My Musical Adventures

Marilyn Manson and Slayer @ Sleep Train Pavilion Concord, 8/23/07

The pairing of Manson and Slayer: love them both, but together? Hmmmm…mostly a different audience, definitely a different outfit.

After an arduous journey, we finally found this Sleep Train Pavilion. And so did the protesters. I don’t think my fellow concert-goers were prepared for the scene they were about to partake in. The guys walking around looking for a fight. Meth heads, tweakers, trippers, lock jawed and glazy eyed. Goths in their gear, black on black, pale and morose.

As we walked up the hill, the unmistakable sound of Slayer started to shake the stadium like a mini quake. A wristband and a Jack & Coke later, we were standing in the heart attack inducing stage left, right in front of Jeff Hanneman. Thrash metal live is something that just is what it is: a mosh pit full of agro dudes who wouldn’t last 2 seconds in a ’90s pit (seriously, that was lame…but I’m glad I didn’t see the sick shit that I used to see in these pits), instrument playing that is so heavy that no one can move, and a real physical reaction to the music. Slayer is what you listen to when you’re going to work out, or getting ready to tell someone off. Its not for lyrical analysis, or melodic hooks. It’s adrenaline in an aural package. Slayer must have been the inspiration for bobble head dolls, the head swinging echoes into the audience as headbanging takes on its most primal form.


devil horns


In between sets, two unusual, notable things happened- one meaningful and one not. First, a paraplegic girl and her boyfriend came and put her chair near us, and during the Manson set she was able to stand up for the show. It was really inspirational. Also, my friend and I were trying to do a self portrait, and the security guy came and took it for us. And I thought he was going to take the camera away…

So, on to Manson….I had been banned from seeing him while I was living with the parentals, and after that he never came close enough to me to see. Putting aside the whole Reznor/Manson ordeal, it’s a show I had to see. The goth girl inside of me rarely gets to make an appearance.

I forget how rewarding a high production show can be. Props and costumes go a long way in communicating the message. The blade microphone, the oversized chair, the boxing attire, the podium, Evan Rachel Wood….definitely a sight.

As usual, I had planned out to be in the prime guitar watching zone- I was excited to see Tim Skold (formerly of KMFDM). His look is very reminiscent of Robin Finck when he play for NIN…wicked. Rob Holliday, the bassist, does double duty as the bassist for The Prodigy as I found out while writing this. He only paid one visit to my side. Chris Vrenna was on keyboards, who has a lot of NIN history….and then there’s Ginger Fish, who’s been there since the beginning.

The set list was heavy on the new stuff, but I was happy about that. I have some dark memories attached to his older stuff, but we still heard Sweet Dreams, The Dope Show, Beautiful People, and Rock is Dead….which was, incidentally, the song that I had my ‘Manson moment’ during. You’ll see in the video. And during Heart Shaped Glasses, my friend and I donned our own heart shaped glasses while paper hearts fell from the ceiling. Yeah, we’re dorks like that.

It was the most exciting show I’ve been to in a while on a personal level. Having just lost a close family member, it’s comforting to me to see music that I’ve listened to in some of my darkest moments. I just really connect with the whole goth rock thing…I guess I feel like there’s some mutual understanding there that I don’t get from my everyday life.

**thanks to the HRC entourage for taking the pics and video, since I was- as usual- too excited to take anything worthwhile





heart shaped glasses

Buy Manson’s new album, Eat Me, Drink Me


    so…. i kinda had a crush on Tom Skold during the show. Which now makes total sense, as according to Wikipedia we’re married. I knew he looked familiar …

    100% agree – totally one of the most entertaining show’s. I hope he comes back soon! … maybe play somewhere closer to SF … without an 80s thrash metal opener … with people who do NOT show their love of the performing artist by chucking their water bottles on them. Is this too much to ask?

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