Electric Factory, Philadelphia, PA., 11/16/00.
Part 2 of 2: "Besides that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"
Started the day off right by scaring the be-jesus out of an innocent motel maid. I had completely forgotten we were staying at Motel 6 rather than the Red Roof Inn, and just happened to be wearing my treasured "Motel 666" list shirt (1) when she knocked. Poor woman looked as if she'd uncovered some horrific cult; probably brought a crucifix when she came by to clean our room on Friday...
ANYway. After some car repair we head for the venue. Find only a few ahead of us and decide to get lunch at the wonderful
Silk City Diner a few blocks away. (Free plug: it's at 5th St and Spring Garden, about three blocks from the Electric
Factory. Great cheap food, friendly vibe, and it's easily and safely reached on foot. I recommend it to anyone waiting
in a day-long line at the Factory who needs a break or a quick caffeine fix. En route you'll also have a chance to admire the lovely Art Nouveau entryway of a club called Transit, done in lavish faux-Paris-Metro style, twined cobras and all.)
Back in line we relax, there's no wind today and it's not nearly so cold. We take a lesson from last night and split the line girls/boys early. (But not before being entertained by Mike/Flagboy's enthusiastic read-aloud of a wrestling magazine.=) Coyote's feeling a bit ill due to last night's helping of sloth sausage; we repair back to the diner for a bit...
And again back in the slowly-growing line. Night falls with purple skies. A tall ladder goes up to the signboard and it's altered to inform us that tonight's opening act is called Burning Brides. Say who? Though presumably a local band they're unheard of by the locals, who ask us if we've heard of 'em. This can't be good. ---O happy day: Marc/Rooster and Amelia arrive. Always IMHO one of the most perceptive and intuitive of Manson fans, Marc was gone for awhile, but is back just in time to help with the decoding of this complicated project; his timing couldn't be better. I'm so glad to see him =).--We chat and I do my best to update him without giving away too much.
They decide to see the show from the pit if they can. We were thinking of going there ourselves this time, but with coyote not feeling her best we figure we'll stay upstairs again.
And that's where we go, right side tonight. Nice view. More "White Album". ..
Burning Brides are DIRE, all stale old riffs and overblown attitude. Recited intros to almost every song and moves straight outa My Little Golden Book of 100 Guitar Stud Poses (playing behind your back? I mean, how 1975 is that?). Even having a cute girl bassist can't warm the crowd to this lot, and it doesn't. The kids snore and the singer gets surly. I'm braiding my hair. Go away, guys, better luck next time.
But Godhead is well received, which is nice to see. I'm getting to like these guys a lot. (and I've finally got singer Jason's lookalike brother's name - it's Michael. The bleached-out Robin clone is James and the drummer goes by The Method....) Same set as last night, but we can see them a bit better, and they're even more fun to watch. They make a nice complement to Manson's mega-theatrics - a strong visual band whose visuals are all in themselves, no more props than a little canned smoke. And their sound really grows on you. The first MM opening band in years that I actually wish played a longer set! - hope they'll tour when the album comes out next year.
And the white curtain drops, the shadows flicker, the white curtain rises...
(I still can't hear the whole psalm. Will keep trying. )
Show's much the same. We can finally see Manson's whole eye makeup: the red flamelike lines above look pretty enough but they connect to solid-red eyelids, looking, when his eyes are closed, unnervingly like bloody sockets ("before authorities take out my eyes"?) Great stilt bit with Manson, while lurking over Twiggy, raising one arm crutch and slowly levelly swinging it in a neat lateral pass - swoosh - right over his head, close enough to move his hair but with perfect control coming no closer, like William Tell shooting an apple off yr hat. Twig doesn't even look up. Same thing with John 5, who's just as unconcerned. Must be some kind of trust thing =)
J5 and Twig are THE most fun to watch, bounding and galloping in circles, and J5 boings around in amazing high bounces like he's springloaded (we reckon they're toon boots). And there's fan backlash against last night's sign-toting bozo: someone right below me is waving a sign that says in big letters "JOHN 5 ROCKS!"
The "it's just us and you, to hell with everything else" speech is a bit shorter - no election stuff - but a lot funnier: "Fuck voting! Fuck college funds and retirement! Fuck nature! Fuck breakfast! -oh yeah, and fuck the police too..." (Can't help but wonder if maybe coyote wasn't the only victim of Denny's evil sausage.=)
Last night "Lunchbox" was drawn out into a singalong with Manson getting the right side, left side, then the middle to yell about how they want to grow up to be big rocknroll stars; tonight it's extended even further, till I wonder whether he's just tired and coasting, or proving that people will shout anything they're told to (as if "fuck breakfast" didn't do that =). Can't put my finger on it, but the show doesn't seem to be feeding him much of what he needs, though the crowd is pretty rowdy (poor Marc and Amelia didn't last much past "Tourniquet" in the pit) and obligingly responds whenever asked. Or is it me? I'm dead-tired, there just doesn't seem to be much energy feed from the show, for some reason...
The show teeters on the edge when his mike conks out early in "Valentine's Day": he hurls it off stage left and we hold our breath but there's another one foresightedly parked in front of the altar and he hastily crawls through, bishop's rig and all, to grab it and carry on. Whew. (We can also see that the "blood/filth" bowl - chocolate syrup? motor oil? - is down by the altar and the burst of strobe lights after the song is there so he can splatter himself with it before the altar is whisked away and the pulpit trucked out. Take note: Split-second timing is as important with B-movie special effects as it is with big-deal lighting and DAT cues.)
The encore this time isn't APOTET but a bone-scalding "1996" that wipes the fatigue in a flash. Pogo hammers the keys like a post-apocalyptic Jerry Lee Lewis and J5 finally wins my heart with a guitar performance of pure unbottled napalm - I mean he just dug in and ripped that baby. Goddamn, wow! One second I'm hanging exhausted on the rail and the next I'm yanked up by the scruff and howling my head off, this is just that good. [All I can think of is the bonehead with the sign last night and imagine J5 saying down inside himself, I suck, huh? we'll just see about that.]
--Whew! You think you've heard this song played live? Just you cross yr fingers and hope you get this encore at your show.
--Manson gets as far as "-and anti-me" before letting fly with the mike stand and trashing the ring of decoy drums that are set up to spare Ginger's real kit. Drumheads tumble everywhere, and Mari swings a few kicks at them before staggering off.
And I'm finally awake, wide awake; this is the first time in the show I've felt that old adrenal breathless rush, I'm up, I'm ready to go another half-hour at least, and it's the encore.......
...maybe I'm coming down with something...
Afterward Marc, Amelia and I talk it over. Marc's getting the death vibe too. Suspects Manson feels that he's painted himself into a corner [I'm paraphrasing; he didn't say this exactly] and doesn't know what more he can do. Everything he hoped would change the world didn't, the revolution didn't and won't happen, people don't change - they'll still yell, as noted, whatever you tell them to; and, for whatever good or bad ends, Manson himself is now a product, the answer to trivia questions, a household word. He can't just walk away from it all, but he's known to despise suicide, and maybe the only way out that he can see is to have someone take him out. We talk awhile about the possible results, the sentimentalization and trivialization of death icons like JFK and Di, and Obi-Wan Kenobi calmly lowering his lightsaber in the face of certain doom...if you strike me down now I will become more powerful than you can imagine....
We don't know yet; need more data. Anyway it's time to go. We say all our goodnights (Rudy is still bouncing irrepressibly over having finally heard "1996" played live by a good guitarist!) and head for our cars.
And I take my life in my hands with a sloth sausage omelet. Hell, it's my life.
Setlist for these shows: (underlined songs are new)
Irresponsible Hate Anthem
Great Big White World
Rock Is Dead
Cruci-fiction in Space
Encore 9/15: Astonishing Panorama of the End Times
Encore 9/16: 1996
(1)--The "Motel 666 Welcomes Spooky Kids to Dayton" design was a limited edition t-shirt done by DarkeOne (Jay Hawkinson) for the Valentine's Day 1997 MM show in Dayton, Ohio, USA. This show was already famous as the one where, via time travel, "Irresponsible Hate Anthem" had been/would be recorded for the 1996 "Antichrist Superstar" album; so, once it was actually scheduled, there arose a great desire to get as many list members, fans and friends there as possible. (So we could all be on the album, you see. =) It ended up as the mightiest gathering of the clan to date, drawing spooks from many states and as far away as Canada. As this wave of "I'll be there!" enthusiasm mounted, Jay decided a special commemorative shirt was in order, and worked like a lunatic to get them printed, sold, and shipped out in time to be actually worn at the show. The result was spectacular: the frontline barricade at the show was a near-solid wall of Motel 666 shirts. The Spookykids List's finest moment, it ensured this shirt would remain treasured by all the few (about 150) who own one.
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...go on to the next night.