Marilyn Manson ‘The Pale Emperor’ Tour Opener.

Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring
Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring
Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring
Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring
Marilyn Manson @ Fillmore Silver Spring

I shot and wrote a thing for Noisey about the Marilyn Manson tour opener at the Fillmore… photos above, here is the text:

Yesterday, I got the all-clear to shoot the Marilyn Manson tour opener in scenic Silver Spring, Maryland. After a hiatus of sorts, my generation’s number one shock rocker is back with a comeback album, The Pale Emperor, and this show would be the first chance for live impressions. I’ve never been a Manson fan really; as a teenager, I liked some of the early songs like “Lunchbox,” and once saw him open for Nine Inch Nails, but by the time he hit full superstar mode, I was too busy listening to hardcore and screamo records to care very much about what Brian Warner was getting up to. Still, the guy is an icon—of course I wanted to see his show!

After navigating a line that literally wrapped around the block (later, I was told that concertgoers had started lining up twelve hours before doors), I went in expecting some serious 90s rockstar antics. I wasn’t disappointed. In a set filled with solid hits, Manson’s show also featured multiple costume changes (including four costume changes for the microphone itself), casual cockiness and furious anger at the sound guy, calls for fans to throw drugs on stage (he casually picked up one baggie containing an impressive amount of powder and filed it away in his back pocket for later), a contingent of women with their tops off and Manson lyrics written on their bodies, and of course, calls for the crowd to suck his dick. In true rock star fashion, any time he was done with an object—a microphone, an open bottle of water, a glass of liquor—he just let it drop to the ground, and someone would scurry over there to put it back in its rightful place without the show missing a beat.

After the show—which was entertaining enough to me, a non-fan, to stay until the end—the overall fan reaction seemed pretty ecstatic. One gothy teenager beamed at me and asked if I also thought that it had been the best concert ever. A few people I spoke to did say that they were disappointed with his vocals (though I must say that they sounded generally fine to me). I asked them if they thought that made the concert suck, and one of them replied enthusiastically, “No! Marilyn Manson can’t do a bad show!”


Maryland Death Fest 2013 Preview

Now in it’s eleventh year, Maryland Death Fest has a long history of bringing a wide assortment of heavy bands to the city, from mainstream acts to obscure cult favorites, and everything in between. On May 23-26th, MDF returns to the former home of Sonar (407 E Saratoga Street) and expands to take over even more of the street and parking area as well as a satellite stage devoted to hardcore and punk, located at Soundstage (124 Market Place). There will be dozens of bands performing, let’s take a look at some things you shouldn’t

Pentagram & the Obsessed on the same bill
Both bands formed in the 70s (Pentagram in Alexandria, VA, the Obsessed in Potomac, MD), both are extremely influential, and both have iconic frontmen – Pentagram’s troubled Bobby Liebling and Scott “Wino” Weinrich of the Obsessed, as well as St Vitus and many other projects. There probably aren’t two metal bands from the DMV that have as enduring of a legacy as these two acts, and while they have reunited before, each tour has a “this could be the last time” vibe. (Disclosure: this author released two records by one of Weinrich’s later bands, the Hidden Hand)

INFEST reunion
One of the early and defining bands of the 90s powerviolence scene, Infest were a SoCal hardcore band with a reputation for great live performances, strong political stances and a small handful of influential releases on labels like Slap-a-Ham and Deep Six. They disbanded in 1996, before the peak of their scene’s popularity, so this MDF appearance will be many fans’ first chance to see them play.

Exclusive US Venom performance
Formed in the late 70s, Venom are an extremely influential band (they coined the term Black Metal, now a dominant genre), though arguably more for their use of dark, satanic imagery and over-the-top stage costumes and personas than their music. This is their only US show in 2013, and probably for the foreseeable future, and should be a fun experience, if only for frontman Chronos’ stage banter and showmanship.

Rare U.S. Bolt Thrower appearance
This is a rare US show for this long-running UK band who are apparently reluctant to come to this side of the pond. Their two appearances at 2009’s MDF (one announced, one by surprise) were the highlights of that year’s fest – full of energy and fun. This will be your only chance to see them on the east coast, so don’t miss it.

California stoner metal band Sleep specializes in droning, meditative, weed-soaked Sabbath worship. Their hour-long set on Sunday is just shy of long enough to play their epic 63-minute song, Dopesmoker. Here’s hoping that the organizers will let them squeeze the whole thing in. Either way, this will be a set that stands out from most of the other acts at the festival.

For more information on tickets, a full running order, and more go to:

A Touch of Grey

It all started with a simple internet search. That’s what led Ron Weldon to discover that his former band Grey march had, in the 20 or so years since their breakup, developed a small but dedicated following online. That moment would lead to a string of successful reunion shows, the reconnection to hundreds of fans, as well as a May 3rd show celebrating not one, but two new releases from the band.

A stand out of Baltimore’s punk scene in the 1980s, Grey march are often referred to as a post-punk band, but if you ask them, they were simply punk rockers. They formed at a time when there were not a lot of places for young bands to play or practice. Then the band met Jules Savarese, who ran an underground music venue known as The Loft. With his support, and that of the community that sprang up around his venue, Grey march went from playing small shows for friends to opening for popular touring bands of the time like COC, the Circle Jerks, MDC and Samhain. From there, they grew popular enough to headline their own shows, regularly drawing crowds of 300-400 people. “As it grew, it would get bigger and the shows would get bigger,” says Weldon, the band’s keyboardist. They also extended their reach outside of Baltimore, touring the US and playing several shows at the legendary NYC venue CBGBs. They even managed to release 1000 copies of a self-titled album. Today, that album is long out of print and fetches relatively high prices on online auction sites like eBay.

Before they could record another album, though, the band called it quits in late 1986 or 87. “We had been around awhile. We started getting older, and the crowd started changing…our scene started kinda dying. The people in the band started getting into different influences and stuff,” Weldon explains. “It just ran its course.” There was one brief attempt to unite the original line-up in the early 90s, but after a single practice, the band members lost touch – until 2008, when Weldon, surfing the net, thought to look up his old band. Weldon’s reaction was: “Wow, there’s a Grey march site? Thats really weird – and there’s music on there too! I don’t have any music, where are these people getting this music from if I don’t have any?”Movie Carol (2015)

After meeting a Polish fan of the band online, who help make a Grey march MySpace page, he managed to get in contact with vocalist Trip Burch, who soon pitched the idea of a reunion show. The pair tracked down the other members – guitarist Mikey Dub was living on the west coast, drummer Eric Wiegmann was working as a professional musician in Japan, and bassist Stuart Berlinicke was still here in Baltimore. They all agreed that they should meet up and jam, when time allowed, to see if the chemistry was still there.

Since the master tapes of their LP had all been lost, the only material the band had access to were demo tapes, saved by fans and traded over the internet, along with that sole LP. From this, they relearned their songs. “Once we got together it came back really natural. After a couple tries, we could play it, we could totally do all the songs,” says Weldon.

In late 2011, they were asked to play a show at Fraziers in Hampden. Uncertain at first, the band decided to commit and the gig was a success. “They sold every beer they had, that place went nuts,” recalls Weldon, “people were out in the street, it was so big.” Shows at The Ottobar and DC’s the Black Cat soon followed. One problem did emerge, however. As Weldon puts it, “personal band issues got a little bit out of control.” As a result, the band parted ways with original guitarist Mikey Dub. However, Paul Anderson (a member of another of Burch’s bands, the Pearl Fishers) stepped in and learned all the material, becoming a permanent member.

After the reunion shows, the idea of re-recording the original material was floated by Burch and the band agreed on one condition – they would also write and record new material. However, this arrangement was complicated by the fact that Wiegmann still lived in Japan and could only return for short trips. On one of these trips, the band clocked in studio time at Remington’s Wright Way Studios and recorded 8 tracks, a combination of classic Grey march songs, along with two new ones.

After attempting to self-release a CD of this material, another roadblock emerged. The band had worked with a friend to handle the details of the CD pressing. But, when it came time to actually release it, the band found itself in a dispute with this friend. According to the band, they were in contention about the business aspects of the release, and ultimately, although 1000 copies were pressed, this version of the album will not be publicly released. “Its the most insane thing you’ve heard in your whole life,” says Weldon of the outcome.

As a result, the band reached out to Pennsylvania-based independent label Hand/Eye Records which is run by Tim Renner, a long-time fan of the band. With his aid, they have readied a new release- self-titled, just like their 1986 LP- featuring the tracks from the Wright Way sessions, with new artwork. Hand/Eye will also be releasing “Early Works”, a CD compilation of the various demo tracks and original LP tracks (taken from a vinyl copy) that the band had used to re-learn their repertoire. When asked about his attraction to the band, Renner replies “First and foremost, I love their music. It doesn’t matter to me that they were a ‘local’ band… I think they have really captured something special with their sound. I don’t try to analyze too much what it is – some people have said it’s their combination of diverse influences, but it can’t be just that alone. Lots of artists have diverse influences. There is something really special going on with this band.”

To celebrate the dual release, Grey march will be returning to The Ottobar on May 3rd, with a line-up that includes John Stabb (ostentatious frontman of 80’s hardcore band Government Issue) and his new band Repeated History as well as Baltimore’s Lisa Doll & the Rock n Roll Romance. Both CDs will be for sale early at the show, in advance of their release dates (the self-titled drops on May 14th, Early Works two weeks later on May 28th).

When asked about the band’s resurgent appeal, Weldon has this to say: “I think its all about a certain time period. That whole vibe is about an old community… it was all about hundreds and hundreds of kids, over and over and over again every weekend, the same kids. And now they’re all adults. And now they don’t really see each other a lot, yet they’ll come down for something like this… they’ll come and they’ll reconnect.”

Bangers and Thrash : March 2013 Edition

Starting off a strong month of heavy shows is Baltimore d-beat band Old Lines, who have been playing out a lot in support of their self-titled first LP. See them Wednesday, March 6 with straight edgers WarXGames and Big Christ at Club K. Also coming up at Club K is Holly Hunt, a new band featuring members of Cavity and Floor (two of my favorite dark, sludgy groups of the 90s). They’re playing with D.O.C., Radical Discharge and Eddie Brock on March 18th.

Last year, Baltimore musician Jason Donnells (The New Flesh) split for greener pastures but thankfully he’ll be back long enough for his most recent band, Friend Collector, to play a show in town. See them at the Bell Foundry on March 25th with Curse and Multicult. Later in the week, a new metal party kicks off on March 30th at the Borinquen Night Club on Eastern Ave, featuring performances from Lich King, Possessor, and a host of other bands. The promoters say this will be the first of a weekly metal night at the club.

Moving into April, on the 6th Tim “Ripper” Owens is performing at Cafe 611 in Frederick. I can’t say I’m a huge fan, but the guy went from being in a Judas Priest cover band, to being in Judas Priest, to having a movie made out of his life starring Mark Wahlberg as him. Pretty wild ride. The next night, Baltimore’s Passage Between opens for Kowloon Walled City and Zozobra at the Ottobar, and Cemetery Piss opens for Evil Army at the Sidebar.

Joining the ranks of other local fests like A389 Bash and the upcoming Maryland Death Fest, Chris Moore (Magrudergrind, Coke Bust) has organized a strong line-up for the first Damaged City Fest, a two day event at Saint Stephens in D.C. There are too many bands playing to list here, but some of the area acts include: Mindset, Sick Fix, Ilsa, Necropsy, Coke Bust and Give, along with out of towners like Negative Approach, Double Negative, and Dropdead. It goes down April 12-13th and passes are on sale now.

Necropsy, a Baltimore metal band new enough that several members are reportedly still in high school, have just recorded an album with Kevin Bernsten of Developing Nations for their debut release on A389 records. The album should be out in the next few months. Baltimore punk band Paper Dragons have just released an LP, Die To Please, on Wallride Records. They are also playing on April 14th at the Ottobar, with Diarrhea Planet & Tenement. Everlasting grind band Triac just released a split 12” record with D.C.’s D.O.C. on German label RSR.

Finally, on a sad note, longtime Relapse Records sales manager Pat Egan recently passed away from pneumonia complications. Egan was a beloved fixture in the metal community at large for years and Relapse‘s Pig Destroyer is releasing a benefit EP named “Mass and Volume”, which will consist of several doom metal-inspired tracks that were previously available only in Japan. Relapse has also released a 20 band compilation entitled “Patlapse”. Proceeds from both will go towards his daughter’s college fund. You can find out more at