It’s always best to let the adrenaline calm down before declaring a gig the best ever so I am now ready to stick my neck on the block and say that the Garbage gig at Rock City last night was one of THE very best I’ve ever seen, and after a shade over 42 years since my first outing I can’t make such an assertion lightly.
For minutes shy of 2 hours the band powered through a set of old and new; this was no greatest hits or 90s nostalgia show, it’s testament to their staying power and creativity that some of the most memorable numbers were from the brand new and most recent albums.
Shirley Manson is a consummate front person, you could almost see twenty years shed from her face as the show boiled up, she circles the stage like a boxer, exuding in equal measure presence, punk poise, confidence, kitsch, humility, and strident rock goddess qualities, and her voice remains a uniquely versatile instrument, she is a genuine icon of the genre and bang on top of her game.
Flanked by the ever present twin guitars of Steve Marker and the eminently watchable Duke Erikson and behind them a bad ass touring rhythm section (drummer Butch Vig missing due to personal problems), they lay down powerful, driving riffs and melodies, and you can’t take your eyes off them for a second.
Sure we had Stupid Girl, I Think I’m Paranoid, Only Happy When It Rains, and surprise encore of Cherry Lips, to jump around to, but together with the melancholic new ballad Even Though Our Love Is Doomed, it was an epic atmospheric performance of a new number Blackout that stole the show for me.
If I had any regrets about not seeing a more youthful Garbage in their pomp those were blown away by the maturity and swagger of the band in version 2016.