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CONCERT PREVIEW
Selected by Dan Grunebaum

Marilyn Manson

Creativeman

Viewed with a sense of humor, shock rock group Marilyn Manson do a pretty good update of the old Alice Cooper guts ' gore schtick. But taken seriously, Manson's ghoulish, self-absorbed posturing can be painful to watch. Whichever, the group will be returning to Japan in their current "God, Guns and Government" tour that will take them to Tokyo for two dates at the spacious and modern, if somewhat sterile, Tokyo Bay NK Hall.

Formed in 1989 with the "intention of exploring the limits of censorship," Marilyn Manson's shock tactics have always seemed a bit tame, especially when compared with the truly offensive antics of fringe elements of the punk scene. But despite the cliched aspects of their mischief-making (naming themselves after famous mass-murderers, posing as the Antichrist, etc.), they have successfully upset the Christian-right in the US, who never seem to think twice before jumping at the bait.

Emerging out of their South Florida power base in the mid-'90s, singer Marilyn Manson and his eponymous group were the first signing to Nothing records, the new label set up by Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor. Before a falling-out (recently amicably settled) between the two, Marilyn Manson recorded their debut album at the LA house of the gory Tate murders by the Manson family.

It wasn't until the release of 1996's Antichrist Superstar, however, that Marilyn Manson became a household name, with the single "The Beautiful People" driving the album to number three on the Billboard charts. While 1998's glam-influenced Mechanical Animals failed to chart as high, it did mark a significant improvement in songwriting and signaled Manson's Bowie-like ability to reinvent himself on a regular basis.

Following 1999's Columbine High School murder tragedy, last year's Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death) was mistakenly pilloried for inciting the outcast killer teens Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris (it subsequently was revealed that neither had been a fan of Manson).

Manson's latest video for the new single "The Fight Song", featuring a team of jocks battling a team of goth rockers, might be a comment on the furore - although Manson label Interscope denies any Columbine parallels.

All it takes is one look at Japan's newspaper headlines ("Crazed teen slaughters Mom"), or one visit to Harajuku on a Sunday, where Tokyo's goth tribes gather in their Victorian finery, to understand where Manson's appeal lies in Japan. Pancake and eyeliner recommended.

See listings for details.


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