Published Aug 05, 2012When the revived Garbage emerged on the River Stage, they proved to be more than simply a '90s nostalgia act, despite a crowd populated by a few more middle-aged faces than usual. The group, led by Scottish firebrand Shirley Manson, came out of the gates with the seething "Automatic Systematic Habit," from this year's Not Your Kind of People, igniting the audience as effectively as any old standard might have.
Their set was a deftly balanced mix of new and old, and as the familiarly poppy opening synths of 1998's "I Think I'm Paranoid" washed over the crowd, they responded warmly. Manson, clad in mod-red shorts and black everything else, slinked from one end of the stage to the other like a black widow, and was in fine form throughout the performance, delivering each song in her ever-smoky timbre.
Guitarists Duke Erikson and Steve Marker put on an impressive show as well. Outfitted completely in black, both could easily have been reduced to shadows on the wings during Manson's theatrics, but they remained animated throughout, especially when their frontwoman lay down on stage through the bridge of "Why Do You Love Me."
Addressing the audience in both French and "Scottish" between songs, a grinning Manson gave a nod to Snoop Lion, who would take the stage hours later, before receiving a letter onstage from a fan. After a husky rendition of "Cherry Lips," dedicated to the letter writer in the crowd, Manson invited everyone present to join in on the opening verse of a slowed-down "Only Happy When It Rains." However, as a curtain of moody clouds accumulated behind the stage, the band picked up the pace, ending the tune, and their set, with as much energy as any of the fledgling bands on hand throughout the day.