Garbage has always been a band that has slipped way under the radar. Their brand of alterno / electro sex has been going strong for over 20 years and the band has amassed an impressive count of songs that have been radio staples during their time on and off the rock plane. No band that has been together for that long can stay friends all the time. You can love someone and not like them, and Garbage has been vocal about their hiatuses. I have always been a fan, even with my love of them waning, ignoring their latest records without giving them their full due. But I finally had a chance to see them live, and they sparked that fandom once again. They recently played at Hard Rock Live, August 9th in Orlando, as part of the Rage and Rapture tour with Blondie and Deap Vally. While I was equally excited to see the other two acts, Garbage left an impression.
Like it or not, on stage this is Shirley Manson’s band and she is a bad ass. She sauntered to the microphone in a shimmery silver dress and holey fishnet stockings straight from 1994 looking like she hadn’t aged a day since they released their self-titled debut. Keep in mind Garbage’s drummer is the Nevermind, Siamese Dream Ph.D, producing giant Butch Vig who looked very comfortable behind his electronic drum set. But, unfortunately for the crowd… and…fortunately for me, Manson fulfilled every 90s boyhood fantasy, including my own. And when she sang “#1 Crush” from the Dicaprio vehicle Romeo + Juliet, I believe all the men in the arena wet themselves simultaneously.
The rest of the band, including ex Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, and guitarists / multi-instrumentalists Steve Marker, and Duke Erikson, were on point and tempered Manson’s stream of consciousness rants with tight musicianship. The band played something from every one of their records including the above “#1 Crush”, and the James Bond theme “The World is Not Enough” from when Pierce Brosnan donned the tuxedo. They also opened with the terrific new gem “No Horses” released last month and sprinkled songs from Garbage, Version 2.0 and Bleed Like Me throughout. The band closed strong playing a greatest hits parade of songs including “Stupid Girl”, “Only Happy When It Rains”, “Push It”, and the excellent “Vow” which sent the whole crowd into a tizzy.
I can’t leave this post without talking a little about Blondie. The band has been together for 40+ years and strutted out on stage to all the fanfare in the world. Debbie Harry, currently at 72 years old looking 30 years younger with mini-skirt to boot, was stunning. Unfortunately I can’t say the same for the rest of the band. But they rocked through it, and with their latest record Pollinator released earlier in 2017, the band aren’t showing signs of stopping anytime soon.