GARBAGE with DEAD 60s at Kool Haus, April 25. Tickets: $35.50. Attendance: sold out. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
Shirley Manson admits that she can't see.
"Are there any contact wearers in the house?" the Garbage frontwoman appeals in a haggis-thick Edinburgh burr to hundreds of fans.
Apparently, she's been having one of those days - you know, where your contacts are foggy - and she hasn't been able to read the words in the Mead notebook a fan's been waving in her face for the length of what's been a scorching, not to mention highly nostalgic, show.
She takes the note and reads that it's someone named Emmanuel's birthday and Emmanuel likes their B-side #1 Crush, which appeared on the Romeo + Juliet soundtrack.
The band's got a new bassist, former Jane's addict Eric Avery , and he doesn't know the song, and Shirl can barely remember the lyrics, but sure enough, Garbage pieces it together, to the grinning glee of guitarist Duke Erikson , whose glasses and suit make him look like Freud's disgraced nephew - the one who chose rock over psychology.
The candour of these moments, and others later - like when a chicken-costumed roadie brought out a cake for Avery (it was his birthday, too; Manson and Butch Vig did a horribly harmonized Happy Birthday), or when Shirley messed up Cherry Lips from Beautiful Garbage and made them start over, or her touching thanks to loyal fans who'd allowed them to exist past the 90s - added human touches to an otherwise ultra-pro set.
Manson, all sexy in a tight pink dress and big black belt, replaced the breathy threat of her studio vocals with a hardy wail that was most effective in the climax points in Push It.
After Stupid Girl, I Think I'm Paranoid, Only Happy When It Rains (complete with a "pour your misery down" call-and-response), it really started coming back, just how many hits these guys put out. So I wasn't mad that they didn't do Androgyny, but I really thought they'd have done my own soundtrack guilty pleasure, The World Is Not Enough, from The Best Of James Bond.
I would've asked, but my birthday isn't for months.