Sunday, November 19, 2023

From The Archives #4 - Garbage live review

Originally Published 2005-04-14


Venue: Warfield Theatre, Market and Sixth St, San Francisco

Date: April  10, 2005

Venue Vibe: an almost exact replica of London's Hammersmith Odeon (or whatever it's called now); capacity  ca. 3500.

The Low-down: Having cancelled their previous show due to band illness, it fell to this performance to usher in a new era in the career of Garbage.  Fresh from the sessions for their back-to-basis new album Bleed Like Me the band had not played together in two and a half years...but you wouldn't have known it from this performance.

Opening with the highly appropriate yet somewhat plodding "Queerest of the Queer", it took the second song and surely future hit single Bad Boyfriend to really get us rockin'.  Shirley Manson weaved about the stage like a spinning top as the bands twin guitar attack sliced through the marijuana smoke shrouding the stage.   It was apparent early on that the pared down approach to Bleed Like Me has been replicated in the live arena; the computers and DAT tapes have been banished apart from where absolutely necessary.

Visually, Garbage are a strange proposition this side of Pink Floyd.  While Butch Vig's transformation from nob-twiddler on Nirvana's Nevermind to fully-fledged rock drummer seems somewhat unlikely, surely Steve Marker's double life as rock guitarist and Professor of History is even more perplexing....seriously, he looks as though he'd be more comfortable in an academic study in Cambridge rather than rippin' it up with a rock band; all that's missing is the leather elbow patches...

Nevertheless, the band rattled through their set like they'd never been away.  The impressive Garbage back catalogue was sprinkled with songs from the new album, and it was hard to differentiate hit from future hit.  And all delivered by top class musicians.  Fantastic.

Review by Westöid

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