It took more than a decade and a half, but I finally saw Garbage live on Friday night at Terminal 5. Not my favorite venue, but Shirley Manson and the band put on a great show that included plenty of tunes from their catalog of albums spanning 17 years.
Garbage performing "Only Happy When It Rains" at Terminal 5. This and following video via Hellspawn3000.
The band kicked things off with "Push It" and rocked hard during most of the show, which ran close to two hours. (See set list below.) Things slowed down a bit only for a couple of more mellow tunes, such as "The Trick is to Keep Breathing" and "Cup of Coffee" (which Manson called the most depressing song in the Garbage catalog).
Manson looks great, and mentioned several times how glad they were to be back in New York, playing at the beginning of the last leg of their North American tour to support their latest album, last year's "Not Your Kind of People." (They opened this stint at Montclair's Wellmont Theatre on Wednesday night.)
No doubt she and the other band members appreciated that, in a world where there's a hot new band becoming the next "it" thing practically every week, Garbage was able to get fans out to see them on tour despite the band being on hiatus for seven years—an eternity in the modern pop music landscape.
There were a couple of false starts on songs, which Manson blamed on technical problems, but other than that Garbage performed like a well-oiled machine. Manson didn't hit the higher notes like she does on their records, which may be a result of age and vocal wear and tear, or maybe she never hit those notes live anyway. Nevertheless, it didn't detract from what was a fine show.
As with the Wellmont show, Garbage was joined onstage by Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females for a cover of "Because the Night," which the two bands recorded as a single for next month's Record Store Day. Paternoster's voice was a good contrast, but not an unwelcome one, to Manson's, and Manson let Paternoster bask in the limelight by performing several blazing guitar solos, even walking to the back of the stage while Marissa played her licks.
The show ended with guitarist Duke Erickson performing a solo rendition of "Thank You Honey Bun," an old-timey sounding tune that I'm not familiar with (and which was definitely a contrast with Garbage's set).
The stage for opening act IO Echo featured Japanese shoji screens and a paper fan in front of the bass drum, but the sound was more goth than Asian. The band's Facebook page uses the term "Pastel Doom," which seems to fit.
Singer Ioanna Gika spun around the stage in kimono for most of the set, and though I didn't hear any Asian influence in the music, the aforementioned Facebook page describes their music as "Made with both organic and synthesized instruments from the far east. Japanese koto harps, one passed down to me from my grandmother + Chinese Violins + Pastel Romance."
I didn't hear any harps or violins but I liked their sound. After playing a number of shows at the recent SXSW, IO Echo seems to have a gained lot of new fans. Although their first full-length album doesn't come out for a couple of weeks (their set Friday night was only 25 minutes), their EP sold out at Terminal 5.
Setlist: Garbage at Terminal 5, March 22nd (via Setlist.fm)
Automatic Systematic Habit
Hammering in My Head
Blood for Poppies
Why Do You Love Me
I Think I'm Paranoid
The Trick Is to Keep Breathing
Cup of Coffee
Only Happy When It Rains
Because the Night (cover of Bruce Springsteen/Patti Smith tune), with Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females
When I Grow Up
You Look So Fine
Thank You Honey Bun (Duke Erikson solo performance)