Concert Review: Garbage / Kristin Kontrol at The Skyway Theatre – Minneapolis, MN – July 7, 2016

Published by JB on July 9, 2016

Review by Renee Schaefer.  Photos by Jeff Becker.

Garbage set review:

Minneapolis holds a special place in Garbage history, and the band returned to a packed house at the Skyway Theatre, in the city where they played their first ever live show. Fans were lined up around the block in the warm summer air well before doors opened.

After an excellent warmup set from Kristin Kontrol [read review], and music featuring some of Garbage’s biggest inspirations and influences from DJ Jake Rudh, the band took the stage to a roar of applause and cheers. As they launched into “Sometimes,” the dark, atmospheric opening track of their new record, Strange Little Birds, the crowd went quiet, listening intently while strobes pulsed with the electronic drum beat and the tension built.

The tension was released with “I Think I’m Paranoid,” the anthem from 1998’s Version 2.0. The crowd once again came to life and stayed that way throughout the set, which contained a nice assortment of songs from their six albums, including both singles and deep cuts. The crowd was fully engaged through their biggest hits from the MTV and major label days, as well as tracks from independently released Not Your Kind of People (2012) and this year’s Strange Little Birds. The room was abuzz the entire night.Garbage-posterweb

If you’ve never been to a Garbage show, singer Shirley Manson’s charisma and power demands most of the attention as she jumps, prowls, rolls around, and plays off the crowd and her bandmasters. If you can peel your eyes away from Manson for a moment, you’ll also see quite a show from guitarists Steve Marker and Duke Erickson. Erickson spends much of the night on the front edge of the stage, making wide, sweeping, guitar god-like motions and posing with his guitar in the air. Marker runs back and forth and all over his half of the stage as he strums aggressively. Tonight was no different.

Manson said she promised the band that she wouldn’t talk so much during this tour, as she was especially chatty during the 20 Years Queer tour last fall. However, she spoke beautifully and eloquently when she acknowledged the Philando Castile shooting in Falcon Heights, MN, which occurred a few miles from the venue. Before “Sex is Not the Enemy,” she provided a thoughtful counter to the people who castigate musicians who express their opinions. Part of being a professional musician includes traveling the world, observing society, and yes, speaking out – for everyone, not just her, she said. She also spoke of the Pulse nightclub shooting, hate, peace, and respect, saying she’d be the first to have your back in a bar fight, even if you disagree with her, as long as you believe there’s room in this world for all kinds of people (LGBT, black, Trump lovers, Hillary lovers, etc). And if you don’t, please leave now. It was a powerful message about love and respect that was both highly relevant and sans politics. The crowd loved it.

Every time Garbage plays Minneapolis, they speak fondly of their first ever gig, which was at the 7th St. Entry in 1995, and where fans lined up around the block for Gwar in the main room. This time, for variety, Manson asked a hard core fan to tell the story, passing the mic to a long-time fan in the front row named Reeva, who she’d met earlier. Manson added that it’s Minneapolis’ fault they’re still here. The show at the 7th St. Entry helped motivate them to become a top live band, and since then, they’ve taken great pride in their live shows.

The regular set closed with the 1-2-3-4 punch of “Push It,” “Vow,” “Only Happy When it Rains,” and “Cherry Lips,” all extremely high energy. The crowd sang along loudly and proudly to “Only Happy When it Rains,” and Manson relinquished the mic to the crowd for an entire chorus.DSC_2315

For the encore, the band played two brand new tracks, “Blackout” and “Even Though Our Love is Doomed,” and fan favorite “Why Do You Love Me?” Manson had tech issues during the encore set, and after “Why Do You Love Me?” she apologized if the song wasn’t that good and danced around like a cartoon to fill time while the crew did something with her mic. They finally had to switch her pack, which required two crew members to rifle around at the back of her dress, including coy commentary from the singer. With Manson’s monitor issues seemingly resolved, the band closed the night with “Even Though Our Love is Doomed,” a song written by and dedicated to the absent Butch Vig, who was at home in LA on doctor’s orders not to fly. With all that’s going on in the world and in Minneapolis right now, it was a perfect end to the night.

Matt Walker of Morrissey and Smashing Pumpkins filled in for Butch Vig on drums.

Set list

I Think I’m Paranoid
Stupid Girl
Blood For Poppies
The Trick Is To Keep Breathing
My Lover’s Box
Sex Is Not The Enemy
Stroke Of Luck
#1 Crush
Battle In Me
Automatic Systematic Habit
Bleed Like Me
Push It
Only Happy When it Rains
Cherry Lips


Why Do You Love Me?
Even Though Our Love is Doomed

Kristin Kontrol set review:

Kristin Kontrol is the solo project Kristin Welchez, also known as Dee Dee, leader of the Dum Dum Girls. But don’t call her Dee Dee. When Kristin and her band took the stage, and an excited Dum Dum Girls fan exclaimed “Dee Dee,” she playfully, yet firmly, corrected him, “I’m Kristin.”

DSC_1990-2Welchez immediately got the sizable crowd on Kristin Kontrol’s side by announcing that she’s “a lifer.” Her first concert was a Garbage show 20 years ago. This was the first show for Kristin Kontrol opening the US leg of Garbage’s Strange Little Birds tour. With black latex pants shining in the dim blue stage lighting, the band opened with “Face 2 Face,” a slow, groovy jam. Heads began bobbing.

Though there were four band members on stage, all cleanly executing their parts, the focus was all on Welchez. She swayed. She shimmied. Her facial expressions said she was putting everything into the set. The rest of the band seemed to deliberately stay in the background. The guitarist/keyboard player spent much of the night behind a small, square stand draped in black cloth. The bass/keyboard player bobbed. The drummer kept time behind his kit in Welchez’s shadow.

Kristin Kontrol played through their well-paced set with minimal interruption, pausing only once or twice. Quote of the night: “I highly recommend exercising in latex.” By the time Kristin Kontrol reached the end of the set, the crowd was bouncing and well warmed up for Garbage.

Face 2 Face
White Street
Show Me
(Don’t) Wannabe
Going Thru The Motions
On the Regular
Baby U In?
Smoke Rings
Skin Shed

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