Garbage and Noel Gallagher’s Co-Headlining Tour Fills the Greek with 90’s Nostalgia Review+Photos: Garbage, Noel Gallagher & Metric at The Creek 6/9/23
LOS ANGELES, CA- Summer in LA is always a time to rejoice in good weather and outdoor concerts and the Greek Theatre is one of my favorite venues to catch a show at, so I was thrilled when the co-headlining tour featuring 90’s idols Garbage and Noel Gallagher was announced. Okay, to be quite honest, I was mostly excited for Garbage. Don’t get me wrong, I did love me some Oasis back in the day, but I haven’t kept up to date with Noel’s solo music, so prior to the show, I binged listened to his latest album “Council Skies” to prepare and indeed, it’s a great record, so I was happy to watch the High Flying Birds live.
Starting the night off was Canadian indie rock band Metric, who I’m a big fan of. Being the opening act in LA has got to suck sometimes though, since traffic is always insane, and it’s especially hard to get to a venue like the Greek on a Friday at 7pm. Grrr. Still I made my best efforts to be early and rushed to make it on time. Miraculously, I was out of my car by 6:45…I was so proud of myself! But as I was walking up, I could hear “Gold Guns Girls” playing, one of my favorite songs- bloody hell, I missed it. Not sure why they went on so early but luckily, I was in by the second tune and they had plenty more bangers to satisfy my ears including “Gimme Sympathy,” “Help,I’m Alive,” and “Black Sheep.”
Singer Emily Haines thanked Garbage and Noel for bringing the band on tour, noting how special it was to be playing at the Greek, while reminiscing on fond memories from their time in LA, like performing at the Silverlake Lounge 20 years ago. Metric’s success is more than deserved and they delivered an energetic set that I’m certain turned anyone in the crowd who wasn’t familiar before, into a new fan.
Next up was Brit rock super star, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The stage was set with pretty sunflowers and Manchester city soccer memorabilia, including a cardboard cutout of Manchester City soccer manager Pep Guardiola-(which I totally thought was a very still and serious real person until a few songs in- hashtag I’m old and blind). The background singers were also sporting soccer jerseys in support of their hometown club. Sweet. And on the other side of the world, an alleged tweet from Liam caused a stir after it stated “If Man City wins the Champions League I call my brother and I bring back the fuckin band together LG x.”
Well, It appears all the good vibes worked- Man City won the next night, and fans are now eagerly awaiting Liam to make good on his promise, however a spokesperson for Gallagher debunked the validity of the tweet, claiming it was made by a fan. A likely story! (insert eye roll emoji). Well, if the Gallagher brother reunion never happens, at least the boys still give the fans a little bit of the goods during their sets.
On this night, Noel’s newest tracks made up the bulk of the set, but he did sprinkle in some classic Oasis songs towards the end, that had the crowd fervently singing along to, including “Masterplan,” “Little By Little,” “Live Forever,” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger.” Over all, Gallagher put on an enjoyable set and sounded great, but it was very mellow and chill in comparison to what Garbage was about to unleash.
As soon as Garbage hit the stage, the whole energy of the venue did a 180. Whereas most of the crowd remained seated during Gallaghers set, everyone was up on their feet for the hard hitting sounds of the alt rockers who somehow manage to sound better each time I see them. .
Sparking a contagious energy right away, Shirley Manson and gang started the set with the boisterous track “Supervixen,” from their self titled album. And what a perfect song to kick off with, as it ends repeating the line “Bow down to me.” Manson commands the stage and crowd with an unmatched powerhouse presence and, indeed, it almost makes you want to bow down and scream out “We’re not worthy!” That is until later in the night, she reminds you of how down to earth she is, as she makes fun of herself after continuously tripping on her pant loops- which reminds me to mention just how awesome her black and white striped, Bowie reminiscent, pant suit was- albeit a trip hazard.
Everything about Manson is so fucking cool yet she’s also very silly when she speaks to the crowd and most importantly, she’s genuine. You can feel it when she speaks. Which she does A LOT of and even told the crowd she promised the guys in the band to talk less to have more playing time, but what would a Garbage show be without the witty, Scottish accent filled banter us fans adore so much? So in true outspoken fashion, Manson indulged the crowd with her words numerous times throughout the night and the band let her shine while she did her thing. The band, who consist of all original members to this day (Butch Vig on drums, Steve Marker on guitar, Duke Erikson on guitar/bass) didn’t seem to mind one bit, letting Manson control the flow of the show, as she captivated the crowd with her charisma.
Manson told the crowd the last time they played the Greek they were plagued with technical difficulties and on this night they were “here to fucking redeem ourselves.” If redeeming was needed, they did that and then some.
The setlist included tracks off their most recent album 2021’s “No Gods No Masters” and a well-rounded mix of their best known hits throughout the decades such as “Run Baby Run,” “Special,” “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “Push It,” “Stupid Girl,” and “Only Happy When It Rains.” Oh the sweet nostalgia. Seriously, the 90’s will forever own my heart and Garbage has a special place in that.
Manson introduced the song “Bleed Like Me” by saying that the band made sure to add it to the set list because it was really necessary to play this song because it has never been more pertinent and more urgent…
“This is a song about being an outsider, a weirdo, somebody who’s completely misunderstood, somebody who … I don’t know, you know how it goes… Like, I was a cutter when I was a kid. And everybody, when I say, ‘Yeah, I was a cutter when I was a kid,’ everybody’s like ‘Oh my God! That’s so weird.’ And it’s because they’ve had no experience of it. And I feel like, if you’ve got an eating disorder … it’s really common, it’s very normal. There’s all kinds of things that go on in this life that we don’t all necessarily have experience of. But the most important thing that we all have to remember is that everybody’s going through shit. And everybody’s deserving of our understanding.”
“I just feel like we’re living in a time where we’re all getting a bit judgmental, we’re all pointing fingers and we’re all fuckin’ getting our knickers in a twist about the most ridiculous fucking things. And so this song tonight goes out to the LGTBQ community, who truly are under unbelievable duress and it kills me because so many of my best friends are queer, are gay, are fucking nonbinary. There’s a billion and one of my friends who are all kinds of things, and they’re beautiful, amazing people.
“For everybody who feels like they’re being judged tonight, this one’s for you.”
Thank you Shirley, for continually using your voice to speak up on issues. As a member of the LGBTQ community, I can say these words meant a lot and we appreciate allies like you and your band.
Another stand out song of the night was an awesome cover of Siouxsie and The Banshees “Cities in Dust.” Myself being a Siouxsie fan and having recently missed her big come back at Cruel World Festival, I really appreciated this rendition. Like many others, I was bummed to miss out, yet found a bit of content living vicariously through friends Instagram stories of Siouxsie’s performance. Shirley was reporting (via I.G) from the festival and majorly fan girl’ing over the return of the goth queen, so I found it especially sweet that the band covered one of their idols.
As the night winded down, Manson also took time to thank Los Angeles radio station KROQ for playing them “one million, billion years ago” (take it easy Shirley, making me feel like a dinosaur) and for launching their career. And last but not least, she expressed her gratitude to “all you fucking weirdos” for sticking around.
Well, this fucking weirdo says you’re welcome and right back at ya!
They ended the night with an encore of “Cherry Lips” and the 6,000 weirdos in attendance blissfully danced their asses off…until we had to ‘go baby go’…to the congested parking lot madness. Getting out of the Greek is never easy but seeing the whole Garbage show- priceless!