding on his chest with his battered mic.

“This is the last time you’ll see us for a long while,” the deranged singer kept gloating to the frenzied pit. “I wanna see this place erupt with violence.”

In a flurry of heaving bodies, sweat, blood and tears, he got what he asked for as the end-of-show Casey coda kicked in with the opening riff of “The Price of Reality.” With no speaker stacks, the crazy frontman clambers like a manic chimp up the stage structure itself as the crowd goes wild.

Prolonging the anthem’s close in a low whisper, Chaos once again big up this anathema deal he’s got burning for that nice Mr Blair and Bush. Suddenly, it seems he’s triggered an instant response from the axis of weevils, as his macabre incantations are doorstepped by a landing plane flying low over the concert field. That guy God sure moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to unfold.

Then comes the punishment from on high, as Casey drops the mic and starts to scramble back down – only to be rescued again by his tour honcho whose gonna need some serious heart surgery . And as always, ignoring the rules of gravity, Casey goes for highest spot from which to launch his dying swan finale which sure as hell is one day going to sink his ass right off this planet. Meanwhile, the usual suspects in this saga of a death foretold are warming up to the song’s climax in a crazy counterpoint to the Amen path of destruction. Rolling his eyes – to the Good Lord above? – the daring front man without a flying trapeze and no safety net, hurtles on to the stage in a bone-crunching crash. And yet again, it’s the stage, not frontman, that suffers some serious damage as the band wreck their equipment, including speakers and drum-kit, which they allow to be swallowed by the crowd.

Then it’s exit stage right to boost the bottom line of Hilly-Billy moonshiners like Jack Daniels – in the drunken hope the whole of the UK will be just begging to have our asses kicked all over again next year. Roll on!

Murder seemed to be in the air this filthy afternoon. As the festival syndrome overcame the unprepared few who’d ended up in the first aid tent dazed and confused like the teenage zombies that they are, five Murderdolls hit the stage and were shredding their way through the likes of “Twist My Sister” and “People Hate Me.” With a ghastly mob of drenched fans dressed to depress, they work themselves into a human blender.

The sticks player’s double drumkit was punching Tiger Mike style, and coupled with dreadlocked vocalist Wednesday’s stage antics, the ‘Dolls would have scared a horror film to death. As the cameras zoomed close-ups of the No. 13’s ghoulish white face, it was like watchin’ the Evil Dead back from the dead.

The set was awash with a mix of sarcasm and charisma as the frontman worked the crowd, and soon a mass of red and black braceleted hands were at his mercy. JEEESUS, what a creep!

“A couple of weeks ago I was playin’ the Underworld, now I’m in a field with you freaks….” he intones. JEEESUS, prophetic stuff! Who needs 24/7 breaking news? /p> Okay, so what the fuck’s dis guy trying to pull? We know Download ain’t no goddam London club, but, but if yooz can’t come up with something better than that, hire a scriptwriter fer fuck’s sake! Nennycase, Camden’s Underworld is summat else, lame brain!

Luckily, frontman’s crew pass up on the dickhead speechifying and giv uz what we want – a goddamn riot. Murderdolls pozitivly power through “Love at First Fright,” “Slit My Wrist” and “Dead in Hollywood” as guitarist Joey pulls some tricks on his strings, spinning and catching the instrument around his body with precision timing that allows him to nail the next riff spot on. East you heart out, Eric Clapton.

As fer yooz rock-teen, backstabbin, slutmag weeklies who dissed the Slipknot drummer on this feat – burn yer motherfuckin, life-lovin editor in oil, you bozos! Fingerlickin’ genius wasn’t dee only thung in the grave-robbers’ bag. This became clear when Wednesday pulled a mega-sized pistol on the fans before turning the shooter on himself for “Die my Bride.”

They brought the set to a close with a giant toothbrush for a paranoid teeth-cleanfest as the band danced into “Motherfucker I Don’t Care.” Amid the echoes of the last chords, they tossed down their instruments and sauntered off stage leaving a drained British fan base half dead and craving more.

The sun-fried debauchery and the beer guzzling frenzy of this typical festival was liberally spiced with JD and coke – and discarded garbage that made for a real nice trash carpet clean across the field to the signing tent. That’s where Chaos and co. were signing on for getting “all you cunts drunk,” as the blast from two separate stages floated through the air making for a deceptive pause for fallen slumbering into that they dreamt was a wind down.

But all the while somewhere backstage nothing short of a small storm was brewing, designed to bring us all kickin’ and screaming into The Golden Age.

A crowd had gathered around the main stage that was completely hidden by a large black curtain, which several sweat-dripping roadies were desperately trying to hold down. But a divine wind suddenly swept across the arena and the funeral drape all but blew away revealing a stage set up that blew Manson fans’ minds away.

It was a dead ringer for a requiem procession with giant midnight blue archways you’d swear cast a spectral glow on the backdrop. It lined a staircase of pearl white steps connected at either side to a platform like podium, in front of which stood two white drums decorated with black flames. The double ‘M’ symbol punctuating the set looked menacingly like a disfigured swastika.

Welkommen, to the Grotesque Burlesque.

The five-piece crew, complete with new bassist Tim Skold, bounce on stage like Third Reich stormtroopers. Those weren’t the only dirty words that this ungodly group brought to mind on an epic afternoon. But after all, it’s a depraved new world and we’ll say what we like.

“This is the New Shit” was the first song playing on most people’s lips, and Mr. Manson ever the spotlight whore, immediately skipped into an extravagant fandango, a farrago of new shit crashing down on holy wood with power and style. Manson’s bravura shrunken violet shit was deliciously upstaged by two amazingly dressed, dancers grotesquely made up as dead marionettes, half their faces painted deathly white, the other half as if the bloodily scarred victims of some brutal attack. The impact was fantastic and with them beating on the drums in time as if to a military march, it was clear Manson had made the decision that war would surely come. And war did come, to the pit at least, the savagery heightened as the band revelled in the likes of “Use Your Fist and Not Your Mouth,” “Great Big White World” and “Rock is Dead.”

As if in a satanic pantomime, set, scenery and costumes were of a dark impressionism of red, black and flesh. The mangled marionettes skipped a provocative pavane across the podiums, keyboardist Madonna got creatively more unhinged as his hands swung a demonic dance on the keys, player and board perched precariously on a spring support, while “Herr Doktor” himself swapped toppers between songs like the Mad Hatter on speed. This was a seriously mean band taking a chainsaw to their art, and making a mockery of Download scumbag host monster, Kerrang! who slagged Manson’s display as merely going through the motions. These fuckhacks must have been grunting off in front of a TV screen as they got pissed in the VIP tent. No big surprise you grubstreeters! You couldn’t have been up close and personal.

The stage set was as full as it could have been on a festival day and the band didn’t simply recreate Berlin’s decadent days of cabaret, they fucking metamorphosed into it.

A visually exciting performance of “mOBSCENE” was the perfect crowd kicker and with the song title up in lights behind the raunchy dancers. Coupled with “Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag,” it was easy to see that this new album and its carnival like shows will be up for a gabfest right now, and that Manson does indeed have several tricks that are gonna make you click. His interaction with the crowd may have been minimal, but did they hang on his every goddamn word. Now he’s cut the spiel, he’s sure to have the killjoy squad latching their hypocritical claws on to him like leeches all over again

As his band conjured up some haunting classical circus sounds and the dancers kitted out in naked-look cozzies positioned themselves on the podiums once more, Marilyn produced a bottle of champagne and began repeating the mantra: “Stop rehearsing alcohol and start performing narcotics, stop rehearsing alcohol and start performing narcotics….” And with that, he cracked open the bubbly, took a swig, spat it out and thundered into “The Golden Age of Grotesque.”

Later, the anti-Christ had a question: “Do animals believe in God?” which he fired at his bemused fans several times before giving them the classic that is “The Dope Show” and then “Tainted Love.” If these are his last words to the generation who’ve grown up with his band, he’s also pulled off a clever trick on the dumb-mother critics.

Despite a few minor sound problems, Marilyn and his newly uniformed band with their blonde hair and black attire looking like a twisted pure race hit squad led by an extrovert ringmaster hungry for downloadable suicide, conquered Download with ease. And the home run wouldn’t have been complete without a superb rendition of “The Beautiful People,” which had the voices of thousands echoing its words around Donnington, fists in the air like a 1930s Nuremburg rally.

Manson had made his point and we had been bigged-up entertained. There was nothing left to do but take a deep breath and die in bewilderment at reaching the end of history.



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