GARBAGE: 20 Years Paranoid Tour. 9th September 2018. Manchester Academy.

10 09 2018

garbage

There are some experiences in life that can never be replicated. There are some moments where words do not do what you have been through justice. Last night I saw Garbage perform a record in full that came out 20 years ago. This is the record that saved my life. This isn’t an exaggeration; it’s the truth. Music has, and always will be my crutch but Version 2.0 helped me in ways, and still helps me in ways nothing else has. Or could.

This isn’t a typical review of a show. This wasn’t just me going to see a band play live. This was something else. This was an outer-body experience. It was part healing, part saving, part something that I do not know how to put into words.

There were a few songs I knew would break me. I tried listening to one in particular a few days before the show and I couldn’t make it through. How was I going to cope seeing it live? As soon as the opening notes to Medication kicked in, I suddenly wished I was on a higher dose of sertraline. My mind and body couldn’t really come together to fathom what I was experiencing. The brutal truth; Medication got me through being bullied all through secondary school, it got me through the years and years of self-loathing and what comes with it. Just read the lyrics, it’s fairly obvious how I coped. Do I regret it? No. Am I ashamed? Not at all. We all cope differently. So when I heard this song last night, I went back to the days of feeling like I did then. But something happened- it wasn’t just tears of sadness. They were tears of relief knowing that I don’t have to carry that feeling around ever again. Sure I have to face depression and anxiety every day- but certain feelings aren’t there no more.

A moment that truly stood out was Shirley crying at the response we gave the band. But, what else could they expect? People that were there last night were people who idolise the band, who have had their lives saved by them, who use the strength in the band make it theirs. Last night’s show was the best show I’ve ever been to- the main reason being what the record means to me. However, the reaction from everyone was just so beautiful, and totally backs up my theory that crowds in Manchester are just the best.

I loved when Shirley went into Personal Jesus during Wicked Ways. It went perfectly, and was something I just wanted to last forever. I also loved Dreams by Fleetwood Mac being sung by Shirley towards the end of You Look So Fine. That song has always made me cry for reasons I’ll never understand, and to hear Shirley sing You Look So Fine and expose just how vulnerable the song is was just something else. Push It sent everyone nuts- it was incredible. I was stood right at the back, but to see everyone go off for this song was so beautiful. The crowd was made up of every background you can imagine, and it was just a beautiful sea of people coming together to see the band that they adore. There is no better feeling.

Every B-side was played, and my personal favourite was Solider Through This. It’s been a song I have loved since I heard it years and years ago. I loved the fragility in it. I loved Shirley’s speech before she went into it. She said relationships shouldn’t be difficult, that they should be easy. I truly felt that- I was stood next to my girlfriend, my best friend as she said this. There was no one else I’d want to see my favourite band with, and allow them to see me ugly cry like that. Although a difficult song for her to sing live (the lyrics justify why) Shirley’s voice on this was one of my favourite moments of the show. Shirley’s voice at this show was nothing short of mind-blowing. I have never heard anyone sound so tough and powerful. There’s a note in this song near the end that she totally annihilates and every single part of me is covered in goose bumps. She does this numerous of times throughout the show, and I think it’s us, the crowd that make her sound louder than she ever has. I was just in awe of her voice and how Butch, Eric, Duke and Steve play with this energy that puts newer bands to shame.

The Trick Is To Keep Breathing was the song that made me cry the most. I’ve never ever cried like that at a show before, and I never will again-unless it’s seeing this song. This song was my lifeline for so long, and it still is. It’s my go to song when everything is too much or when I just need some form of reassurance. I used to repeat the chorus in my head as I walked the corridors at school and had this feeling in my stomach knowing what I was about to face. This song got me through it, and I am forever in debt to Garbage for this song.

When you go to a Garbage show, you are enamoured by all of them. You focus on Shirley stalking the stage like a hungry panther, Butch makes you wish you could play the drums, Duke is the coolest person on the planet, Steve has this laid-back stance but you know he is playing with everything he’s got and Eric drives the band on. I’ve never seen such a perfect bunch of musicians like this before. They fit together. Their bond is just so beautiful.

Excuse the pun, but it was such a special show. Every song made me feel like I was going back 20 years ago to hear this record for the first time all over again. I loved that there were little kids at the show wearing massive headphones-imagine that being your first show you ever go to! Those kids have cool families. I love how this show just brought so many people together all for the same reason. I loved hearing The World Is Not Enough,  Dumb and their cover of Can’t Seem To Make You Mine. Temptation Waits blew my mind a stupid amount! I wanted the show to keep going forever. In my head, it still is. I’m emotionally exhausted from it and I’ve had about 5 hours sleep. I feel like I am still at the show. I want to always stay in that moment.

The show ended perfectly on their cover of Starman. That song has always made me cry (what doesn’t… I know!) and to hear them sing this song, it kind of felt like the band were saying “Stay weird and don’t let anyone take it from you. Ever.” Just like Bowie always did. The way Shirley sings this makes you realise she has definitely studied his performances, and she did the song justice. They all did. They made this song theirs but in a way, you knew it was a tribute and it was so perfectly done.

I never thought I’d see/hear the songs live that saved my life. I never thought I’d experience it. It meant more to me than these words I’ve written can express. If on the off-chance they read this- thank you. You helped this kid deal with more than they could carry, and make it to adulthood.





GARBAGE. O2 Brixton Academy. 8th November 2015.

9 11 2015

For some reason I never thought I would see my favourite band of all time live. I thought after the tour in 2004 that I had tickets for was cancelled, I wouldn’t have the chance again. Time wasn’t on my side and any dates announced after I couldn’t make. Would I really never see the songs that saved my life in the flesh? Would I never get the chance to see the band that gave me hope when I was a miserable teenager with no clear way out?

It happened. It finally happened. This evening I finally got to see Garbage live and it was everything I hoped it would be. I was stood downstairs in the midst of it all. And in the seating area was a friend from secondary school who loves them as much as I do. To know she was up there watching made the gig mean more. Two kids from a small island in the middle of south London watching the best band in the world.
The gig was a celebration of 20 years since the release of their debut record. I was about 9 years old when it came out. The video to Vow gripped me. I was old before my years. My father had just died and I was dealing with it however a kid is meant to. For me it was music, and that set in stone how I was to face daily life-through music.
The band walked on stage and I, like a wuss, cried. I cried because it was finally happening. I cried because everything that had happened in the lead up to this started to slip away. I’ll never be tough but I can work on being brave. That’s what Garbage’s music means to me and has taught me. Shirley Manson has ALWAYS been such a huge part in my life. Through knowing someone dealt with life in an unconventional way like I did when I was a teenager to making it to adulthood with a few scraps along the way. I made it, they made it. We all made it.
The anniversary shows consist of songs from the debut record and the gorgeous b-sides that came along for the ride also. Last week I watched in awe Patti Smith rip apart the Roundhouse. On the other side of the river I watched my other heroes do the same. From Shirley forgetting to put her underwear on to the euphoria that erupted as they tore into Only Happy When It Rains. It was such a beautiful sight and such a great thing to be part of.
Garbage welcome anyone and their music speaks to so many. They found me when I was lost, and to this day they continue to do so. I have my good days and I have my bad days, but one thing that’s always constant is this bands ability to drag me through hell and back.
As I looked on, I felt glad that I went the right way and ended up here. I finally got to see the band that own every inch of my heart and soul in the flesh. I’ll never see the Velvet Underground but Garbage created my love for music, the rest just followed. In some respects I was catapulted back to my teenage years but it felt like a blur and it was over far too quickly. In the best way possible, this was the most emotionally draining gig I’d ever been to. I guess it is because I had been waiting for so long and it got to the point where it just became this blur in my mind. But I’ll cling onto everything I witnessed and felt.
You don’t forget the songs that saved your life, the first band you fell in love with or things like that. Those things stick with you because they are what spurs you on and drags you along. I felt like I was watching Garbage 20 years ago. I felt like I was watching them back in 95/96, I didn’t feel like I was watching a band who have been around for so long. That’s what made it great and it felt like home.
Every generation needs a voice, a person who stands up and tells those in the wrong to fuck off. I regard Shirley as highly as Patti Smith. She stalks the stage like a majestic panther, pacing up and down. With her candy floss pink hair flowing around as she runs around the stage with determination and power.  Creating shadow boxing like moves on the stage. The stage is her ring. She’s a fucking fighter and that’s why she’s on another level compared to most. The band sound stronger than most bands I’ve seen, and they make you feel like you’re watching a new band rather than one that’s been around for some time.  It just adds to the reasons as to why they’re the best.
This obviously isn’t a typical review, and if you want something that will tell you what they wore etc you won’t find it here.  Live music has this ability to bring something out of you that nothing else and no one else can. I guess you could call Garbage superheroes. They’re my heroes and have been for the past 20 years. It was emotionally draining to experience but it was for the greater good. Even writing it feels exhausting, but I think the show was a body of inspiration. I’ll probably never feel like this again seeing any other band, but that’s okay. I love a lot of bands, but none hold such weight in my heart like Garbage do. I probably sound like an overly sensitive mess, and maybe that’s what I am. But this band kept me going when nothing else did. They sometimes still do. You can feel this at any age, and as I get older I start to feel less ashamed about how I feel about things or how certain things make me feel.
This gig will stay with me a hell of a long time, and much like the music, perhaps it will serve as a crutch.
If by some weird bout of fate the band see this, thank you and I love you.