It’s been four years since Garbage last graced a Melbourne stage but last night Shirley Manson and band once again established that they own this city and newcomers can battle to take it off them. A 21-year-old history not only means Garbage are a tight outfit when they hit a stage but they are at the point of their career where their fans now seemed to have morphed into a loyal army rather than just a few people turning up wearing their T-Shirts.
I’ve never been to a Garbage show where the band hasn’t brought their A-Game and they did that yet again at the Regent Theatre last night. While the Theatre itself may not be the first venue in Melbourne that would spring to mind when an alternative band likes Garbage wants to do a show but the band and their fans made it their own and as fans rushed down the aisles to try and get close to Manson and Duke Erikson. And if we learnt anything about the venue last night it’s that if you’re on the lower level the Regent actually becomes a pretty intimate feeling venue.
What we also learnt is that even after 21 years Garbage still sounds as fresh as they did make in the mid-1990s. If there was ever a night where Garbage shouldn’t have sounded fresh it was last night. Manson herself declared that she was heavily jetlagged, the band performed in Russia just a few days ago and had arrived in Melbourne the day before, she said she was the lucky one in the band having had 3 hours sleep – the rest of the band 0 between them.
That didn’t hamper them at all though, they hit the stage like a band on a mission exploding into a heavy rendition of Subhuman followed by fan favourites I Think I’m Paranoid and Stupid Girl which the crowd of hardened fans sang along to them like they were anthems. As the band caught their breath Shirley explained her love affair with Australia. This was the country that first embraced their music and is home to one of the few people they genuinely love the music, Michael Gudinski.
As the night went on the band found the perfect mix of new stuff and old classics. Tracks like Blackout, Magnetized, Night Drive Loneliness, Empty and the gloomy but atmospheric Even Though Our Love Is Doomed were all performed from Garbage’s latest offering Strange Little Birds. The band also used Sex Is Not The Enemy and Bleed Like Me to make strong points about modern society on the night. The crowd lapped up classics like Cherry Lips and Supervixen and went into raptures when the rarity from Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack #1 Crush began… a true delight.
The band really hit full flight though when they performed their heavier tracks like Push It and Vow while they playfully teased the audience with a slowed down opening to Only Happy When It Rains only to burst into life when the crowd least expected it. They closed the show with a near orchestral sounding Beloved Freak as a tribute to Melbourne.
Garbage delivered one of the shows of the year in Melbourne last night. Shirley Manson was full of energy, and despite some fold back issues performed faultlessly. She was backed well by her band mates who know that hard work and brilliant instrumentals are more important than showmanship or ‘playing up’ to an audience. There were 1000s of hardened Garbage fans at the Regent last night and not one left disappointed.
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