They may have been on hiatus for seven years, but one would never know it witnessing ’90s alt-heroes Garbage’s two hour set at a sold-out Hollywood Palladium last night. Though it was the 69th stop on their present tour, Garbage, intense and energetic, showed no signs of slowing down. And nor has the time off between tours dulled the band’s skills or edge.
Currently touring in support of fifth album “Not Your Kind Of People” — released to very respectable sales on the band’s own indie label Stunvolume Records — Garbage opened the night with “Automatic System Habit,” the lead-off track from the new release. The band’s indomitable frontwoman Shirley Manson pranced fiercely around the stage, with her red hair slicked back into a bun on top of her head and wearing a red and black striped minidress that seemed to pay homage to her Scottish heritage. With crowd singalongs to various back catalogue hits including “Stupid Girl,” “Only Happy When It Rains” and “I Think I’m Paranoid,” Garbage kept the mix varied combining older trusted songs with their latest tunes.
Amidst swirling guitars and keyboards, Manson made use of the entire stage, sometimes hopping off the side on to the floor to stand and sing directly in front of the fans. The rest of the band — clad in all black — danced merrily throughout, but it was hard to take one’s eyes off of the commanding frontwoman even for a second. And her years spent offstage certainly didn’t weaken her vocal prowess; in fact, they seem to have improved it.
Though she didn’t speak to the crowd until the seventh song, Manson more than made up for that gap for the rest of the night, ranting against “corporate rock, corporate radio and corporate record companies,” saying “the music industry has gotten so fucked up. I pray I don’t start crying.”
After speaking frankly about the band’s own troubles with record label politics, Manson became overcome with sentimentality and gratitude simply for being onstage and for the fans willing to wait seven years for the band’s return.
Garbage played several more songs before Manson coyly exited the stage while holding her microphone, finishing the last song “You Look So Fine” from backstage, singing: “Ending with letting go. Let’s pretend happy end.”