“Well that was a monumental fuck-up wasn’t it?” proclaimed frontwoman Shirley Manson after losing the lyrics to classic Garbage track When I Grow Up. Fortunately, the crowd that had assembled at the Forum were more than ready to jump in and help her out.
Shirley and the clan sauntered onto the beautiful theatre stage at around 9:30 – fifteen minutes late, very rock and roll – and burst straight into Supervixen, a classic Garbage tune. The band, now verging on twenty years together, were as tight as ever and certainly ready to put on a show.
Shirley was lustful and bouncy as the group rocked through a mammoth two-hour set. Queer and Blood for Poppies made for great preparation for Push It, which got the whole crowd dancing, albeit a little too late for my liking.
If anything came across throughout the set it was how much ownership Shirley had of the band. The large part of the fanbase that had turned out were there for her, but the reason I turned up for Garbage was their drummer.
If you’re unfamiliar with the wonderful Butch Vig, he’s not only Garbage’s drummer but the producer of some of the greatest records of all time. He’s the man behind Nirvana’s Nevermind and more recently Foo Fighters head-turning Wasting Light, recorded on analog, He’s a little bit of a hero.
That being said, you can see why the Shirley fans exist. She strutted across the stage like it was her right, throwing every single ounce of energy she had into her entire performance. You wouldn’t believe that she’s 46 years old.
Once the ‘monumental fuck-up’ that was When I Grow Up, was finally over, Shirley offered the crowd a choice as she deferred from the setlist. In the end, the crowd deemed that the rarely performed Cup of Coffee was to get a play that evening. After that we were up to some big ones. Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!) was a mover and shaker, which saw Shirley get up close with some fans, who probably had a heart attack shortly afterwards. Although the crowd was mostly older, they managed to get their bounce on when ode to teenage angst Only Happy When It Rains got its beautiful little hook out into the acoustics of the Forum.
My only issue with the gig was that the closer Beloved Freak, while a fantastic tune, left me a little longing. The focus on older material was a definite plus for me and all the other long-time fans in the room, and I’ll bet that almost all of those in attendance went and caught them at Soundwave soon after – one Garbage show is not enough.