Review: Garbage and IO Echo at the Mill City Nights in Minneapolis, MN. April 5, 2013

“Let’s pretend to have a happy end”, from ‘You Look So Fine’ by Shirley Manson of Garbage at Mill City Nights in Minneapolis, MN. April 5, 2013.

Published by Jeff Becker on April 7, 2013


  • Mill City Nights, Minneapolis, MN.
  • April 5, 2013

Setlist (see photo below for actual setlist) and review:

Concluding an electric performance on a rainy night in Minneapolis (a mere two blocks from the venue that launched Garbage 17 years prior) Shirley Mason twice belted out the famous Fleetwood Mac lyrics with emotion unmatched all evening, “Now here you go again, you say you want your freedom”.   It was an extended two minute, riveting conclusion to the night’s finale – and arguably Garbage’s finest catalog song, ‘You Look So Fine”.   Manson reached deeper into these lines than at any point during a blistering show.   Not looking to take the easy route with a by-the-numbers rendition of this final track, Manson bent her knees, extended her arms and used every ounce of power her throat had, every final carbohydrate left in her body – to deliver the most powerful moment of the night.   From a reviewer who doesn’t get shivers down his arms easily, it was jaw-dropping – and quite frankly, unexpected.

When you go to a Garbage show you aren’t expecting to be taken to another planet, as I was two nights earlier at the Sigur Ros performance 10 miles away.   That’s like spending a night in the world’s greatest observatory.   But Garbage simply wants to take control of the planet you’re on versus transporting you to a different one.   You know what you’ll get with Garbage – in your face powerful pop with Shirley Manson commanding the stage with all the mannerisms and intimidation skills of a heavyweight prize fighter.   This is her turf and it’s her element that she’s in.   There’s no secrets all night – well, except for that final two minutes of covering Fleetwood Mac behind the beat of your best song.

The interesting part about tonight’s performance is that it didn’t feel like a farewell, which in my opinion it most likely is.   Butch Vig is in his late 50’s and Manson herself is approaching 50 in a few years.   Doing this again in 5-7 years seems unlikely.  But there were no sentimental good-byes, just the often told story of how the Garbage live act began humorously at the 7th St. Entry (part of the First Avenue club that Prince made famous) 17 years ago when she thought the band had sold hundreds of tickets to the long line of fans outside only to realize they were in line to see Gwar in the main room, not Garbage at the Entry.    But fortunes changed quickly as Garbage began to dominate and sell out the mid-sized club scene the last portion of the 90’s and up through 2005.    Seven years later they look the same, sound the same and blast away with remarkable precision.   The Vig/Manson combo will go down as one of indie’s greatest.

The night’s most pointed moment between the music though arrived after five songs in when Manson addressed the crowd near the front rows and helped two small girls find better spots.  Manson noticed the girls were being a little distressed during the opening numbers by the larger men next to them.   Manson, infamous for her well-timed rants onstage towards bullying fans redirected traffic in the crowd with an ease and charm that got the entire crowd clapping – and complying.   It was a tiny insight into Manson’s emotional pysche, and the alter-ego to the Mike Tyson image she controls the stage with.

Click here for our Garbage photos from 2011 at Pondamonium in Madison, WI.



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