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Friday, October 19, 2018

Garbage Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of Its Second Album With an Invigorating Show at Hard Rock Live

Concert Review

Posted By on Fri, Oct 19, 2018 at 9:26 AM

click to enlarge SCOTT SANDBERG
  • Scott Sandberg
When the gearhead guys from Madison, WI recruited Scottish singer Shirley Manson to form Garbage, they struck gold. A terrific singer with a big, soulful voice, Manson also happens to be one helluva performer. She put her talent on display last night during an invigorating two-hour set at Hard Rock Live that celebrated the 20th anniversary of the band’s second album, 2.0.

You can see a slideshow of photos from the concert here.

Fittingly, the four guys in the band all wore black and positioned themselves at the rear of the stage and mostly stuck to the shadows, giving Manson room to roam the stage. That's not a slight against their performance, either. They sounded as tight as ever, and hard-hitting drummer Butch Vig anchored the whole operation, but the spotlight appropriately remained on Manson for the concert.

Wearing a glittering orange dress and fishnet stockings, Manson looked both elegant and sexy. She started things off with the sultry “Afterglow,” but the tempo would pick up for “Temptation Waits,” a industrial rock-inspired track with a Nine Inch Nails-like vibe. The band punctuated “Wicked Ways” by sneaking in a snippet of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” and the synth-pop tune sounded much heavier in Garbage's hands. Garbage then showed off its pop sensibilities with the catchy “Special.” Manson introduced the anthem “Get Busy with the Fizzy” as their one and only “party song,” and she subsequently  rapped her way through the shimmering “Hammering in My Head,” a tune that featured an atmospheric mid-song section and some muscular guitar work.

The group struggled to capture the power-pop sensibilities of the Big Star tune “Thirteen” but got back on track with a rowdy rendition of the Seeds’ garage rock tune “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine,” for which they turned up the reverb on the guitars. Manson introduced “Soldier Through This,” a B-side that she said the band only performed once prior to the current tour, as a feminist statement about patriarchy, something she only realized as the group revisited the song for the reissue of 2.0. She dedicated the song to all the women in the audience, and the power ballad nicely led to the pop-punk “Lick the Pavement,” a tune Manson said was about “eating pussy,” and the snappy “Push It,” which found Manson standing atop the drum riser as she sang.

“When I Grow Up” and “You Look So Fine” rounded out the terrific 20-song set, which included a few riffs of the Fleetwood Mac track "Dreams." The band returned to start the encore with the moody “The Trick is to Keep Breathing,” a tune that Manson said has become a “classic Garbage song.”

During the course of the concert, the band played 2.0 in its entirety (but not in the order in which the songs appear on the disc), showing just how relevant the album (and its various B-sides) remains. Manson's dynamic performance suggested this veteran band remains at the top of its game after a solid 25-year run.

Rituals of Mine opened with a half-hour set. Playing on a dimly lit stage, the two-piece didn’t win the crowd over with its dense mix of techno and rock that lacked any real pop hooks and favored texture over song structure.

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