Love them or hate them, you never really know a band unless you’ve seen them live. I’m reminded of this time and time again, most recently when I caught the sold-out performance of Garbage at the Fillmore Silver Spring Sunday evening.
Once upon a time, I associated Garbage with a period of music for which I have little affection overall, consigning them to the bottom of a bin of post-grunge noise, most of which demonstrated little originality or imagination. I heard of their new album, Not Your Kind of People, and following tour last year with a bit of curiosity because I had not expected them to tour, much less chart again.
To her credit, singer Shirley Manson addressed this idea head-on in an often self-confessional dialogue with the audience. I say dialogue because the audience truly reacted to her and she to them. She created an unmistakable bond between performer and audience when she spoke, which she did more as the show continued, charming listeners with her Scottish accent. Manson said she had doubts if she could bring her band together again, if they would work well together after their time apart, and if anyone would want to listen to them. She looked at the charts and didn’t see anything that resembled her band.
But that process appears to have given her confidence. The introspection inspired the lyrics to the new song “Man on a Wire.” And she was irrevocably committed to making a new record.