Thursday, August 09, 2012

A Shirley All-Too-Hot and Steamy Night of Impressive Garbage -- Chicago Concert Review

Concert Review

with White Mystery
Metro, Chicago
August 7, 2012

Almost as soon as Garbage took the stage at Metro Tuesday night, I couldn't wait for the show to end.

This doesn't mean that their performance was bad nor even that I didn't find the music highly enjoyable.

And I realize that this might sound like the kvetching of an fat old grump who knowingly no longer enjoys standing throughout general admission concerts--and typically avoids them.

But although this isn't the fault of Garbage themselves, I can't say I had much fun at their show. 

While I salute the Metro in celebrating its 30th year as one of Chicago's most notable concert venues, the rare exception I made in going to a concert hall without any non-VIP seating options will become even more rare.

Ironically, as I found a post in the back of the room to lean on, discomfort due to standing for the show's duration wasn't even the problem. But even at the very back of the Metro's extremely full main floor, I was packed in like a proverbial sardine and--without any noticeable air conditioning or fans near me--I found myself sweating with about the same profuseness I would in a sauna.

Plus, I was next to a woman with a beer cart who was a bit neurotic about anyone crowding her space, and also had hundreds of people squeezing by me on their way to and from the beer.

So while I should focus more on Garbage itself--which I wish I could've done more pleasurably at the show--it's unavoidable for me to take measure of their performance without noting how the surroundings mitigated my enjoyment.

Mind you, that I would even--at this juncture--purchase a G.A. ticket to see Garbage at Metro should indicate how much I've liked the Madison, WI-based band over the years.

And based upon what I saw and heard, they still do what they do very well, if not any better than they did years ago.

Certainly, I still relished hearing the band, led by  dynamic singer Shirley Manson, rip though songs like "Stupid Girl," "Special," "Push It," "Only Happens When It Rains" and "Vow."

But in noting that all five of these songs come from the band's first two albums, and that cuts from their recent 5th studio disc, Not Your Kind of People, fit in well but weren't as great as the early stuff, I suspect that even from a seat in the balcony of the Riv or Vic this still would've registered as a @@@@ performance, not quite an absolutely phenomenal one.

As Manson noted from the stage, it's admirable that the band formed in 1994 by noted producers Butch Vig, Duke Erickson and Steve Marker--who first met with Shirley at the Metro--is still an active entity in 2012. Now in her mid-40s, the Scottish Manson remains likely the most ferocious--and perhaps the very best--frontwoman I've ever seen. Her singing was strong and the band--abetted by former Jane's Addiction bassist Eric Avery--sounded great. Though I didn't see him well from my vantage point, Vig is an impressively powerful drummer, along with his other talents.

Thus, if you like Garbage's music and have a convenient chance to see them live, there's no reason not to. They are still one of the best live acts going, even if they're not really breaking new ground.

But given my distaste for my suffocating and sweltering experience at the Metro, it's hard to say that taking in this Garbage concert was worth the effort. Although I'll forever love live music in a conducive fashion, as they sing in one of their best songs--from their debut album and not played on Tuesday--"This is not my idea of a good time."

Opening the show was White Mystery, a coed duo with lots of energy and hair that was more impressive in their tenacity than their songcraft.


See the full setlist for Garbage at Metro on and click here for a decent YouTube video of "Only Happy When It Rains" from Tuesday night.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a bullshit concert review by a big pussy! Soldiers sleep in 120 degree tents