Suddenly reminded of Garbage

Last updated 09:04 28/11/2011

So I voted in the weekend. I haven't always voted - I mean since I was of age to vote. At one point I was fairly convinced that exercising your democratic right to vote also meant you were within your rights to not vote; that not voting was in fact a vote of no-confidence, in any of the parties - in the fact that your vote wasn't going to be heard - in the system, man!

Anyway, that was then. I'm back voting now. Have been for a while. So, I voted on Saturday. And it was the first time I'd voted at the voting booth on the day since the very first time I was eligible to vote. Other years I'd cast my vote early - due to work (often playing gigs) or because of travel (sometimes also due to gigs). Or, as I said, I hadn't voted.

I can remember playing a gig up the coast one year - the time that many National supporters were sure Don Brash was going to give it a good nudge. And of course he did. But he didn't make it over the line.

We were playing in a club - urged to play on as all around us the TV sets showed rolling updates. We were, at one point, drowned out by a surge of volume - the bar-staff turning up all the TVs and the punters cheering. We had at first thought we'd played a great tune. It was painfully clear, very swiftly, that the election results were more interesting than us, the band.

Anyway, this year, walking down the road early Saturday morning to vote I thought - suddenly - about when I saw the band Garbage live. Remember them? It was a double bill in fact - Garbage and Ash. Now the reason I thought about this -  right at that moment - was because the gig was on the night of the election that very first year I voted. Over 15 years ago...

GarbageFunny how such thoughts come back to you...

I remember the gig because it was probably the first international ("big name") show I was underwhelmed by. I wasn't the biggest fan of the band Ash but I had made an effort to check out their first official release, 1977, in order to enjoy (or try to enjoy) their set.

The drummer may have been having an off-night - but I remember (vividly) the messed-up fills and lack of cohesion in his playing - and from there, naturally, in the band's playing as a unit. It was the first time I had noticed mistakes from an established (or semi-established) international act.

Garbage was huge at the time - due to their self-titled debut and the hook of the band being a bunch of producers and a no-name singer; plucked from obscurity, Shirley Manson was, overnight (and with some reluctance) a star. And the band had a stack of big singles from that first album.

It was okay seeing them - they were better (for me) than Ash (in terms of mistakes/cohesion) but it was really unmemorable. Funny that the band seemed like a big deal at the time and just flaked away to nothing.

There was a second album (Version 2.0) - with a couple more hits and then, really, the world stopped caring. I mean, sure, there were two more albums - but that, ultimately, was it (*).

I doubt I'll listen to the band Garbage ever again - despite their one-time popularity. I see there has been a re-formation and apparently there will be a new album next year. This is surely proof that Butch Vig and cronies have nothing left to do/are desperate for another slice of pie/another chance at adoration.

I'm not embarrassed I attended a Garbage gig - it was of its time; it was good to be in the moment, to head along and see a big-name pop-rock band at its peak. But in a way I am slightly baffled by it. I would never, as a paying customer, head along to see a band like this now. Very unlikely anyway. But all grist for the mill of course.

So this weekend, when out of nowhere I recalled seeing a band that went on to live up to its name, I wondered if I was the only one almost agog at this bizarre memory. I wondered if there were others that had a similar story - a tale of seeing a band, being a fan at the time, then finding the group instantly forgettable. Maybe even reading this post is triggering a memory for you - being asked this question. So, that's it actually; that is the question: what artist did you go and see live that you would never return to for another round; that leaves you almost baffled that you did actually attend a show?

(*) Unless of course you believe the not entirely implausible story that the band Garbage moved to New Zealand, hired a Runga sister and changed its name to Stellar* - there's a clue in the asterisk. It leads to a footnote about the band's name. It says in very small print "this band used to be/is Garbage/garbage".

Postscript: To tie it back to attending gigs after voting that feature average drummers - and I can only figure that some people up the coast a few years ago can share their stories about me - this time, after voting, I attended a gig where the drummer was terrible in a different way. The Moody Blues. I'd seen them before and forgotten how weird/sad this is. Original drummer Graeme Edge spends the gig playing along on a kit at half-speed, adding absolutely nothing. A talented session player covers for him and propels the groove for the group. Edge is all but miming; the Milli (or) Vanilli of drumming. At one point Edge stood and made it look as if he was doing an impressive fill across the toms. The lights were dropped on the "real" drummer so that to cloth-eared morons it might have appeared as if Edge did in fact have the edge. Horrific. Insulting. Baffling. But, given I did not pay for my ticket - hilarious, in a sad/weird way.

My review of The Moody Blues gig is in today's Dominion Post newspaper.

Post a comment
lily   #1   09:18 am Nov 28 2011

Still love Garbage. First album rulz. Not sure what the new one will be like but hell Shirley Manson is a cracker. She's sugar & lust.

T-Rex   #2   09:30 am Nov 28 2011

Bon Jovi. I didn't pay so don't judge me. But I should have enjoyed it being of the bogan variety. But it just bored me. Even the hit/s.

Kate   #3   09:30 am Nov 28 2011

I remember the Garbage/ Ash show well - I agree it was one of the most underwhelming and boring shows I have ever witnessed. When the fire alarm went off during Garbage's set, I hoped the show would be over and we would get a refund for the tickets.

T-Rex   #4   09:32 am Nov 28 2011

And I realised I've seen Garbage live. At Big Day Out. All I can remember is that she was wearing a white singlet and no bra.

samm   #5   09:35 am Nov 28 2011

Got all excited about seeing Atari Teenage Riot a few BDO's back, then disappointed when they turned out to be utterly cliched w@nkers when on stage.

Also massively disappointed the first time I saw Fat Freddy's Drop for the first time. Opening your set with a 10+minute jam/noodle session while ignoring the crowd isn't exactly endearing for new fans.

Grant McDougall   #6   09:53 am Nov 28 2011

A truly mediocre band.

m.s.p   #7   09:58 am Nov 28 2011

I was told at the time (1995) that Garbage were massively influenced by our own Headless Chickens. Such thoughts were implausible then - Pah! We said, Whatever. But on closer inspection you'll find that they use a Headless Chickens sample on the 5th track of their first album.

Garbage had some pretty good songs. Everybody fancied her back then.

Cleggy   #8   10:01 am Nov 28 2011

Well this is a little unfair, as I won the tickets, and had actually gone along to see one of the support bands (Trivium), but Disturbed would fit a lot of the criteria. I had never been a huge fan, and had only ever purchased one of their CDs but it never gained any traction with me. I half expected to come out of the concert a newly converted fan. I didn't. I came out thinking their music still sounded like generic cookie cutter metal for the masses, and that David Draiman has annoyingly grating vocals.

If I had the chance to win tickets to another Disturbed gig, I doubt I'd be entering. Unless they had some strong looking support bands again.

eddie   #9   10:22 am Nov 28 2011

A couple of stand out " I wish I had the time back again" concerts for me were the moderately mild chilli peppers supported by incubus at Western Springs the lack of enthusiasm from the band astounded me & dont think I've read a good review of one of their NZ concerts since. 2nd was Smashing Pumpkins ok it was the recently reformed version but still Billy was, is & will for ever after be a right tanker.

Shane   #10   10:35 am Nov 28 2011

There's been plenty of gigs that I was underwhelmed at ranging from the small (local bands) to the stadium and festivals.

Two BDO headlines I walked away from - Beastie Boys and Tool. To be fair I like neither and I thought I would give them a shot but still ended at the smaller stages watching more interesting sets.

I am still a fan of Garbage although they suffer the same diminishing returns as many other bands. They were though, one of the more impressive bands I have seen at a BDO - professional with great sound and they seemed liked what they were doing. Gave the fans a hits set (as did Placebo) and played really tight.

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