“Right, let’s run through the checklist shall we? So have you brushed your teeth? Have you made a friend? Have you been to school? Have you had a fight? Have you kicked arse? Have you made up again? Well we’ve done all of the above and now w’re back!” exclaims a rather positive Shirley Manson during Garbage‘s return to the Civic tonight. It’s been nearly 10 years since they last graced the stage here, their last UK tour. Now having released come back album ‘Not Your Kind Of People’ earlier this year, they are on a worldwide promotional campaign.
The show opened with the vigour of ‘Supervixen’ which went straight into ‘I think I’m Paranoid’. The non-stop urgency of these two lifted the crowd out of the lilt they had gone into and kicked them in the teeth. I’ve not seen Garbage live before and have always been assured they were a good live act. It took a while for the gig to get going tonight if I’m honest. After the frivolity of the opening duo, I felt they lacked something. It wasn’t until the classic ‘Why Do You Love Me?’ that things picked up. Shirley seemed to relax with the audience, and subsequently the band became looser and started smiling. Shirley was now prowling the stage like a caged animal, reaching into the faces of the front row to get a reaction to the “why do you love me?” line. It worked. From that moment on, songs like ‘#1 Crush’, ‘Cherry Lips’ and recent single ‘Blood For Poppies’ took on a life of their own. They sounded loud, spontaneous and well, just awesome.
The newer material like ‘Battle In Me’ and ‘Big Bright World’ sound so much better performed live than on record, there is an oomph that’s missing on record. I can imagine that the more they’ve been playing them on this tour, they evolve and grow. Tonight they sounded superb. By the time the set draws to a close, the audience has become deafening. Surprisingly, tonight hadn’t sold out. There were still a couple of hundred tickets available on the door, but those who gave the new album a chance were not disappointed. The closing duo of ‘Push It’ and ‘Vow’ almost blew the roof off the impressive hall. The band thanked us and left the stage.
Within moments they returned for the encore. ‘Automatic Systematic Habit’ is a typical Garbage title, and a proper Garbage type “in-yer-face” anthem. I feel the momentum was lost slightly by them performing the new album title track next, a simple ballad that for me, ruined a great flow. It would’ve been much better suited in the main set, but the mood was pulled back with a stunning version of ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ to close on.
The show tonight was about a band coming back literally from a break down and fall out of epic style, with nothing to prove but the fact that when they are on it, they hit the mark. The show was great, the interaction was impressive for a band of their stature, and they made it intimate despite the 3000 capacity. They were missed on the UK festival circuit this year, let’s hope for a return to these shores next year.