Marilyn Manson’s Shock Rock Raises Eyebrows And Discourse At Knotfest REVIEW+PHOTOS: MARILYN MANSON @ OZZFEST MEETS KNOTFEST 11/5/17
San Bernardino, CA- After shattering bones in his right leg during a performance in New York on September 30th, and cancelling an handful of concert dates in order to recuperate, it was pretty damn impressive that Marilyn made good on his commitment to performance at Knotfest, delivering a performance that was both sonically and aesthetically visceral. Despite his lack of mobility, Manson used a semi mobile throne and theatrical staging to give the audience tons of dark eye candy to feast upon.
But the moment during the performance that put the “shock” in shock rock was when Manson performed the song “We Know Where You Fucking Live”- a track off the new album. Pushed around by his attendants as he was seated in a wheel chair, Manson performed the song using a microphone that was mounted on a semi-automatic rifle’s body (see below). While I’m not sure whether he’s used this prop in the past, it used of it on this evening was particularly poignant as that morning a mass shooting occurred in a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 and wounding dozens more; the the worst mass shooting in the state’s history and the deadliest-ever in a U.S. house of worship.
While some may have been shocked or offended by the use rifle mic, I personally felt that the act was a purposeful act of social commentary, instigated in order to bring the discussion of guns and gun violence to the forefront …. even at music festival. Subsequent to the performance, Manson issued the following statement via Variety,
“In an era where mass shootings have become a nearly daily occurrence, this was an act of theater in an attempt to make a statement about how easily accessible semi-automatic weapons are and how seeing them has become normalized. My art has always been a reaction to popular culture and my way to make people think about the horrible things that happen in this world. My performance was not meant to be disrespectful or show any insensitivity. The prop microphone I used on stage was handed to me with the approval of a police officer. My empathy goes out to anyone who has been affected by the irresponsible and reprehensible misuse of REAL guns.”
People often forget that art is more than just entertainment. Art has always been a means to raise consciousness and the level of discourse. Amidst all of the moshing and head-banging, we need artists like Marilyn Manson … now more than ever … to remind us that there’s more in life than just metal. Even if it ruffles a few feather.
Derrick K. Lee is a music attorney, blogger, concert photographer and co-owner of Blurred Culture. He goes to a lot of shows and sometimes he writes good. Music is his boo.
All photos are edited with iPhoto. Lightroom edits can be made upon request. For prints and/or approvals for special uses of any photo taken by Derrick, please contact him directly.