Six years. It’s been six years since Garbage last took to the stage together at a benefit concert organized by Butch Vig himself for musician Wally “Llama” Ingram, a friend and fellow drummer who had been battling cancer at the time. The date was January 31st, 2006, and Garbage hasn’t played a single show since. (Note: Manson repeatedly says it’s been over 7 years since they last played. I’m thinking they may not be counting this performance as they only played 3 songs. But I count it.)
Ahead of the May 22nd release of their 5th album, Not Your Kind of People, and promotional tour, the band took to the stage at The Bootleg Theater in Echo Park to test out their set list and get used to being on stage in front of an audience for the first time in so long.
Now I should probably add a disclaimer here that I am a huge Garbage fan. The show at the Bootleg was the 21st time that I have seen the band perform live. I have their name tattooed across my lower back in the font used for the first album. So I’ll admit, I’m probably a little biased when it comes to this show. It also means I had a pretty good idea of what to expect from a show like this – a surprise show announced only two days before, and in such a tiny venue that it’s sure to be the band using it as a “dress rehearsal” of sorts. I’d been to the bands final shows on their Version 2.0 tour, which ended with the band declaring they weren’t ready to be done yet, and taking requests from the crowd. So expected a pretty informal vibe to this show.
And I was right. Confusion over what song was to be played next. Technical glitches. They had them all, and it was fantastic. Because they didn’t get embarrassed, they laughed. Shirley Manson made jokes like asking how we thought their rehearsal was going, and said they didn’t feel like they needed to be nervous because they knew they were amongst family. Later she alluded to their notorious cancellation of a sizeable portion of their last tour, which rumor has it was due to burnout and some internal problems with the band, and told the crowd that “Communication has always been a problem with this band.” It was relaxed. It was playful. And it was exactly the kind of show any fan would kill to attend. This is why I love living in Los Angeles.
The set list consisted of a broad representation of their albums so far, with their self titled debut getting a rather impressive number of tracks played, and their not as popular BeautifulGarbage only showing with one track.
- “Supervixen” – Kicking it off with the first track off the first album? We knew we were in for a good show.
- “Temptation Waits”
- “Shut Your Mouth” – BeautifulGarbage’s only track to be played. I would have gone for “Cherry Lips,” “Androgyny,” or “Breaking Up The Girl,” but this track has never been one of my favorites.
- “Metal Heart”
- “Stupid Girl”
- “Why Do You Love Me?”
- “#1 Crush” – Manson stumbled on the lyrics for this one.
- “The Trick Is To Keep Breathing” – Manson noted this is the first time since their second tour they’d played this track live. On a personal note: This is my all time favorite track of theirs and I had never seen them perform it live before. There may have been tears.
- “Blood For Poppies”
- “Man On A Wire” – Manson noted this is her favorite track off the new album, and it was the first time the audience would have heard the track as it was unreleased previously. A more rock guitar driven sound than the poppier “Blood For Poppies,” I have a feeling this will be high on my list as well.
- “I Think I’m Paranoid”
- “Bad Boyfriend”
- “Only Happy When It Rains” – They’ve always played with the intro to this song, but I don’t recall hearing this new quite slow intro before, but loved it.
- “Push It”
- “The World Is Not Enough” – which would probably explain this tweet:
- “Battle In Me”
All in all the energy was great, the crowd was obviously very into it, and Garbage is back. Will be seeing the band perform again at the second of two sold out shows at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on April 10th. It’ll be interesting to see if the vibe or setlist change a bit from the “dress rehearsal” to what’s sure to be a more formal showing at the El Rey.