Marilyn Manson: Osaka Castle Hall

The God Of Fuck shouts a lot to little effect...

God Of Fuck, king of the set-piece; Marilyn Manson dresses as a bishop, screams himself hoarse from Satan's red carpeted pulpit, dons a patent leather military cap while gyrating on a rostrum, and struts the stage in 6ft calipers. The props are wheeled on like objects of dubiously legality at a sex fair and the gallons of face paint are a fitting tribute to Barbara Cartland, but tonight is no love story. This is a hate-filled circus of theatrical horror.

Of course, in all horror there is beauty, and between the driving thuds of shapeless noise that underpin much of the set are some of the most energising glam stomps in recent pop memory. Brooding, angry, dark but undeniably listenable, 'The Beautiful People' and 'Disposable Teens' tonight justify their place as anthems for disaffected youth, while 'Rock Is Dead' gives us an insight into why kids across the planet want to emulate him. Dangerous, yes, but thrillingly so: lights flash and guitars crash, as Manson marches around in black platform boots. Who wouldn't want to look down from the dizzy height of Brian On Stilts - even if you did have to wear a corset?

Sometimes the magic wears off - for all the dizzy highs of 'Dope Show'-type glamorama, there are plunging lows celebrating Manson's love of the noisy dirge, and - crucially, crushingly - these lows outnumber the generational flag songs. You can thrust your cod-piece all you like, but in the cold light of Osaka you can't hide the limiting fact that without the context of reactionary America it's hard to imagine Manson attracting quite so much attention.

Away from the controlled imagery of MTV cinematography and too distant from the crowd to exploit his kooky contact lenses, Manson's subversive powers are somewhat diminished. Is there kryptonite onstage? One thing's for certain - the Antichrist most certainly isn't. He's not even out collecting souls. He's sitting at the back, eating popcorn and requesting something he knows.

Bryan Scruby

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