Beloved Freaks.

2 06 2012

Buffalo, New York. July 2nd, 1996. Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. The first time seeing Garbage live was actually my first concert ever. Shirley and co. were the supporting act  for The Smashing Pumpkins on their Infinite Sadness tour.

I went to the show with my best friend at the time. He was a pseudo-metal head who lived across the street and was two or three years my senior. We initially bonded over our love of alternative rock music… Garbage being no exception. I looked up to him like a he was a cool and rebellious big brother. I remember him introducing me to new music to obsess over with every shipment he received from Columbia House.

Garbage (Phoenix Concert Theatre 05/28/2012)

The show was to be one of the last handful of events at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium. Later that night, seats would be ripped up as the crowd surged when the Pumpkins went into “1979.” I don’t recall exactly where our seats were but I know they were probably about halfway up from the floor of the arena slightly to the right of the stage. People piled into the Aud, filling it to capacity. The weirdos. The outcasts. The kids who were always picked last for dodgeball. The bookworms. The queers. The freaks. All of them coming together because they all find support and acceptance in the music of a fiery-haired, Scottish “supervixen” and her bandmates.

Toronto, Ontario. May 28th, 2012. Phoenix Concert Theatre. “This song is for the freaks,” Shirley Manson would coo into the microphone before segueing into “Cherry Lips” from their third studio album, beautifulgarbage. She would also go around to each band member and ask them what made them freaks in their younger years. Steve Marker responded that he was a member of a marching band and Butch Vig smoked a lot of pot.

If there is one thing to be said about Garbage, it’s that they have always welcomed and championed their “beloved freaks” and those who “may not have made the football team.”  They have always had a way of making an outcast feel less, well, outcasty. Returning to a tedious world of normalcy is always more bearable after immersing yourself in a big pile of Garbage.

Fathers’ Music Syndrome.

12 04 2012

To quote Portlandia: “Do you remember the 90s?”

The programming on MTV was relevant. Britpop reached its height. Kids roamed around in wide-leg jeans and Airwalk sneakers listening to their Walkmans (or Discmans if you were fortunate enough to have a decent allowance). Music was a genuine artform instead of a mass-produced marketing gimmick that humps on autotune the way a dog humps a leg.

Blood for Poppies

Garbage "Blood for Poppies"

If you are like me, refreshing every music blog/website/tumblr from Spin to Pitchfork and Consequence of Sound to Brooklyn Vegan, then you are well aware that the decade that paved the way for the modern indie-rock scene to come to fruition is making quite the resurgence.

Garbage will be touring for the first time since 2007 and has been selling out shows in mere minutes of the tickets being made available. Mazzy Star (dream pop pioneers who were Beach House before Beach House was Beach House) reunited to release their first material since 1996 with promises of a full-length record and tour to follow. Melancholic waif, Fiona Apple, releases her fourth record (The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do a.k.a. The Idler Wheel…) in June just prior to a summer tour that takes her across the United States and Canada. Irish alternative band, The Cranberries, also released a new record after a 10-year hiatus.

These were some of the big names in music in the 90s that helped define who I was during my high school years. In fact, Garbage was the first live show that I saw (they opened for The Smashing Pumpkins at the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in July of 1996).

My first reaction to the news that some of my favorite bands were returning to the spotlight and releasing new material was to wonder if I was suffering from what I call “Fathers’ Music Syndrome.” If you grew up in a household where your father was a music junkie, you might have a pretty good idea of what it is that I am referring to.

I will be the first to admit that when I was a teenager and engrossed in the music that was popular at the time (namely Seattle-based grunge rock), I couldn’t help but throw a side-eye of judgment at my father when he would pull out records by The Beach Boys or The Rolling Stones (it would be a few more years before my love for music developed enough and allowed me to appreciate these rock-n-roll legends). This was the music he grew up with. The music he loved. I remember being taken to see The Beach Boys at Pilot Field (currently Coca-Cola Field). I remember thinking to myself that only washed-up bands must play at minor league baseball games.

Have Fiona Apple, Garbage, et al become my (our) own “Fathers’ Music Syndrome?” Save for the fact that they can still sell out shows, still record amazing music,  and have cult followings decades later, there’s still that part of me (us) that finds comfort in the familiar sounds of a youthful era. I’ll be the first to admit that I would be the first in line to see Courtney Love play a free show at a baseball diamond.

Ironically, Hole just started playing on my iPod.