DVD Review: GARBAGE – One Mile High Live

GARBAGE - One Mile High Live

Eagle Rock [Release date 27.05.13]

Somewhere, lurking in my CD collection I have a copy of Garbage’s eponymous 1995 debut album.  But that aside, they’re a band I’ve never felt any great compunction to track over succeeding years. So it was interesting to see what sort of show they’d put one, on their return to the spotlight after a seven year break.  And the answer, caught at an intimate Denver theatre towards the end of their One Mile High tour is, a pretty impressive one.

No pretensions, no over-elaborate stage show, just a bunch of likeminded musos giving a damn good thrash. In Shirley Manson, of course, they have one of the most charismatic, and scary, front women in rock.

Entering the stage like the archetypal dominatrix in heels, skin tight leggings and with hair scraped back into a tight bob, she immediately had the audience in the palm of her hand.

The band, on the evidence of their first ever live DVD, were equally tight. Watching them, you feel that Garbage could have reached for the stars, grabbed them and brought them crashing down.  If only they’d been willing to conform.

 But their avowed intent was to make pop music as horrible as they could, and it made their deployment of electronica, punk, trip hop, grunge and rock into a succession of unholy unions that were impossible to categorise.

And their lack of product hasn’t helped – 5 albums in 18 years is hardly prolific, but at least it proves they’re at the helm and not the puppets of some record company exec.

Discordant as One Mile High … Live might be at times, and it covers their ‘greatest hits’ as well as their Not Your Kind Of People (2012) release, and it’s refreshing in its honesty and spontaneity.  Which makes it little wonder that those who love Garbage, love them with a passion.

As Shirley says at one point in the performance ‘it’s quite a phenomenon’.  She’s not wrong.  The world needs more bands prepared to go out on a limb and stick two fingers up to the establishment.  Edgy stuff.  ****

Review by Pete Whalley

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