Gracing our shores for the second time, the most celebrated 90s alternative band, Garbage invaded our humble city once again after their long hiatus for their ‘Not Your Kind Of People’ tour.
On the night of 21st August 2012, faithful fans of the band who gave 90s alternative genre a good name came streaming in, clad in official ‘Garbage’ merchandise, of which the crowd was mainly made of middle aged concert-goers. And for some, the young punks, like myself, gathered right at the barricade, not wanting to discount ourselves from anything less than getting to see Shirley jive to their popular numbers, literally face to face.
Six years ago, I was introduced to this band by my sister. Being the hopeless romantic she is, the song “#1 Crush” was featured in the soundtrack of the modern-day Romeo & Juliet movie; ‘I would die for you, I would die for you. I’ve been dying just to feel you by my side’. As morbid as the lyrics may sound, it begs my ears to listen to more of their works and true enough, I became a fan.
The background music that was playing gave a promising atmosphere on what was to be expected that night from the heroes of the 90s alternative genre. I could hear the crowd humming to ‘Only Happy When It Rains’ and many others were jiving to the songs in the background. We were all pumped up and energy charged to the brim.
As the lights dimmed, the band made their grand entrance led by the man I personally admire, Butch Vig, followed by the rest. I remember vividly, spending day after day, staring at their album cover with their pictures that depicted the angsty youth of the day; all young, and full of vigour. Comparing that to seeing them on stage for the first time and noticing how much they’ve changed since, I bet the aging part played a huge role on the overall face of the band.
“Supervixen” was first song in the setlist for the night’s show, and the concert was off to a massive start! Shirley Manson, at the age of 46, moved and made entire stage her dancefloor, clad in her heels and leotard-fashioned outfit. She still has got that youth in her. The crowd roared as her voice rang across the concert floor and every single person in the crowd were moving in their own positions. Not one, not even one was spotted stationary in their spots.
The night took off further when they graced us with their popular numbers, from “Shut Your Mouth” to “Stupid Girl” and “Queer” before the crowd mellowed for the song I’ve long waited to hear. To watch it being performed live, right in front of my eyes, no less. Duke Erikson picked up the rhythm and the tone on the strings, working hand in hand with Steve Marker; Butch Vig mellows down the hits on the snare, while Shirley Manson crooned to the song; and as morbid as the lyrics may seem to the next person, it brought me back to the yesteryears of six years ago. Only that, back then I had my sister singing the song to me but on that night, I got the real deal. And I was blown away, beyond words. It left me feeling haunted, but of the good kind.
The evening continued as the band brought out the best in us, dancing and screaming our lungs out to their songs and “Push It” was one of my favourites performed that night. With the cheeky vibe given off, Shirley Manson pulled it off like a maiden in her 20s, working her moves around the stage with her stage antics that left the male crowd go ‘oooooh’. In between the set, Shirley Manson interacted with the crowd and shared her views about how exotic our local delicacy is. She pronounced ‘Ice Kachang’ as ‘Ice Ka-cheng’, which had the whole crowd laughing as earlier in the day, someone on Twitter commented how the word ‘ka-cheng’ was synonymous to the word ‘butt’ in Hokkien. She went on to say how she found the mixture weird and told the crowd “Well, we Scots have our Haggis and you have your Ice Ka-cheng”. The crowd had a good laugh, after which we were also informed of great news – that they are now managing their own record label. Upon hearing that, the masses grew louder and cheered on. Who says that the hiatus they had was a quiet one? Indeed, they came back with a BANG!
The crowd beckoned for an encore and we were serenaded with their new single ‘Not Your Kind Of People’. I wasn’t really digging the song then but after a few listens after that night, I was reminded how I got into loving their music in the first place. They have not changed after all these years. Though I was sceptical and afraid that perhaps because of their age, their performance would be compromised, I was a proven wrong and the realization came slapping across my face. Age is just a number. Vivacious and still full of energy, Garbage definitely left a mark in my 22 years of living.
Thank you LAMC Productions for bringing them in and letting us relive the good old days of 90s alternative music.