Eminem, 2017

From the moment the lights went down, the anticipation was palpable. Bouncing on to the stage, Eminem’s energy was contagious. More than any other time I’ve seen him live (and there have been a few) his performance was electric. He seemed entirely in his element, hands keeping time to the beat and lyrics spit with true meaning behind every word.

Eminem at Leeds Festival 2017

I had the sense that his performance was truly genuine and he had seemed to pick out the tracks that would give him the best platform to connect with the crowd, rather than simply perform the ones that are the most well known.

The performance came across as one where he was truly present, which hasn’t always been the case in past tours. He was enthusiastic and didn’t hesitate to deliver his performance with impact. Hidden beneath a dark cap, it was hard to make out any facial expressions, however that didn’t dampen the emphasis of the words.

Against a simple backdrop of a projected boom-box, the lyrics stood out as complex, taking all the credit without any fancy distractions.

A boombox projected on to the stage provided the backdrop for Eminem at Leeds 2017

Hearing him perform some of the older songs like ‘Soldier’ took me back to the reasons that I started listening to Eminem, way back in the day. Yes, he says things to shock and I don’t agree with all of his lyrics, but he is authentic. His words and rhythms helped me to get through some really tough times and as I stood there in the crowd, it seemed like everyone around me was using his music as an outlet, a release for all of the struggles we have to deal with daily.

The angsty, teenage me was in her element, shouting the words along with the performance in the same way that I’d learnt the words to the tracks whilst back in school. This time, however, it felt like there was less of Shady’s antisocial antics and much more of Eminem ripping through politics, poverty and inequality.

Despite the change of focus, Eminem’s skills are just as pronounced and polished, without loosing the raw nature of his performance. Stepping up a gear, his performance of ‘Rap God’ never fails to amaze, throwing out words with incredible speed. Every time I hear it, I get chills and for me, it cements his title as one of the best in his business.

Despite mix reviews of his last couple of albums, I felt that Eminem’s performance showed that he isn’t ready to hang up his hat just yet. In his own words ‘Mr Don’t Give A Fuck just won’t leave’ and I for one couldn’t be happier.

Eminem shares his political views at Leeds 2017

Were you there? What was your experience of Eminem’s set?

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Marilyn Manson, 2017

I’ve mixed feelings about this one. The show was great, however there wasn’t as much of the show as I’d hoped. It was an intimate venue and the crowd was a really mixed bag – old, young and everything in between. Manson was due to be on stage at 9pm. Although lots of acts keep people waiting, I always feel like it’s fairly self indulgent to do so. In this case, Manson didn’t come on stage until 9.45pm and only performed for around an hour.

I get that performing is hard, however I’ve paid less for other tickets where acts have performed for much longer. Given that there were many breaks in the performance where Manson changed outfits or moved around, it felt fairly disjointed, which stopped me really getting into the evening.

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When Manson was actually performing, he was great – angsty, loud and outcast, exactly as you would expect. Even in a cast, Manson put on a good performance, incorporating his ‘helpers’ into the show, dressed as nurses. His movements in a motorised chair were somewhat comical, but despite this, he still held everyone’s attention. His biggest hits were performed really well, complete with audience sing-alongs. The Beautiful People was saved for the last track of the evening, and was the one track that actually encouraged the whole room to get involved.

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Throughout the gig, there was a mixed reaction, some people 100% invested in the music, moshing, bouncing and yelling along. Others looked more lost, seemingly less connected to the music. I fell somewhere the middle, bouncing along but not totally swept away. At times, I felt that my attention was wandering somewhat (particularly in between songs) and the disjointed nature of the show made it feel a little unprofessional, particularly when Manson would gesture for the rest of the band to stop playing mid song so that he could talk to the crowd. Again, it was a little ‘diva-like’ which I felt interfered with my experience of the music. I like to be swept away, feeling every heartbeat of a song, however I don’t think that it truly captured my attention enough to engage fully. As Marilyn Manson is on the billing for another gig next year, I hope that it was a one off and a festival appearance will make me sit up and take more notice next time.

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