Saturday, March 23, 2013

Hey there's some Garbage at The Electric Factory

Was Butch Vig really a genius, or just someone who realized the obvious and exploited it?

Indeed, Vig deserves all the credit in the world for bringing a polished-yet-cool sheen to albums like Nirvana’s “Nevermind” and the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Siamese Dream” and making them the classics that they are.
I dunno. What stands out to you in these photos?

But Vig didn’t just walk into Sound City Studios and invent the loud-soft-loud dynamic. He took what worked for The Pixies (and
Hüsker Dü before them) and made it commercially explosive by putting it behind a tragically handsome and twistedly charismatic frontman instead of a chubby bald guy, a chick who dressed like a dude and looked like she could (and would) kick your ass and two other guys who barely moved. Duh.
Same thing with Garbage, which is really just a modern-day Blondie, without the hits. Watch Blondie’s VH1 “Behind The Music” and pay attention to the part where the band members get pissed because Debbie Harry is getting all the press and adulation, aka making Blondie relevant, getting Blondie fans and securing Blondie radio and MTV play. Would Blondie have ever cracked the Top 100 if Harry was Harry Anderson? Naw.

Vig must have read up on Blondie’s dweebie bandmates’ bitching and saw the lightbulb go off – get a hot chick (Shirley Manson) and put her in front of an alt-rock band. In fact, use some of the same tricks that made the Pumpkins and Nirvana kings of grunge when you write the music. Boom, you've got Garbage, and “Stupid Girl” goes from a pretty average piece of dancy alt-pop to a mosh-worthy smash-hit single and video. “Vow” and “I’m Only Happy When it Rains” become an anthem of teen angst.

What was wrong with thisguy?
I know they had other crap. “I Think I’m Paranoid” and “Push It” were kind of big off “Version 2.0,” but they’re kind of snoozerish as far as singles go. When you come out with your second album, and you fail to make a more lasting impact than Fastball (killer hit “The Way”) and Harvey Danger (killer hit “Flagpole Sita”), you’re already headed in the wrong direction.

But Garbage is big. They’re ’90s alt-rock royalty, I guess. The proof is in the YouTube clips of the 40-somethings moshing around. And if you’re a fan you’re pumped as hell to see them tonight (March 23) at The Electric Factory, 7th and Callowhill streets. You’re probably even stoked to “only” be paying $46.05 to see your favorite band ever, but fact of the matter is you’re getting stone-cold robbed.

IO Echo opens the show at 8 p.m.

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