Rob Zombie delivers ‘riveting performance’ in Manchester [concert gallery too]
Manchester is known in the UK as the home of stalwarts such as Oasis and the infamous The Haçienda but on Wednesday it became the home – for one night – of evil – Twins of Evil style.
QRO Magazine reviewed the show and you can read the extract here and see images from the show by photographer Ian Pickles.
If Manson’s set verged on the over serious the same cannot be said of his partner in wickedness on the night, the gloriously over-the-top Rob Zombie. Having revitalized the Halloween franchise, Zombie now divides his time between music and filmmaking, but whichever he’s doing he seems to give it one hundred percent, and his set featured every horror trope in the playbook. When asked how long he will continue making music he usually replies, “As long as it’s still fun” – and he certainly appeared to be having a great time this night. Having emerged from a giant robot at the start of the show, Zombie delivered several numbers from behind a microphone stand surmounted by a six armed skeleton, before being joined on stage by an assortment of aliens, Halloween pumpkins and (of course) Satan, who put in an appearance late on looking remarkably like a man in a very tall Satan costume with a big head. Film inevitably played a large part in the set – every available vertical surface was covered with panels which showed a nonstop montage of fragments from horror movies and cartoons, soft core porn, clips from the original Planet of the Apes, and snippets fromThe Munsters as well as a promotional trailer for Zombie’s new film Lords of Salem, which drew appreciative roars from the crowd and actually looked pretty good.
But for all the horror imagery Zombie always appeared to be aware of the high camp nature of his enterprise – he swung his massive dreadlocks from side to side like a man with a head full of nunchucks (he was lucky not to have anyone’s eye out) and danced around the stage with his arms held wide and curved as if he were polkaing with an imaginary fat girl, but he also knows that even the most diehard fans of the genre need some occasional light relief. His attempt to organize adversarial community singing with one half of the audience (“The ones on the right of that guy with the skull bandana” – definitely the best line of the night) chanting “Rock, Rock, Rock” while the other half countered with “Motherfucker, Motherfucker, Motherfucker” rapidly disintegrated into disaster, but later while guitarist John 5 played an exhilarating extended solo Zombie descended from the stage and completed a full lap of the arena with security men floundering in his wake as the crowd parted before him but then closed up just as quickly when he had passed. In this context the arrival on stage of dozens of large brightly coloured balloons which Zombie and the band kicked out for the audience to amuse themselves with came as no surprise. Much hilarity ensued. “When you’ve all finished playing with fucking balloons perhaps we can get back to some serious business,” Zombie growled before launching into “Pussy Liquor”.
There was an early nod to Zombie’s early career in the White Zombies with “Thunder Kiss ’65”, and then songs were drawn even-handedly from his solo albums – highlights were the infectious stomp of “Sick Bubblegum” fromHellbilly Deluxe 2and “Meet The Creeper” from HD version 1. The set concluded with Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out” and then another on stage pulpit arrived, this one taking the form of a huge alien/dinosaur rib cage from which Zombie delivered everybody’s favourite goth rock anthem Dragula to close out a riveting performance.
As the leather clad hordes left the arena an elderly man and woman stopped to allow the motley collection of goths, vampires and assorted walking dead to pass in front of them. They looked puzzled but not intimidated. “What is it?” the woman asked. “I think it must be some kind of concert,” replied her husband. They don’t scare so easily in Manchester any more.