Garbage recently released their sixth studio album, and first in four years, the brilliant Strange Little Birds. Released on the band’s own STUNVOLUME label, Strange Little Birds is being hailed as a dark and intimate collection of songs that stands shoulder to shoulder with 1998’s Version 2.0 as some of their strongest work. Celebrating the release, Garbage have hit the tour trail. After a successful string of dates playing festivals and a handful of other venues across Europe, the band have returned to the U.S. to embark on a month long headlining tour. When the band recently stopped at the Fillmore in Charlotte NC, Concert Addicts was there.
As the lights went down and frontwoman Shirley Manson swaggered to the front of the stage, the band immediately exploded into action with “supervixen” from their 1995 self-titled debut. With barely a pause, the aural assault continued with a one-two punch of “Paranoid” and “Stupid Girl.” The band were clearly firing on all cylinders and big smiles were shared by Manson and her band mates Duke Erikson and Steve Marker. Unfortunately founding member and legendary drummer Butch Vig has been unable to tour with the band due to acute sinusitis and doctor’s orders not to fly. Eric Gardner has been deputized to fill in behind the kit during Vig’s absence and he did an admirable job of providing the powerful beat behind the Garbage sound. The touring rhythm section was completed by bass player and founding member of Janes Addiction, Eric Avery.
With pink hair and cloaked in a leopard print dress, Shirley Manson prowled the stage with every bit of sexuality and charisma she exuded when Garbage burst on the scene 21 years ago. Her vocals remained strong whether roaring through classic tracks “My Lovers Box” and “Why Do You Love Me,” or providing a hushed steeliness to the restrained power of “The Trick is to Keep Breathing” and new song “Even Though Our Love Is Doomed.” As expected, the outspoken Manson addressed HB2, the recent North Carolina pro-discrimination legislation aimed at members of the LGBT community that has seen many artists choose to cancel tour dates in opposition. Shirley explained, “There was some debate about coming to your State tonight. But we as a band decided that most of our fans, if not all of our fans, think the same way we do. So it was decided that we would come to North Carolina tonight.” before launching into a powerful and relevant version of “Androgyny.” Other highlights from the show included “Special,” “Vow,” and “Push It,” which was preceded by Manson inviting an 11-year-old boy from the audience to come up and demonstrate his prowess behind the drums. The kid was a natural and received a deserved roar of approval from the crowd. The show was successfully concluded with the poppy “Cherry Lips” before sending the crowd home happy with a three song encore of “Sometimes,” “Empty,” and “#1 Crush.”
Opening the evening was Kristin Kontrol, the new solo project of Kristin Welchez. The founder and lead singer of indie rock band Dum Dum Girls, Welchez has decided to explore a new musical direction with Kristin Kontrol. Her debut album, X-Communicate is a collection of 80’s new wave influenced synth-pop that has garnered favorable reviews and made for the ideal prelude to the slightly heavier sound of Garbage.