It was as if they’d never been away. Flame-haired Scottish siren Shirley Manson and her American band returned to glorious form tonight after a seven-year hiatus. Despite touring to promote a new album, Not Your Kind Of People, which hits record stores next week, the band rewarded their patient fanbase and the evening consisted of some serious old school Garbage.
They started at the very beginning, kicking off with “Supervixen” the first track on their self-titled debut from 1995. Fifteen years on Manson has retained her Jessica Rabbit sultriness, striding around in a pair of tiny hot pants and gyrating against the microphone stand. She managed to produce wild shrieks from the audience with one raised eyebrow.
With artificial wind blowing her red hair around her like a mermaid, Manson could have been Madonna or Lady Gaga. It was hard to watch anything else and the rest of the band seemed to acknowledge this, keeping to the back of the stage, making themselves invisible. The cult of Shirley Manson was out in force too: girls with imitation red hair and bunches were everywhere.
Parts of the evening, such as the rapped opener to “Shut Your Mouth”, felt the wrong kind of nineties. But classics like “Stupid Girl”, “Queer” and “#1 Crush” transported us right back to the grunge years. Having never quite conformed to one particular genre back in the day, Garbage have maintained a mishmash style of electronica, base-led tracks and roaring, grungy guitar over which Manson’s distinctive vocals soar. Shame the sound system at the Troxy meant some of it was more muffled than it should have been.
Six songs in, Manson stopped proceedings and said: “Sorry can we stop a minute. I thought I could get through the show in my high heels but I can’t.” She then thoroughly enjoyed herself with jokey innuendo as a backstage helper laboriously removed her boots for her and scuttled off. Soon everyone was singing along to the orchestral strains of “The World Is Not Enough” and the old school rewards kept coming with “Paranoid”, “Milk” and “Only Happy When It Rains” getting the crowd jumping.
Garbage have talked about the strain touring put on them prior to their hiatus. They were playing arenas around the world, being pushed by their record label to make money and all at the expense of the creative process. Now, back playing more intimate venues they seem back in their element.
Shut Your Mouth
Why Do You Love Me
The World is Not Enough
Blood For Poppies
Battle in Me
Man On A Wire
I Think I'm Paranoid
I’m Only Happy When It Rains
Automatic Systematic Habit
Trick Is To Keep Breathing