Photo by JOSH PELTA-HELLER
Any aging Gen-X-er worth their scuffed-up Doc Martens will wax nostalgic for music’s middle-alt era, but Thursday night’s show at BB&T pavilion was better than any Third-Eye-Blind reunion supported by the Spin Doctors and the Nixons. A pandemic postponement from last year, Alanis Morissette’s now-25th-plus-1 celebration of the release of her seminal 1995 debut record Jagged Little Pill traded originally scheduled supporting guest Liz Phair for Cat Power, and retained post-grunge synth-rockers Garbage when it came to at long last to the BB&T Pavillion on Thursday.
Twenty-eight years on now, after their inception as drummer and Nevermind (yes, that Nevermind)-producer Butch Vig’s side project, Garbage is touring in support of their brand new seventh studio album No Gods No Masters, an effort for which singer Shirley Manson boasts her most sophisticated songwriting yet, and an album that ambitiously takes on some heady intellectual, philosophical and current event topics while still being critically heralded as Garbage in gloriously pure form.
Perhaps that’s because Garbage have somehow managed to retain the same original four-member lineup they started with, back in their early days writing lyrics in a cabin in the woods of northern Wisconsin. Now 55, Manson still sounds as incredible as ever on both the new ones as well as the early hits like “Stupid Girl” and “I Think I’m Paranoid.” She doesn’t really dance during the instrumental parts so much as pace intently around the stage, looking as though she’s trying to work something out, and timing the circular deliberation perfectly with her arrival back at the mic to tell you what it is in charmingly menacing vocals delivered from behind her iconic curtain of vermilion hair. More, please. — JOSH PELTA-HELLER