Garbage entertains a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Pearl

Garbage’s production at the Pearl was minimal but powerful.
Photo: Bryan Steffy/Wire Image

Maybe two Garbage concerts in a single year is more than Las Vegas can bear, or maybe it was just the increased competition on this crowded concert weekend, but the Pearl was only a little more than half-full tonight. The 10 or so people on the balcony must have really regretted not springing for mezzanine or even floor seats. Still, the smallish crowd was very enthusiastic; this show would have killed at the House of Blues.

For a band whose albums are very slickly produced with lots of electronic elements, Garbage sounded raw and powerful live, with Steve Marker and Duke Erikson’s guitars front and center. There are still plenty of pre-recorded elements in the band’s music, though, which can lead to unexpected glitches: When the intro to “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)” accidentally started early, the audience was audibly disappointed to hear it abruptly cut off (although it showed up in its entirety a few songs later).

Singer Shirley Manson was quite chatty throughout the show, thanking the audience and a long list of band support personnel, noting that Vegas represented both the beginning of the band’s tour (last year’s show was the third stop) and the end (with only two shows in Mexico left before the tour’s conclusion). Despite the low attendance, the band seemed in high spirits, with Marker taking photos of the crowd and Manson encouraging audience sing-alongs (with mixed results).

Garbage @ the Pearl

The set drew heavily from the band’s first two albums, along with last year’s Not Your Kind of People, and the newer songs mixed seamlessly with past hits. Overplayed ’90s staples “Queer,” “Only Happy When It Rains” and “Stupid Girl” even managed to sound fresh and reinvigorated.

Also along from the ’90s: Ex-Jane’s Addiction bassist Eric Avery, whose reunions with his former bandmates haven’t lasted, but who provided a welcome thick bassline to Garbage’s live sound, and would be a solid addition to the new album Manson promised the band would soon start recording.

Set list:

“Automatic Systematic Habit”

“I Think I’m Paranoid”

“Blood for Poppies”

“Hammering in My Head”


“Why Do You Love Me”


“#1 Crush”

“Battle in Me”

“Cup of Coffee”


“As Heaven Is Wide”

“Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)”

“The Trick Is to Keep Breathing”

“When I Grow Up”

“Only Happy When It Rains”


“Beloved Freak”


“Push It”
“Stupid Girl”

“You Look So Fine”


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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