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Live Review: Garbage – 14th September 2018 – Brixton Academy, London, UK

4 min read
Photo: BB Gun Press

Twenty years for any band to stay together in its original form is quite something. During that time many acts across all genres will come and go but it’s the ones that stick it out that truly make their mark on the wide musical landscape, and Garbage are one of those bands.

After the global success of their self titled debut record of 1996, a year that sprouted a huge number of iconic 90’s records, the four piece made up of front-woman Shirley Manson, drummer Butch Vig, guitarist and keyboardist Duke Erikson and guitarist Steve Marker went on to release several more records including their latest, 2016’s Strange Little Birds. The follow up to their ‘96 breakthrough came in the citrus covered but meaty form of 1998’s Version 2.0 which offered us a handful of hits including the pop-laced Special, Push It, You Look So Fine, I Think I’m Paranoid and When I Grow Up and the record is celebrating its 20th birthday this year by way of a tour that sees the iconic collective hit the road for a 3rd time in the past 5 years to bring fans the record in its entirety, along with many of its singles’ b-sides.

As the lights dimmed the band emerged beneath a quilt of smoke and the crowd erupted as front woman Shirley Manson appeared in a stylish, oversized red bin bag inspired outfit, black and white polka dot leggings, stomping boots and a hair style very reminiscent of Fraggle Rock’s Red before opening b-side Afterglow opened the preceding 90 minutes of rock nostalgia.

Still sounding undated and as fresh as they did two decades ago, the records prominent singles were the obvious highlights of the night as were seen and loudly heard from the crowd which formed giant mosh-pits for early hit Temptation Waits and Special, the most poppy of the singles from the album; each delivered with each ad-lib and guitar solo in their original form and position while When I Grow Up and Push It injected some of the heavier doses of nostalgia into the evening.

Manson remained on top form from opening note to closing chord as she prowled the gritty Brixton Academy stage like a vixen while her band mates delivering masterful instrumentation to the hits that flowed thick from bands impeccable early catalogue.

Dotted around the set-list fans were treated to the b-sides that accompanied the singles ripped from the album; I Think I’m Paranoid’s Afterglow & Deadwood providing a surprising introduction to the night while Special’s 13x Forever nestled modestly into the middle of the set and You Look So Fine’s Get Busy With The Fizzy and Soldier Through This appearing later in the set – all standing as boldly as any of the mammoth single cuts turned out throughout the night.

Down-tempo notables including the Milk of Version 2.0, You Look So Fine, the syrupy The Trick Is To Keep Breathing and the bands Bond theme, The World Is Not Enough had the sold out crowd mesmerised while headbangers like early highlight and personal Version 2.0 classic Temptation Waits encouraged the audience to work up a sweat and bounce to the meaty rhythm and churning guitar work of Manson’s seasoned band brothers.

Numbers like No Horses were dedicated to the front-woman’s outspoken views on the Trump administration which were met with a deafening wall of sound from from the crowd in agreement to the singer while closing Beautiful Garbage single and one of the more pop drenched inclusions of the night, Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go), allowed the sold out crowd a chance to single along with the red-headed rock icon before leaving the venue on a sweet high.

The band have been performing the Brixton Academy for 23 years, as Manson pointed out in her heartfelt thank you to the venue, its staff and all those who have helped the bands career, and it will remain one of the finest performances this reviewer has seen from the outfit and any band at the iconic south London venue to date.

Set List:
Temptation Waits
Wicked Ways (with interlude of Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus”)
The World Is Not Enough
13x Forever (with The Kinks’ “Tired Of Waiting” outro)
Get Busy With the Fizzy
Hammering in My Head
Thirteen (Big Star cover)
Can’t Seem to Make You Mine (The Seeds cover)
I Think I’m Paranoid
Sleep Together
Soldier Through This
Lick the Pavement
Push It
When I Grow Up
You Look So Fine (with Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” outro)

The Trick Is to Keep Breathing
No Horses
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)