Garbage and a dream realised


garbagebrixtondatesWell, it was a long time coming but on Monday the 9th of November 2015, I finally got to see my favourite band Garbage in concert at Brixton Academy, London.  The near-sold out show was such an incredible experience that putting it into words isn’t easy.  I had a long wait, queuing up for a few hours before finally finding my seat and waiting again.  There was a long wait until the support act The Dutch Uncles came on, who were enjoyable even if their music seemed a bit ‘samey’.  However it was a good indication of the decibels I was about to be assaulted with.

Video courtesy of Youtuber eStorm

Following this was a really cool intro, that involved a white sheet dropping to cover the stage and surrounding area entirely, then an archival video to the tune of Garbage b-side Alien Sex Fiend showed footage of the band back in ’95 along with a commentary on their origins in Madison, Wisconsin along with news footage of Princess Diana, OJ Simpson and the beginnings of the Internet.  This all then built up to the four members being presented in tall large images one after the other.  Then it was time for the first song, Subhuman which was performed entirely behind the sheet with the members only visible as silhouettes.  Very bold and utterly ingenious.  As this occurred I recalled actually shaking with excitement, an overload of emotions and feelings that I’ll admit brought tears to my eyes.

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A picture taken by my brother from where we were seated

I won’t go into too much detail of the show which spanned almost two hours and covered approximately 23 tracks spanning the entire first album and nine b-sides – topped off with an encore that threw in a couple of tracks off other albums which were Cherry Lips and Push It.  Throughout the guys and Shirley were on fine form – for a 49 year old Shirley Manson’s energy was intoxicating – she jumped and danced and head-banged around the stage like a woman half her age, and it was incredible to witness.  In between some songs she told stories, such as her strong feelings regarding the LGBT community as well as funny anecdotes like how cold she was walking to Smart studios to do some recording, and the frozen hairs in her nose inspired her to write the song Driving Lesson (because she wished at that moment she could drive).  Little moments like that and the rather emotional story of Kick My Ass detailing the tragic suicide of song writer Vic Chestnut made the night even more special.

garbage-by-frank-mojica-08Highlights for me musically were performances of Not My Idea (really got the crowd going that one), Fix Me Now (sounded amazing), Only Happy When It Rains, Stupid Girl (excellent light show), Kick My Ass (a beautiful song that again got me very emotional) and also Cherry Lips (a real crowd participation anthem).  Less effective, due to the immense sound and volume were As Heaven Is Wide (Shirley seemed to get drowned out by the guitars and drums) and to an extent Vow which felt too harsh and intense to completely appreciate.    But I’m a concert novice and it probably was too loud and over-powering at times for me … yet the good seriously outweighed the not so good, and the high production values, that glorious intro, Shirley’s sheer exuberance and various brilliantly delivered songs overshadowed any quibbles.

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Garbage blew the roof off Brixton on Monday and the whole event won’t be something I’ll get over for a very long time.  So thank you Garbage – you made this long-time fan very happy indeed.

Darkling4Life.

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Autumn TV Goodness and update


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Yeah I know to the majority of my readers, that’ll be ‘Fall TV goodness’ but I’m in the UK and well, that’s just how I roll.  Starting pretty much from now, there seems a plethora of exciting TV shows coming my way to fill up my nights with quality drama.  First off we have the return of The Walking Dead for it’s sixth series.  This very consistent and very well made show has never disappointed and the characters and storylines remain as compelling as ever.  Next up will be the return of er…The Returned, a French horror drama about a group of dead people who return to their hometown seemingly unaware that the people they love have been mourning their deaths for several years and had only just began to rebuild their lives.  Season One was excellent with some great characters and a quality, eerie atmosphere.  So I’m looking forward to whatever this season has install. 

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Last week also saw the latest season of acclaimed drama Homeland hit UK screens and going by that first episode, it looks to be another gripping season ahead.  Homeland has certainly been one of the best shows in recent memory and the real-world relevant backdrop of terrorism adds a great deal to the impact this show can have.  Starting this Monday too, is the second season of that surprise hit TV spin-off Fargo, based on the Oscar winning Coen Brothers movie of the same name, this time set a number of years before season one.  I don’t entirely know what to expect, but last season was so damn good, it should be pretty unmissable.  Now add to this I’m still catching up with Game of Thrones which has been fairly consistent and gripping through the almost three seasons I’ve watched thus far, and that’s a lot of TV to cram in.

In other news, I’m gearing up to see my favourite band, alt-rockers Garbage on the 9th of November in London, a very long-awaited and never before realised dream for me personally.  Th12094917_1078237858853731_1035346105295295619_oe highly anticipated 20 Years Queer Tour kicked off stateside on 06 October and runs until end of November with a final date in lead singer Shirley Manson’s hometown of Edinburgh.  I’ve been watching videos on Periscope of them backstage, checking Facebook fairly religiously and probably doing my head in (and everyone else’s) during the build up – but dammit, am I excited and looking forward to it.  In preparation I got myself a copy of the re-mastered edition of their debut album in a deluxe version on CD, as well as buying a couple of t-shirts and other bits of merchandise.  Hey, I may never see them again as it’s not the easiest thing for me to arrange or make happen … so why not go all out?  I’m intending to take some photos and possibly record some footage so maybe I’ll put some stuff on here once it’s all over with.

In recent posts I have remarked on depression and difficult times and I’m trying my best to steer away from this now.  I have some amazing things on the horizon that should and will give me a different, more positive outlook on life.  I think I’ll always be prone to negative thinking and dwell on the past and on certain people in my past, but looking to the immediate future …. it’s more positive than I sometimes let myself believe.  My 40th birthday is also right around the corner and it will mark a milestone in my life and a step in the right direction, and I need to see it that way.  I need to look ahead with a clearer outlook and not focus on the past at least not as much, anymore.

Update


Movie Night

What have I been up to lately?  Well I can’t recall if I had mentioned this but over the last few months I’ve begun a ‘movie night’ with my Dad.  Each Tuesday we watch a movie and have some popcorn.  It’s nice and also an excuse to get some movie watching in.  It’s not always a new movie though so sometimes I don’t have a review to post afterwards.  Last Tuesday was such a case, as we watched the horror ‘Oculus’ which I previously reviewed.  Again I enjoyed it and my Dad got a lot out of it too.  So in coming weeks you may get to see more reviews, but if there is a lull, it’s probably down to us watching something I’ve already reviewed (I have ‘John Wick’ lined up for Tuesday).

metal-gear-solid-5-the-phantom-painIn other news I have been playing a great deal of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.  It’s my first proper stab at a Metal Gear game since Metal Gear Solid 2, and even though I purchased Metal Gear Solid 3, I didn’t play it all that much, and I skipped Metal Gear Solid 4.  What do I think of this latest entry?  Like many games these days, it’s open world and huge, with side quests (ops) and a large storyline that I am only really touching the surface of.  Graphically it’s pretty lush.  The wildlands of Afghanistan are immensely detailed and atmospheric and look fantastic, especially with sand storms, day to night cycle and great textures, lighting and effects – even if the water is a bit last-gen.  I like the concept of mother base too, your hub location where you can build up your army (from kidnapping enemy soldiers) and adding to the facilities for developing better equipment for use in the field.  It’s very absorbing stuff.  It also plays really well.  Metal Gear pretty much invented the stealth genre and the ideas here work superbly, with the Fulton delivery system (the ability to attach a balloon to a knocked out enemy, animal or piece of equipment, and immediately send it back to mother base) proving a great deal of fun.  That’s not to say it’s easy as the game takes no prisoners if you get discovered, and the intelligent enemies will hunt you down and nine times out of ten, end your game swiftly.  I’m having a great time with it, but like I said – it’s still early days.

I also got my hands on Gears of War: Ultimate Editon, which looks great…it was always a very well made shooter and had some good characters and a great concept.  The gameplay hasn’t aged badly at all and you can see how the game has influenced a ton of games since it came out, especially with the rock-solid cover-mechanic and the satisfying gunplay.  Graphically it’s quite a step-up from the original, and the textures, lighting and everything looks really good.  I’d say some of the design; of the characters and levels has moved on a bit, but it’s still worth revisiting.

Garbage-20Other than this, I’m still in run up mode to November, where two things are happening…firstly on November 9th I finally get to see in concert my favourite band of all-time ‘Garbage’ of which it’s a special 20th anniversary tour to celebrate the anniversary of their debut album, and loads of things are happening online at the moment, such as regular updates on the band’s Twitter, Facebook, Periscope and Instagram accounts, as well as a re-release of the album in special packaging, on CD, Vinyl and digital complete with remixes, b-sides and specially re-mastered versions of the individual tracks.  I obviously have stuff pre-ordered, and am looking forward to it a great deal.  Next up is my 40th birthday on the 14th.  Now I’m not big on fuss or attention, it can make me uncomfortable…but hey I’m hitting the big 4-0 so may as well make the most of it.  Not sure what that’s going to be right now, but as I’ll be in London leading up to it, that’s a good a start as any.

On TV I’ve been finishing up season 3 of Orange Is The New Black which has once again been great.  I’m also watching Game of Thrones (currently working my way through season 3) and Australian prison drama Wentworth, which I highly recommend.

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I’m sitting here also at the start of a week off from work.  Damn work has felt gruelling of late.  I’ve also got my head in a slightly better place than it’s seemed to have been in a while.  Depression, thoughts of things that have happened to me in the past etc. can linger and it’s easy to wallow in it, but it never does me any good or solves anything … so even though moving completely on seems like the hardest thing to do some days, I’m trying my hardest.  I really am.  Having good work colleagues and a job I enjoy and a good family around me helps a great deal and makes me wake up to myself.

So here’s to relaxing, watching movies, playing games and a few days out.  I’m looking forward to it!