|Shirley Manson of Garbage. (Jack Boland/QMI Agency)
If ‘90s alt-electro-pop-rock band Garbage is rusty after a self-imposed seven-year hiatus it certainly didn’t show at their triumphant return to Toronto on Monday night with a sold-out show at the Phoenix.
Okay, so maybe a little bit.
The mostly American group - fronted by Scottish firebrand Shirley Manson - lost their monitors about halfway through the 100 minute concert and had to reboot them.
There was no time like the present for whisky shots apparently.
“If we can’t be slick and professional - we’ll be messy!” joked Manson as she and bandmates Steve Marker on guitars/keyboards and drummer Butch Vig swigged back “the best whisky money can buy.”
That would be Highland Park, in case you were wondering.
Seriously, what they lacked in finesse, they more than made up for in musicianship and swagger with big sounding guitars provided by Marker and Duke Erikson, the latter also on keyboards, and muscular drumming by Vig alongside former Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery on such standouts as Stupid Girl, Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go), Special, I Think I’m Paranoid, Only Happy When It Rains, Push It and Vow.
Manson, meanwhile, continued to prove she’s a force to be reckoned with and quite possibly the best frontwoman in modern rock, following in the footsteps of her ‘80s heroes Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders and Debbie Harry of Blondie.
She’s part supermodel, part superhero, moving easily and athletically around the stage almost like a prize fighter in pumps. (Truth be told she changed out of the heels into flat boots early in the night.)
At point she quizzed all her bandmates about what they did in high school and Vig had the best honest answer: “I smoked a lot of pot.”
And when the aforementioned monitors went down she interviewed audience members, asking their names and where they were from
When Rita from Latvia piped up, Manson responded: “I swear to God, you guys never fail to freak me out!”
Touring in support of their cheekily titled 2012 album, Not Your Kind Of People, the group delivered a high intensity 100 minute set that was stacked with material from their first two albums which went over like gangbusters with the excitable crowd assembled
“Toronto, you are f---ing crazy!” surmised Manson, who flaming red hair was pulled back into a tight bun.
Openly with the appropriately titled Supervixen - given Manson’s slinky, sexy outfit of flowy grey poncho over black legs, shorts, and tank-top and high heeled boots - by the time she was singing, “Bow down to me” everyone in fact was.
Other highlights included Temptation Waits, Shut Your Mouth, Queer, #1 Crush, Milk, and the new songs Blood For Poppies and Man On A Wire.
Shut Your Mouth
Why Do You Love Me
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
Blood for Poppies
Man On a Wire
I Think I’m Paranoid
Only Happy When It Rains
Automatic Systematic Habit
The World Is Not Enough