Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Garbage “Vow”

Thinking about last week’s Neko Case post, and the YouTube video that went with it, brought me back a decade and a half, to the Orpheum in Boston.

We had gone to a WFNX (the alternative station in Boston) event. You know, one of those throwdowns where the local radio station twists the arm of a few labels, to put on a free show featuring some of their bands. The shows are usually an eclectic mishmash of artists---you go for one particular band, and end up seeing some others you might not have otherwise.

We were hanging in the front row of the balcony, enjoying Black Grape and our faves, Letters To Cleo. We figured since we were there, we’d watch the headliner, Garbage.

“We” was me, my sister, her then-boyfriend (and now husband) and my girl friend. Not my girlfriend. Just a friend. You know how that goes.

I liked Garbage’s records well enough, though I don’t know that I would have gone out to see them specifically.

But seeing them live, there was certainly much more going on. Maybe it was the really understated, ace playing of Steve Marker and Duke Erikson. Or maybe it was the near mechanical precision of drummer Butch Vig. Or maybe . . .

“Uh, PJ. Maybe you want to close your mouth . . .” my friend suggested.

Yeah. Shirley Manson. In big boots and a short skirt. Red hair whipping around. Moving, strutting, grinding, vamping in a way that I couldn’t take my eyes off of.

“C’mon. Her moves are so cliche, it's practically scripted. You’re really falling for that?” she asked.

Umm. Yes.

After a minute of back and forth, I had to bring in my sister and her boyfriend.

“Is Shirley Manson really sexy, or fake sexy?”

My sister said something dismissive. I don’t remember her exact words, but they were along the lines of, “She’s dancing like a woman who’s doing a performance of what some man told her a sexy woman should look like.”

There was a pregnant pause, and then my future brother-in-law said:

“It worked on me.”

Me to.

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