Garbage: One Mile High… Live
Garbage don't get enough credit for their innovative work in the '90s. Written off as one of the better mid-level alt-rock acts of the decade, the categorization fails to illustrate how crazy their use of dance grooves, drum loops and vocal manipulations sounded in a market where genre was a hard line not to be crossed. Despite a string of modern rock radio hits (not to mention a few pop crossovers), the band faltered in the '00s, due more to changing tastes than poor product. After a six-year hiatus, Garbage re-emerged last year with a new album, Not Your Kind of People, and tour, whose Colorado stop this live DVD documents. Yet even in their heyday, Garbage were unable to match the dense production values of their records on stage. You could chalk that up to the technology of the time, but even today the group remain slaves to backing tracks, which hamper the energy their music should elicit. Shirley Manson, always the visual focal point of the group, remains so, but still lacks the magnetic presence contemporaries like Courtney Love and Gwen Stefani possessed (and still do). The effects she runs her voice through feel alienating and, in the case of their performance of "Milk," completely distracting. Shot for U.S. cable channel AXS TV, the show is visually uninteresting, and does nothing to elevate the pretty standard performance from Garbage, who are augmented by former Jane's Addiction member Eric Avery on bass. The whole thing looks like nothing more than a standard webcast from Coachella or Pitchfork Fest. Special features include band members discussing the genesis of some of the tracks off their new album (all four members appear far more relaxed and animated than they did during the performance portion of the DVD), and the requisite music videos. One Mile High… Live isn't a bad performance — the song selection is spot-on and the group have aged particularly well. But by packaging them in this ham-fisted fashion, it denies Garbage the chance to step out from the '90s alt-rock shadow.
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