Thursday 10 May 2012

Garbage at The Troxy - 9 May 2012


The first thing to say is that the Troxy in East London is one of the most unfriendly and paranoid venues that I’ve ever been to. I don’t mind the security checks on the door, but I’m not impressed by the teams of spotters within the venue itself who busy themselves insisting that even the smallest bag which had already been checked on the way in is then removed and placed outside the room. 

I also fail to see much logic in their insistence that the plastic bottles of water that they sell you are to be decanted into er...plastic glasses. There are rubber rooms in insane asylums that have more opportunity for self harm.

We are here to see the return of Garbage, who have been in limbo for a number of years while the band members took a rest from each other and replenished their various mojos.

The band start in an explosion of sound. Everything is louder than everything else and singer Shirley Manson’s voice is all but extinguished.

I pop in the ear plugs that I acquired on the Camden Crawl and everything is transformed. On one level, it’s rather like being underwater, on the other I can hear the singer and instruments clearly without all that top end distortion. So, ear plugs are the way to go unless you need to communicate with the guy stood next to you.

Shirley is sporting a shoulder length Rita Hayworth hairdo and is rocking a black pair of hot pants. She may look incongruous, but as ever, she’s definitely the one in charge round here. Duke Erikson and Steve Marker are pretty much dressed as accountants and go about their business with a minimum of show, Butch Vig pounding away on drums.

Garbage are plugging their new album ‘Not Your Kind Of People’ and are also limbering up for the summer festival circuit. So, whilst we get some new material, (all of which seems great and indicates the band returning to a heavier, guitar driven sound) there are also the hits.

Garbage are one of those bands that surprise you with the number of their songs that you didn’t realise that you already knew. ‘Queer’, ‘Happy When It Rains’, ‘When I Grow Up’ ‘Stupid Girl’, these tunes keep coming. The audience is delighted and Manson often allows them to do her singing for her, stretching her microphone towards the bawling throng.

For me, the highlight is ‘The World Is Not Enough’ Let’s face it – how many bands that you see have their own James Bond theme?

Manson has her family here tonight and thanks them, the band’s manager and Uncle Tom Cobleigh and all. It’s all genuine and unforced and cements the vibe that this is a band playing amongst friends. Garbage are as happy to see us as we are to see them.

Other than a minor confusion over the running order of the set list, this is a slick consummately professional show. Garbage in full flow are a mighty proposition.

It’s good to have them back.

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