Fans Young and Old Love Shirley Manson and Garbage, By Mike Hughes

Garbage – wow, away for seven years. It’s a bit of a personal journey for me too in the 13 years since I last saw them. Back then I was a shrinking violet at gigs, sat up in the cheap seats. Tonight, I’m not ashamed to admit that we queued two hours before doors, and there were plenty already there. What amazed was the age of some of the kids in front of us – 19 and 20 year olds, happy to admit they’d only discovered the band through Ms. Manson’s foray into TV drama. We got on the front row of the Manchester Academy Show July 3, 2012, four of us, right opposite Duke Erikson, who threw power chords into the darkness of this big box venue. Shirley was on fire, there’s no other word for it, and who wouldn’t be, stoked as she must be to find out the love was still there and more. It wasn’t (quite) sold out, but as Shirley says, the fans that they have, they mean an immense amount to. She spoke about seeing “the trick is to keep breathing” tattooed onto people. There was huge energy – a friend was literally on the back wall of the hall, and the buzz was palpable all the way back there too from what he says. Shirley shimmied, changed her shoes, lay on the floor, teased the taciturn band into each saying a few words. She’s a pro, but a very genuine one. She remarked at one point that she’s been playing gigs since she was 15 (that’s 30 years in case you are wondering) and tonight had the “errant thought” as she put it that she simply didn’t want the night to be over. It did come to an end though, as it must, and at the end of it all Mr. Erikson made our night by coming to the edge of the stage, very carefully indeed leaning down and reaching across the void to place a plectrum into the waiting hands of my daughter Rose. He must have seen her almost delirious grin all night while he was laying down that crunch guitar.

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