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Garbage with Rituals of Mine at the Roseland Theatre, Portland OR on 9/30/18 - REVIEW/PHOTOS

Story by : SARAH PAYNE Photos by BENJAMIN MAH// Not all heroes wear capes – but Shirley Manson does. With her gold cape dress, fiery orange hair and band of painted black across her eyes, she certainly looked the part,

Not all heroes wear capes – but Shirley Manson does. With her gold cape dress, fiery orange hair and band of painted black across her eyes, she certainly looked the part, taking the Roseland’s stage by storm and filling the room with her presence and badassery.

Because Shirley Manson IS a hero. She’s a patron goddess to all of us sad, strange girls who have never felt quite right in our own skin. The girls who swear like sailors, shave their heads or wear all black. The girls with dark thoughts and the girls with too many thoughts. The girls who are fucked up and the girls who have no fucks to give, and the girls who feel everything and nothing all at once.

When Garbage entered the scene in 1995, it was fronted by this goth-rock Scotswoman singing and thinking about deeply taboo subjects that women weren’t supposed to sing or think about, which quickly made her an icon for all of those that did.

And not just the girls: many of Garbage’s songs speak to those dark taboo things within all of us – paranoia, desire, obsession, sex, depression – in a way that encourages us to acknowledge and accept those parts of ourselves, even when others don’t.

However, to fixate solely on Manson – and I think she would agree – is a total disservice to Garbage, which is backed by some amazing co-founders:

Guitarist Steve Marker – who discovered Manson while watching her then-group Angelfish on an MTV special – who co-founded Garbage as well as Smart Studios with...

Drummer Butch Vig, diamond-selling album producer for Nirvana’s Nevermind and former Spooner band member with...

Guitarist Duke Erikson, who helped produce and engineer albums for Smart Studios.

In 2005, Garbage was joined by Jane’s Addiction co-founder and former bass guitarist, Eric Avery.

The four founding members (Manson, Marker, Vig and Erikson) have all contributed heavily to Garbage’s sound, lyrics and vibe, which is complemented by Manson’s deep, throaty vocals and killer showmanship.

There’s a communal weird and dark psychological mindset among the band, Manson said during the concert, before joking with the audience that she’s the normal one.

An apt observation to make, considering the band is currently on their 20 Years Paranoid tour, celebrating 20 years since the release of their second album, Version 2.0. The band played most of Version 2.0’s A and B sides, including favorites like “I Think I’m Paranoid,” “Special,” “When I Grow Up” and “Push It,” plus several songs that Manson promised we’d never heard live before – because half of their set they’d never played live before, like their cover of Alex Chilton and Big Star’s “Thirteen.” And many of these songs, Manson said, they would probably never play live again.

If you’ve been following even a fraction of the news, you know there’s a lot going on in the world right now, which Manson had no hesitation about addressing, saying that – politics aside – anyone who doesn’t think women are in the same class as men can go fuck themselves. The band’s encore also addressed timely and prevalent issues – a nod to mental health awareness with “The Trick is to Keep Breathing,” raging against corporate greed with “No Horses,” and ending the night with “Cherry Lips,” a loving nod to the LGBTQIA community and to anyone who has ever felt strange, weird or different.

“This is a song for all weirdos, all of us that feel we don’t fit in, all of us who feel ugly, all of us who’ve never felt pretty, all of us that felt like we just don’t look like a fucking supermodel,” Manson told the crowd.

“To all of us who don’t feel like our bodies belong to us and they belong to some other dimension. To all of us who don’t conform – we love you so much. This one is for all you fucking weirdos.”

It was definitely a night for celebrating and owning the weirdness in all of us. Electronic duo Rituals of Mine perfectly set the stage with their opening act, 50 minutes of choice songs that flooded the venue with emotion and a call to embrace yourself. (I’m not exaggerating about the emotion – during her performance of “To Show You Violence,” several in the crowd around me had tears down their cheeks, myself included).

Rituals of Mine (formerly Sister Crayon), comprised of frontwoman Terra Lopez and drummer Jeffrey LaTour, is electronic in the dark. It’s feeling the drums as they mirror your own heartbeat, feeling the passion and emotion behind Lopez’s voice as she sings part of “Bicep” microphone-less into the void.

Not feeling would be impossible, watching Lopez as she takes flight around the stage. There is something ethereal, haunting, primal about her voice and presence that calls to something basic and forgotten within us.

Which only serves to remind us why we need and love these people that we’ve never met, but somehow seem to see us and really, truly, get us. Because in this crazy, fucked up world, we can turn to them and to music to keep us sane. When the lights go down and the amps turn up and you feel that bass reverberate deep in your chest, you start to feel less alone, less weary, standing next to a couple hundred strangers who are raging inside just like you – and you know that, even if it’s just for those two hours, it will all be okay. You – and all of your weirdness – will be okay. And that’s something special.

-Sarah Payne

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