Bootleg Theater – Los Angeles, CA
Words & Photos by God Frank/Videos by Hipster73
You can just call me Oscar the Grouch, because I love garbage! Put me in a pair of Speedos, toss me in a dumpster and just let me roll around in it. But enough about last weekend, I love Garbage the band too! Their self-titled debut album is one of my all-time favorites. It’s been 7 years since their last effort Bleed Like Me and also 7 years since anyone has seen them perform live. So I was really happy to hear that they are finally coming out with a new CD next month. That happiness was enhanced by news that they were going to start touring again. More happiness came finding out that the tour would start here in LA next week. That happiness tsunami nearly pushed me over the edge to wetting myself when I found out that they were going to play a warm up concert at the Bootleg Theater on Good Friday!
Although the show’s limited number of tickets sold out quickly after the show was announced I was lucky enough to snag one. So I headed down to the Bootleg, to see just what is in store for the rest of LA and the world when the tour begins in ernest next week.
I didn’t know if they were going to be playing just the new music from the yet to be released Not Your Kind of People or if they would be mixing in the old stuff too. As it turns out the show was more of a greatest hits type event. Maybe they didn’t want to go crazy with new music that the audience hasn’t had the opportunity to hear yet or maybe they just felt like they needed to practice the older tracks that they haven’t played for over 7 year. Either way the show was a fans dream with hit after hit after hit.
In the beginning it didn’t seem like they needed any practice at all, knocking out “Supervixon,” “Temptation Waits,” and “Shut Your Mouth” flawlessly. It was like they had never taken a break and the crowd was going crazy jumping up and down and shaking the springy floors of the Bootleg Theater like there was an 8.0 earthquake.
After a couple more flawless tunes including “Metal Heart” and “Queer,” the band actually kicked it up to a higher gear and totally blew the roof off the place with absolutely stellar performances of “Stupid Girl” and “Why Do You Love Me” both of which would have been show stoppers for most bands, but Shirley and the gang were just getting started.
Unfortunately, this is where we started seeing a few cracks in the armor and the reason they were doing a warm up show. During “#1 Crush” lead singer and front woman Shirley Manson actually messed up the lyrics. She covered it extremely well, essentially singing one verse twice while skipping over another. A non Garbage fan probably wouldn’t have noticed, but I for one love that song and definitely noticed as did everyone else around me. After a rough start for “The Trick is to Keep Breathing” they totally botched the beginning of “Vow.” They actually had to stop the song and Shirley had to adlib for a couple of minutes while one of the guitarists had to work out an issue.
With a lot of bands this would have been seriously awkward the show could have really spiraled out of control. But this was just a warm show and it exists to work out those issues. Rather than be embarrassed Shirley had fun with it saying “Perfection is boring, right?” and at one point offered refunds to anyone who wanted one. There were no takers.
In fact this actually added to the awesomeness of the show. The entire night had a relaxed, rehearsal vibe to it, something Shirley kept referring to. At one point she even mentioned that if this had been a rehearsal, this is where they would take a break to get dinner or maybe a Starbucks.
There were no breaks to be had yet though and after “Vow” they finally kicked into some new music. First up was “Blood for Poppies”, which is also the first single from the new disc. Its solid jam that when I first heard I was a little indifferent towards, but it is really starting to grow on me. Next was Man on a Wire. This song absolutely rocks! I kinda wish this was their first single. I absolutely loved it.
It was back to the hits like “Milk” and “I Think I’m Paranoid.”. Then I had my head completely blown off. In what was for me the highlight of the night, they brought the house down with an amazing rendition of “Only Happy When It Rains.” They mixed the song up a little bit and the song started with Shirley singing the first verse acoustically as a ballad, before the full band kicked in for the more traditional rock version at the chorus. Then in the middle of song they worked in a break where Shirley again sang a verse acoustically before the band went back to rocking it out. It was brilliant and amazing. Hands down the best performance I have ever seen of that song. It was a total showstopper. I actually though that would be the last song of the set, but they kept the energy up and gave us one more song with “Push It.”
At that point they left the stage, but of course when the band leaves but the lights don’t come up, you know an encore is coming. After a couple of minutes they returned and Shirley asked if we had time for a few more songs. I kinda wish we all could have let out a big “DUH!” in unison, but instead we just cheered and were rewarded with a special performance of “Special” followed by “The World is Not Enough.” Would you believe me if I told you that a girl in the audience actually yelled out a request for that song during the main set? I couldn’t believe it either. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay, and a great James Bond song, but I can think of a few other songs I would have preferred hearing in the encore (“Cherry Lips” anyone?!).
Okay, that’s nitpicking.
They finished up with only the third song from the new CD. I don’t know how you close a show with a new song that nobody in the crowd has heard before? But Battle In Me kicks ass! It’s a pulse pounding, hard rocking jam that is totally worthy of being a show closer and by the end of it the entire place was jumping out of their skins rocking out to it. That is all you need to know about the new CD, it is going to be off the hook. At one point in the show Shirley told the crowd that when they were making this disc they all knew they were making something amazing. I have no doubt that she is right. Despite the few problems that a warm up show is designed to work out, this was one phenomenal show and I am thrilled to have been one of the few who got to experience it. Garbage is back!