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CONCERT REVIEW: Garbage @ The Electric Factory

Photo by PETE TROSHAK

It’s been eight years since Garbage played a show in Philadelphia, but judging by their stellar performance at the Electric Factory last night, you’d think it’s been eight seconds. Scottish vixen Shirley Manson prowled the stage like an angry jungle cat telling tales of stupid girls and bad boyfriends in a powerful voice that shifted from cool purr to fiery growl in seconds. Behind her on drums, legendary producer Butch Vig (Nirvana’s Nevermind) thumped and thundered. Vig was stationed behind a Plexiglas wall meant to protect his band-mates and the crowd from the loudness of his drumming, it didn’t help but he is so damn good that pending deafness seemed worth it. Vig had an accomplice in his assault on the eardrums of the audience in the form of former Jane’s Addiction Bass player Eric Avery. Avery is one of those rare bass players who can do power and groove simultaneously and effortlessly. He stood locked-in to Vig thudding away and providing a new dimension to the band’s sound with his rock steady bass. The two other founding members, shiny headed Steve Marker and stylish Duke Erikson, capably split guitar duties while spraying and lasering the crowd with riffs and bursts of guitar brilliance. The group is no nostalgia act though. A searing “Battle in Me” and the throbbing “Automatic Systematic Habit” showed that the band is as vital now as when their career started. Fittingly they finished off the frenzied crowd and their main set with a knockout combination punch. First was the dark and powerful “Vow” from their debut album – a scorned lover’s promise to “come back from the dead” to settle unfinished business. They followed that up with an achingly beautiful new ballad, “Beloved Freak,” a song about accepting your inner freak and letting it shine. – PETE TROSHAK

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