Musical powerhouse Garbage played to a full house of diehard fans last week at Toronto’s Sound Academy.
Nearly two decades later and Garbage are rocking harder than ever. With five albums to their name, including their seminal self-titled debut and Version 2.0, the Madison, Wisconsin foursome had a very respectable bank of music with which to dazzle their fans. And dazzle they did, playing a nearly two hour, high energy and exceptionally fun set at the Sound Academy.
Shirley Manson (vocals), Butch Vig (drums), Duke Erikson (guitar) and Steve Marker (guitar) seem to be more in their prime now than they ever were in their nineties heyday. Manson moved seamlessly between the roles of cute and playful frontwoman, complete with adorably accented stage banter, and seriously seductive songstress, oozing confidence and sexuality with every note and movement. “Hammering in my head” and “#1 Crush” were the perfect examples, every breathy word from Manson’s mouth drawing the audience into her web of seduction. Her male bandmates couldn’t help but be somewhat overshadowed by her intense presence, but they managed to not only hold their own but shine from time to time as well. The guitar riffs on “Why do you love me” (Bleed Like Me) and “When I grow up” reminded everyone in the room that Erikson and Marker were not only masters at producing other musicians, but guitar masters in their own right. Not to be left out, Vig’s pounding to perfection performances of “When I grow up” brought every 30 plus fan in the room back to their youth – when bands like Garbage made teenage angst both survivable and almost desirable. Many in the room likely felt that the set should have ended on the ultimate sing along “Only happy when it rains”, or the powerful “Vow” that followed. Instead the band chose to end the set on a sweet but more sombre note with “Beloved Freak” from Not My Kind of People, which turned into a dedication to the diverse melange of fans in the Sound Academy; the young, the old, the eccentric, the put together, the collection of beloved freaks that were brought together by a love of Garbage.
Garbage didn’t leave fans waiting long before they barrelled back onto the stage, performing an encore set that was exactly what fans came to see. “Special” and “Stupid Girl” from those two most beloved early records had fans in happy hysterics, and the plaintively beautiful “You look so fine” finished things off; a song that left more than one fan with goosebumps on their arms and tears in their eyes. A performance that had fans running the gamut of emotions and excitement – nothing less can be expected from the absolutely incredible Garbage.
For more amazing photos of live music in Toronto, check out photographer Brian Patterson’s website here: http://www.brianpattersonphotos.com.