DVD Review: Garbage – One Mile High ... Live

DVD Review: Garbage – One Mile High … Live
Eagle Rock Entertainment
All Access Review: A-

Garbage - One Mile High ... Live 2013
Garbage had a different kind of “seven-year itch” to scratch. Whereas that phrase usually refers to the desire for an extra-marital affair after a lengthy period of wedded bliss, Shirley Manson, Steve Marker, Duke Erikson and Butch Vig decided earlier this decade that seven years was too long to be apart. 

In 2012, Garbage came storming back, releasing the sharply focused, electro-rock flash grenade Not Your Kind of People and embarking on their first world tour in what seemed like forever. They were missed. 

On Oct. 6, 2012, Garbage gave a packed house at the Ogden Theatre in Denver all it wanted and then some in a brilliant, high-voltage performance that should have caused blackouts throughout the metropolitan area. Multiple cameras deftly bring to life the electric action with clarity, color and a keen sense of what the home audience wants – wide shots of the band in full roar, engaging close-ups of Manson and back-and-forth editing that captures the intense creative chemistry of Marker and Erikson – in a raucous, dynamic new concert film “One Mile High … Live,” out now on DVD and Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment that smartly tacks on a handful of music videos and short, but sweet, featurettes on the making of some of Garbage’s latest techno-rock viruses from Not Your Kind of People.

The focal point, of course, is Manson, her striking red hair, brash demeanor, stunningly expressive vocals and magnetic charm impossible to ignore. Remarking with amazement how every one of their shows on that tour seemed on the verge of devolving into a “f- -king ruckus,” and how it was the women in the audience riling everybody up, a confident Manson lets her raw sexuality bleed out as she plays up the unhealthy desires, lust, alienation, pain and feelings of betrayal of the dysfunctional people and their broken relationships living in her lyrics, becoming vulnerable or predatory depending on her mood.

She is bruised and unbalanced in tales of romantic obsession such as the gloriously noisy “Control” and the dreamy, hypnotic “#1 Crush,” both versions on “One Mile High … Live” so gripping and unsettling. Confident and charismatic, she is “Special,” and on that melodically thorny Garbage anthem, as well as the punched-up, ultra-violet techno-shockers “Big Bright World,” “Battle in Me,” “Push It” and “Blood for Poppies,” Manson is a galvanizing force of nature, her powerful vocals somehow rising above the danceable, futuristic din of crunchy guitars and angry, moody electronica cooked up by Marker and Erikson. At once abrasive and blaring, but also stylish and atmospheric on the elegant, James Bond-like “Milk” and “The Trick is to Keep Breathing,” the heady rush of bent sounds produced by Marker and Erikson – propelled forward by Vig’s clean, crisp drumming – are loud and full of vitality, whipping up an addictive cacophony in “Supervixen” and “Only Happy When it Rains” that’s beautifully disorienting.

Garbage knows where all the hooks in their catalog are buried, and as an incredibly tight live act, these alternative-rock veterans – with bass mercenary Eric Avery, from Janes Addiction and Nine Inch Nails, enlisted to plow rumbling grooves – make damn sure they gleam and stand up to be counted, even as squalls of squealing, squirming techno threaten to consume the earnestly infectious set-closer “Vow” and everything else on “One Mile High … Live.” Vibrant and bracing, Garbage classics and newer stuff coexist easily on “One Mile High … Live,” and riding a wave of ‘90s nostalgia, their return was, perhaps, predictable. Whether that’s the reason for their triumphant comeback is immaterial. They’re here, they’re “Queer” – yes, they played that slinky number, too, and it is a seductive mistress – and they’re not going anywhere.
– Peter Lindblad 

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