May 23, 2012

Garbage - 9:30 Club

By Bob Suehs

www.rocknrollexperience.com

GARBAGE

May 23, 2012

9:30 Club

Washington, DC

Set list:

Automatic Systematic Habit, Temptation Waits, Shut Your Mouth, Queer, Metal Heart, Stupid Girl, Why Do You Love Me, The World Is Not Enough, #1 Crush, Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!), Blood for Poppies, Control, Milk, Big Bright World, I Think I'm Paranoid, Bad Boyfriend, Only Happy When It Rains, Push It, Encore: Supervixen, Special, Vow

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“Hello DC.....Weeeeee’re Baaaaaack!”

When Shirley Manson declared that during the first break in the bands set the crowd erupted and there was an emotional feeling that surged through the entire room. Shirley was all smiles as she thanked the crowd for supporting & still being there for Garbage during their 7 year hiatus and the vibe for this night basically felt like a welcome back party for Garbage thrown by their fans!

Doors opened at 7:15 PM & Garbage took the stage at 9 PM sharp. There was no opening act for this show although the rumor was that a magician was booked and canceled.

The stage set up was not your normal rock show stage set up because the first thing that hit me was the lack of amps...I mean literally there were NO amps onstage at all which allowed the band to utilize the entire stage with zero clutter and the large backdrop curtain was a mesh/lace creation that showed random blurs of color, lines, and shapes which added a dance club feel to the show and the backdrop also reminded me slightly of the set up Lady Gaga used for her show intro on her 2011 tour.

The last Garbage tour was a more direct, full on “rock” show and the bands current tour has more of the “Version 2.0” vibe & feel to it because the elements of dance & beats are more prominent than the stripped down guitar/bass/drums from the “Bleed Like Me” tour.

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“Automatic Systematic Habit” was the opener for the night & it was a great song to open with because it’s the first song on the new record and it ushered Garbage back to the concert stage with a fresh feel yet it also maintained that Garbage sound & style that makes it an instant classic to the Garbage fan base.

Shirley took the stage looking like a Star Wars fanatic & the giant eagle necklace she wore appeared as if it were too big for her neck. Shirley aged very gracefully and the first 3 songs of the set she wore large heels & had a high mic stand....a roadie came out & took Shirley’s heels off & then traded her mic stand with for shorter one to accommodate her shrinking height from the heels being removed.

“Temptation Waits” had a small flub which most people didn’t notice but if you watched Duke you could see him saying “f*ck” a few times because his rig wasn’t working properly and that’s always been the beauty of Garbage in my opinion...the band does mess up here & there and they admit it, they point it out, they are very human and they are fun for the fact that they are so loose onstage.

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During “Queer” Shirley screwed up an entire portion of the song vocally & played it off quite well....I was actually surprised she even pointed out the flub because she covered it well but she was embarrassed by it & apologized to the crowd.

“Stupid Girl” was performed with a different backing beat and the version the band played on this night had more of a dance club feel to it than the original version and that was pretty much the theme to most of this show; Garbage in 2012 are embracing the current popularity of dance club music & big electronic beats which again is reminiscent of the “Version 2.0” era.

“Why Do You Love Me” was powerful & actually the first hard rock song they did in the set this night....the “Bleed Like Me” era of the band was a much more “rock” oriented era for the band and I was pleased that they mixed in a few harder songs like “WDYLM” & “Bad Boyfriend” which were essentially guitar driven rock tracks that stood out from songs like “Milk” & “Cherry Lips” which were not heavy at all.

“#1 Crush” started off with Eric Avery playing the bass line all by himself and I’ll tell you, this is the PERFECT intro for this song because the bass line played by itself in the beginning makes the song start off even sexier & sleeker than the original version....kudo’s to Eric for making this song even better with the cool bass intro!

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“The World Is Not Enough” was a tad boring because it was the song in the set that really slowed things down alot and to go from upbeat, fast tempos to a slower song like “TWINE” made for an interesting dynamic which oddly enough worked quite well for the band.

“Blood For Poppies” is the lead single off the bands new cd and I’ll admit that it took some time for the song to grow on me...it’s catchy, hooky & solid BUT a bit too pop oriented for my personal taste. If you listen to it enough the chorus, the progression & the changes are catchy enough that you will start singing along to it eventually and when they played “Blood For Poppies” live it came off great!

This night was special because it was the first time they performed “Control” and this song is dark with a Led Zeppelin vibe to it. “Control” sounded good but from where I was the samples were a little hard to hear and it was clear that the band were working through the song a bit to find the right feeling for it. Duke & Steve did a good job capturing the energy in the song and for this being the first time it was ever performed onstage I think they did a great job with it!

“Big Bright World” was the last new song they performed in the set this night & that particular song is a pure pop rock explosion with an 80’s styled chorus and hook which the crowd loved and when you hear a song like “Big Bright World” you have to stop and realize something; Garbage took 7 years off then went back into the studio and were able to recapture the same vibe, energy & passion for music that they had when they went on hiatus...that’s pretty freakin’ amazing & “Big Bright World” is a testament to the amazing chemistry Garbage have as a band both onstage & off.

“Only Happy When It Rains” had a mellow intro & the beginning of the song was done in a slow style until the band hit the first chorus at which point the original pace of the song kicked in.

”Push It” was the closer for the first set and it was clear to the band and the audience that Garbage were back with a vengeance. The fans had not forgotten about Garbage!

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“Supervixen” kicked off the encore and it was like visiting with an old friend BUT the song was actually stopped just before Shirley started to sing because Duke’s guitar went into a heavy feedback when it was supposed to go into the clean tone for the beginning and once Duke got the pedal issue fixed Shirley commented that she was the type of girl who liked to go at it more than once in a night & she wanted to do it a second time so “Supervixen” was started from the top and the 2nd time it went off without a hitch!

“Special” sounded great and the vibe I got during the encore was almost like a “Greatest Hits” feel because the 3 song encore covered the necessary bases for 90’s classic rock!

“Vow” was the nights closer & it was an interesting choice because “Vow” was the first single the band ever released and it’s probably their most powerful song both lyrically & musically....most bands would have closed on their biggest hit which for Garbage would be “Only Happy When It Rains” here in the States but the choice of closing with “Vow” just felt right and when the song was done it felt like an old friend had finally returned to town after a long time of being gone.

The interesting thing about Garbage in 2012 is that they are still the same band, they have aged a little bit which is just part of life, but musically & energy wise it’s like they never took a 7 year break because they are just as good now as they were back in their prime!

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