Photography By: Anna Sklavos
Words By: Giancarlo Cortez
On October 26, 2015 The Heavy Press got to catch the 20th anniversary tour of Garbage’s self-titled album at The Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, with support from Torres
Brooklyn based songwriter Torres (Mackenzie Scott) started things up with a crushing set that got heavy at times. The crowd looked a little surprised, maybe they expected an acoustic show? A mosh pit almost erupted towards the end. Torres looked like she passed the test!
Prior to the headliners, the fans were entertained by an amusing collage of home-made videos featuring the band mixed with OJ Simpson footage and the early days of the internet.
The American-Scottish band has covered a lot of ground in 20 years. They have done ballads that will make you weep and heavy/trip hoppy songs that will leave you faded. However, the musicians promised they would focus on their self-titled album… Gotta love how they don’t play it safe!
The charismatic singer Shirley Manson almost pulled a “Paranoid” by pretending to lift up her skirt. The dudes at the front looked Shirleynoid! The tension and energy released by Shirley was just uncontrollable as she would not stop intensifying her lyrical sophistication. All the while guitar players Duke Erikson and Steve Marker turned in classy, artful riffs plus rhythm changes.
Towards the end of the show the versatile band broke their promise. The band closed the 2 hour set with “Automatic Systematic Habit” off 2012’s Not Your Kind Of People and “Push It” off 1997’s Version 2.0. “Automatic Systematic Habit” emerged as an instant modern classic, Duke and Steve hitting their stride with a succession of slashing riffs. The long-time fans left satisfied. However, the first timers were not really impressed. Perhaps the entire debut album was too obscure for them? A casual fan shouted “Give me more Garbage!” Anyway, Last time in 2013 the die-hard fans got the classics at the same venue. This time around… they got rare stuff!
I cannot finish this review without mentioning that beautiful stage, nearly everything around the band was bathed in pink, from Butch Vig’s drum kit to Shirley’s guitar, and the stage lights. If you don’t have great songs as well as an instant identifiable image, you’re going to be dead in the water.