Garbage “20 Years Paranoid” at the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn was a show that charted the band’s successful album Version 2.0 and a performance given by Shirley Manson that had the audience enraptured from start to finish. The set included all the songs from Version 2.0 while also peppering it with more obscure songs from the band’s discography.
They opened with the lingering and mildly sinister sounding “Afterglow” where Manson in elaborate face makeup ominously sang “Center on the wide horizon / Focus on the galaxy.” The band switched up the tone and played “Deadwood,” a song oozing with electronica and lo-fi guitar. On “Wicked Ways” the band wove in “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode, and Manson roamed around the stage with her sheer, red dress flowing behind her. At that moment, she commanded the stage and owned the audience.
Before performing “Get Busy With the Fizzy” the only party and “shallow” song written by the band, Manson claimed this was one of their most obscure tracks and that after the show that evening, they would probably never play it again. On “Hammering in My Head” they combined strange and grainy instrumentals with Manson’s fierce voice. The band played two covers: one from Big Star, “Thirteen,” and The Seeds’ song “Can’t Seem to Make You Mine” where manipulated vocals brought to mind ’60s psychedelia. The song “Medication” put pop-y rhythms up against frightening lyrics like “Somebody get me out of here / I’m tearing at myself / Nobody gives a damn about me.”
In a set filled with intensity, one of the most menacing sounding songs came as “Push It.” Manson’s whisper of “make the beats go harder” slowly transformed into a growl, and she finished the song with an explosion of rage as she sang, “This is the noise that keeps me awake / My head explodes and my body aches.” For the last song of their main set “You Look So Fine,” the audience disregarded the assigned seats and spilled out into the aisles. Similar to “Wicked Ways,” the band merged the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams” into the track and took the normally folky song in a much more disquieting direction.
For the encore, they played “The Trick Is to Keep Breathing” and after an aborted “No Horses,” took an audience request and played “#1 Crush.” The final song was “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go),” and Manson’s childlike vocals sang out over bubbly guitar and keyboards.
The “peculiarly successful” album, as Manson put it, was equally as successful when performed live. Manson had a finesse that hypnotized the audience and brought them on a journey through the dark imagery and unconventional noise and deposited them on the other side wide-eyed, dumbstruck.
The World Is Not Enough
Get Busy With the Fizzy
Hammering in My Head
Can’t Seem To Make You Mine
I Think I’m Paranoid
Soldier Through This
Lick the Pavement
When I Grow Up
You Look So Fine
The Trick Is to Keep Breathing
Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go)
Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna