Review of Garbage live at Glasgow Barrowlands on July 4 2012

Two weeks worth of rain fell in Glasgow on Wednesday night as public transport struggled to cope with the weather as train lines were flooded forcing commuters to make alternate plans to get home. But come hell or high water, Garbage fans descended upon the Barrowlands for the return of their own Shirley Manson and her Wisconsin hailing bandmates.


Seven years have passed since their previous tour was indefinitely postponed and the band went on hiatus. For their fans it has been a long seven years of waiting.
But they collectively exhaled when Manson swaggered onstage to the sound of 'Supervixen' tearing through the audience like an atomic shockwave.

Wearing red hotpants with a black top and a pink cape Manson oozed class and poise she led Garbage through a one hour and fifty minute set with her dark, haunting voice. Duke Erikson looked visibly happy as he rejoined the band last week after rushing back home to see his ill mother. But Erikson and the rest of the band, guitarist Steve Marker, drummer Butch Vig and touring bassist Eric Avery were at the top of their game.

Not playing in your home country for seven years is bound to make anyone nervous and this showed in 'I Think I'm Paranoid' when Manson went to sing a line at the bridge when it shouldn't have been sung until towards the end. But in a set of near perfect alt pop rock it can be forgiven as the strength of the set shone through overall.

For possibly their biggest hit 'Stupid Girl' arrived particularly early in the night.
But the opening was freshened up with a sample of Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love.'
The sound of the synth merged with that instantly recognisable drum intro from Butch Vig. New songs from the band's new album 'Not Your Kind Of People' sat beside older songs very well. None more so than 'Control,' which is a throwback to something that could be found on their self-titled debut album from 1995.

However one of the biggest highlights of the night came when Garbage launched into 'Push It' from version 2.0. Glasgow crowds are known to be energetic but this song in particular brought out the best in them. Later in the set Manson had banter with the crowd saying she felt bad for saying it but the Manchester crowd from the night before were a bit louder. Never one to back down from a challenge the Barrowlands audience accepted and it was as if Manson had awoken a beast.
She replied saying that was more like it.

This concert will no doubt be a memorable show for Shirley Manson. Many of her family were in the audience to see her play in Scotland for the first time in years.
She proclaimed how much Scotland means to her wherever she travels and what it meant to be back at the Barrowlands. She dedicated 'Special' to former Goodbye Mr MacKenzie bandmate and boyfriend, Martin Metcalfe.

The main set was rounded of by the band's first single 'vow'. It is possibly sounding the best it ever has done as the band went for the jugular one last time before an encore. Upon returning to the stage played they played 'Automatic systematic habit' from the new album.

Manson then spoke to the audience one more time, citing how much her Father meant to her as a person and how he shaped her personal development over the years. She then waxed lyrical about his love for author Robert Louis Stevenson.
They then played 'The Trick Is To Keep Breathing'.

Probably having taken note of the weather and remembering where they were playing, Garbage rounded of the night with 'I'm Only Happy When Rains'.
This was the perfect chance for the crowd to have one last hurrah as they jumped in unison.

And with that the houselights were up and Garbage left the stage waving to the audience as they departed. In a world of Lady Gaga, talent shows on TV and a music industry continually moving away from substance, this performance showed what made Garbage good the first time round and today's youngsters how alt rock should be done.


Shaun Kelly

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