Garbage at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

Tonight’s band were ‘manufactured’. Full stop. Polar opposite to the usual mates or friends of friends coming together to form a band – two producers and a sound engineer thought it would be a rather good idea to form a band. Then they found a wee Scottish lass to front it. And while this particular path may not have been the easiest ‘Vow’ blew everyone away; four albums sold over 17 million albums in a decade – and then they disappeared from view. Tonight they’re back; they’re far from rubbish – they are, indeed, Garbage.

The Jezebels at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

Formed nearly 20 years ago, producers Butch Vig (who famously produced Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’, let alone countless others) and Duke Ericson and sound engineer Steve Marker wanted to come from behind production and use their expertise to create a band. After watching a documentary they came across Angelfish’s Shirley Manson and knew she was the girl for them. A multitude of hits later, they went on a sudden hiatus in 2005; it’s took them 8 years to come back out of the woodwork, to release new album ‘Not Your Kind of People’ and come back out on a world tour.

Garbage at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

Support tonight is from Australian alternative rockers The Jezabels. Big down under, they’ve also received airplay in the States, predominantly through US college radio. With female lead Hayley Mary on vocals they’re pretty rocky, Cranberries-esque in sound; the songs are indie rock epics. Clearly enjoying their journey round the UK, they are supporting Garbage across their UK dates.

Garbage at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

Garbage are playing just four dates in the UK as part of their ‘Not You Kind of People’ world tour – Wolves Civic is, quite surprising, just about half full. At 9am they appear starting up with ‘Supervixen’. Next up, sweetly, sweetly then in your face – ‘I Think I’m Paranoid’. Manson commands the stage, most the blokes in the audience drool, she’s strutting and posing – this is very much HER domain. We sing along. It’s the classics where she takes total control; for ‘Queer’ the immaculate stage lighting tonight, a white beacon of light shines directly onto her – you get that classic Garbage Manson imagery.

Garbage at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

‘Stupid Girl’ commences with a dance beat similar to Donna’ Summer’s ‘I Feel Love’ and slowly morphs into full-on rock version. Finally Manson speaks: “Good to see you all Wolverhampton! It’s been more than eight years!” She chats while she changes shoes: “it’s party time….” Then asks the audience “So, while we’ve been away, have you been good? Been to school?…. University?… Got a job?…..Found a girl?… Found a boy?…… Argued?…. Got back together?…. We did all of the above and some darker stuff… This goes out to all the Garbage fans….thank you for sticking with us!” and we’re back into the tracks: ‘Why Do You Love Me’ and ‘Control’ the later, with industrial rock boomerang feel. The audience rise to the poppy hit ‘Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)’ – Manson: “Absolutely beautiful to watch you all change and grow … as you watch us… we are watching you!”

Then we get new track ‘Blood for Poppies’ followed by ‘Special’ which morphs, albeit briefly, into ‘Talk of the Town’. Mason complains the fan keeping her cool is useless “…put on shopping list for tomorrow…” and we get some more of their new tracks before the uber-hits of ‘Push It’ and the classic ‘Vow.’

Garbage at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

Off and back on for the encore, we get a rising orgasmic introduction to each band member from Mason, who goes on to do the same for the road crew. “Shirley, Shirley, Shirley…” chant the crowd. “All present and correct…” To the audience: “Are you here? You as quiet as little church mice… I can make a bigger noise than you….” Then to new tracks ‘Automatic Systematic Habit’, title track ‘Not You Kind of People’ completed with the aptly titled ‘Only Happy When it Rains’ – another stand out track of the night.

Garbage are hugely professional – the lads rock out, the music in perfect sync. Manson is IN CHARGE of the stage – she has a hugely iconic stage presence – “slightly scary” as one person said to me, tonight her vocals were all well on song. Few women in rock can command a stage like she can. A shout out also has to go to the lighting guy – lots of comments on how good and clear it was – stage lit to perfection.

Garbage at Wolverhampton 02/07/12

Garbage tend to scoot between genres, from the grunge power tracks of ‘Vow’, through to their more pop hits – on a couple of tracks Manson raps, which is just a tad odd. Some songs are stronger than others: it is the grunge indie industrial rock where they show their true power. For this new album Garbage are doing it all by themselves – no record label in tow. Tracks are getting airtime – and the album is getting mixed reviews from a range of people I’ve spoken to. However, Garbage LIVE are well wortha punt seeing – they certainly deserved more than a half full Civic Hall tonight. And as this was the second in the four UK dates if you haven’t seen them – don’t know when the next chance will be – given their recent 8 year gap.

But given the crazy British Summer we’re currently experiencing, there was more than one happy fan that walked away singing…. “I’m Only Happy When It Rains…”

Set List:
I Think I’m Paranoid
Shut Your Mouth
Metal Heart
Stupid Girl
Why Do You Love Me
#1 Crush
Cheery Lips (Go Baby Go!)
Blood for Poppies
Trick is to Keep Breathing
Battle In Me
Big Bright World
Bad Boyfriend
Push It

Automatic Systematic Habit
Not Your Kind of People
Only Happy When It Rains

Garbage [1995]
Version 2.0 [1998]
Beautiful Garbage [2001]
Bleed Like Me [2005]
Not Your Kind of People [2012]

Gig Review: Zyllah Moranne-Brown
Gig Pictures: John Bentley

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