Jurado’s New Gig, Depression’s Sad News, and Manson’s Big Rock Mayhem

Selections from Reverb, our music blog.

No Depression Hits the Skids

No Depression publisher Kyla Fairchild shared this sad news with me at the Drive-By Truckers’ show this weekend, and their publicist made it official Tuesday. R.I.P., ND, you did good work. Read the press release here.

—Hannah Levin

Damien Jurado’s Hoquiam

While “Hoquiam” is the title of the opening track to Damien Jurado’s 2006 release, And Now That I’m in Your Shadow, it’s also near to where he was raised, and now it’s the moniker for his most recent outlet for material that falls outside the realm of his primary project—Damien Jurado. Recorded mostly at home in his living room, the new songs may find life in front of an audience soon, hopefully when his band (who’ve just finished recording their most recent full-length for Secretly Canadian) returns from Spain. We’ll keep you posted.

—Aja Pecknold

Live Review: Marilyn Manson: Big Rock Productions Don’t Get Any Better

When: Monday, Feb. 18

Where: The Paramount

Although I’ve been a huge, HUGE Marilyn Manson fan for many years, the guy seriously disappointed me with his anemic last release, Eat Me, Drink Me (you can read my rant about it over here at our sister paper, San Francisco Weekly).

However, at last night’s show at the Paramount, I was essentially bitch-slapped by Ye Olde Antichrist Superstar when he made it clear that it simply doesn’t matter if he makes a mediocre record. When it comes to his live performances, he spares no spectacle, and his fans go completely (and legitimately) bat-shit crazy with devotion. Manson recently told Rolling Stone that fans will “get a little bit of what they may have seen in the past, but turned up to a thousand.” No kidding.

The crowd, as could be expected, was sort of hilarious. Goth girls, Lolita emulators, and pasty fellows with coal-rimmed eyes and self-righteous auras were heavily represented. The smattering of protesters outside (yep, he still brings it out in ’em) was giving me ’80s PMRC flashbacks. There was also a freakishly high quotient of straight-ahead redneck rocker-types. Sonic Boom owner Nabil Ayers and I weren’t seated next to each other, so we were reduced to a brief bout of sarcastic texting (me: “Lovely crowd!” him: “Tacoma”). The sad-looking, connected-at-the-hip couple in front of me wearing matching “Rape of the World Tour 2008” shirts didn’t really help matters.

But damned if none of that mattered when the lights went down, Bauhaus came up on the sound system, and the shadows of Manson and his bandmates began flickering behind the crimson stage curtain. Dozens of lit candles covered the stage as the curtain fell away, and they launched into “Cruci-Fiction in Space,” a gloomy, heavy number that functioned as a perfectly evil call to arms. Stalking the stage wielding a microphone in the shape of a butcher knife may not leave much to the imagination, but it’s still a pretty awesome sight.

As soon as Manson moved on to the angsty anthem “Disposable Teens,” I became particularly grateful I was securely perched up on the balcony versus down on the open floor, where the crowd was justifying the heavy security presence and turning into a snarling swirl of fists and limbs. From there it was on to the first of nine-zillion set piece changes. Up first, an enormous Antichrist American flag dropped down just before Manson introduced recently returned guitarist Twiggy Ramirez and pulled out “Irresponsible Hate Anthem,” causing the scene on the floor to heat up even more.

The presence of Ramirez meant that the set list was pretty dreamy for fans of the records he figured prominently on—most notably Antichrist Superstar, Mechanical Animals, and Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). He also kept the forays into Eat Me, Drink Me mercifully brief, and unexpectedly entertaining. During “Heart-Shaped Glasses,” the album’s first (and apparently only) single, a robotic female figure very similar to Manson’s current jailbait girlfriend Evan Rachel Wood walked onto the stage, wheeling a cart with a cake, camera, and bottle on top. After molesting his very lifelike, robotic gal for the crowd, he decapitated her and sang the rest of the song to her. Yeah, yeah, Alice Cooper got there first, but it’s always fun to watch.

The guy has a way with covers, as the hysterical screams that greeted the opening strains of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” proved, and his rendition of Patty Smith’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Nigger” was everything that song should be: shocking, confusing, and empowering all at once.

The set changes came even more fast and furious toward the end, with flashing, 15-foot-tall illuminated letters spelling out “D-R-U-G-S” during “The Dope Show,” a blizzard of black confetti during “Rock Is Dead,” and feathery, faux snowflakes during “Coma White.” The final song of the evening was the title track from Antichrist Superstar, delivered via podium and dramatized via bible-burning, media-bashing, and an all-around flavor of delicious deviancy, overblown theatrics, and Manson’s beloved brand of shameless self-indulgence (until I learn to take bad video on my cell phone, I must rely on the bad cell phone videos of Youtube, which has this decent representation of the moment). Big rock productions just don’t get any better than that in my book.

—Hannah Levin