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Some things are worth the wait. It’s been seven long years since there’s been any activity in the Garbage camp, but now the band is back with a new album and tour which tonight lands them in Manchester’s Academy 1. Anticipation has been running high for this date and a long queue of eager people snakes down Oxford road well before the doors of the Academy swing open to let them in. Such is the attraction of Shirley Manson and her boys that the crowd floods in to try and get as near to the stage as they can.

The opening act this evening is Australian outfit The Jezebels, who are no strangers to Manchester having played once or twice earlier this year. This is a band that has nearly everything; the two girls and two boys that make up the band look good and they have tunes that are consistently and equally good. But, as yet they don’t possess that one great song that’ll elevate them up into the big time. They play a good set tonight but there’s no stand out moment though I’ve no doubt it’ll come soon.

It’s easy to hear why Garbage have been missed so badly when they launch into their first song of the evening, ‘Supervixen’. Shirley Manson still has the power to command the stage while her partners concoct a powerful barrage of pure rock fury. Tonight’s set is unusual in that its front loaded with hits from ‘I Think I’m Paranoid’ to an electronic ‘Stupid Girl’ to the ambiguous ‘Queer’. It’s a brave move to play ones best songs early in the set but the newer material still stands up. One of the nicest things about the show tonight was Shirley’s between song banter with the audience, especially when she passed the microphone to each of the Garbage men and made them say a few words to the crowd. It seems that the band were excited to be playing in the birthplace of their musical influence and were humble in showering praise to the bands that have come from Manchester. “All the best music comes from the North” she announces, and regales us with a tale about Ian Brown and The Stone Roses.

But the best thing of all was the music and even after seven long years away they’ve never sounded better. The shining jewel of Garbage’s performance is band and fan favourite ‘The Trick Is to Keep Breathing’ which floats along beautifully. ‘Only Happy When It Rains’, which could be another fitting tribute to Manchester, brings this stunning show to a close. Hopefully it won’t be another seven years before the band return. But I’ll leave it to Ms Manson herself to give her own comment on the evening when she said during the course of introducing ‘Why Do You Love Me’, “I’ve just had an errant thought. I don’t think I want this night to end” I’m sure many of us here tonight were thinking that exact same thought. 


I Think I'm Paranoid
Shut Your Mouth
Metal Heart
Stupid Girl
Why Do You Love Me
Not Your Kind of People
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)
Blood for Poppies
#1 Crush
Battle In Me
Big Bright World 
Bad Boyfriend
Push It


Automatic Systematic Habit 
The Trick Is to Keep Breathing
Only Happy When It Rains

Review by Phil King
Photos by Melanie Smith

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