Garbage / The Dead 60's Kool Haus, Toronto ON - April 25, 2005

Garbage / The Dead 60's Kool Haus, Toronto ON - April 25, 2005
A chilly Monday in late April found Garbage back in Toronto promoting their fourth disc, Bleed Like Me, ten years after the release of their debut. With Liverpudlian openers the Dead 60's in tow and a sold-out audience in wait, the atmosphere couldn't have been better. Then the sirens began. As the Dead 60's broke into their brand of upbeat ska-meets-funk groove-oriented rock brimming with hooks, energy and a polished sound well beyond their years, the crowd knew they were hearing something special. In fact, the Dead 60's would turn out to be the show stealers for the evening, managing to completely negate the common perception that opening acts are mere filler. And unlike many in their position - playing before the band the audience really paid to see - they not only got the crowd's attention, they also got them moving and cheering. Aided by a near-perfect live mix, their astonishing musicianship and songwriting shone through crystal clear. The Dead 60's sounded better than any band I have ever heard play the notoriously crummy-sounding Kool Haus. While certainly louder, Garbage didn't sound half as clean or polished. In fact, the wall of noise seemed to be working against them during some of their numbers, with songstress Shirley Manson's voice occasionally getting lost behind it (once or twice there even seemed to be moments where she knew she was fighting this). But since Garbage's set was loaded with more material from the first three albums than the new one, the audience was forgiving, both excited and grateful to hear their favourites live again. Shirley even went so far as to do a virtually a cappella version of "You Look So Fine" at a fan's request and bring a man in a chicken suit onstage to celebrate her band-mate's birthday. So, while it wasn't a perfect show, it was a damned fun one, and sometimes that makes for a better concert experience.