Garbage | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

As pop concepts go, a slicked-up My Bloody Valentine with audible lyrics and pushy drums wasn't a sure bet for success--not even in 1995, not even with trip-hop fillips, not even with Shirley Manson in a miniskirt. Still, Garbage's shiny, nasty stomps must've seemed at least plausible as a mainstream gambit for Geffen, considering that back then the label was crazy enough to think Butch Vig might make Sonic Youth radio friendly. And at this point, the band's enduring commitment to its outdated alt-rock blueprint on the new Bleed Like Me (Geffen) feels oddly principled, especially when you consider how quickly fellow alternapopper Dave Grohl made with the nu-metal flourishes. Manson still relishes the idea of love as a battlefield, misquoting Foreigner ("I've got a fever / Come check it and see") as she cruises for a "Bad Boyfriend," then unsuccessfully struggling to dump a similar jerk three tracks later on "Why Do You Love Me." But her bitter demands on the title track and "Why Don't You Come Over" ("and walk in my shoes") generate empathy the hard way instead of manufacturing phony substance with power-ballad histrionics. As for Vig, Duke Erikson, and Steve Marker, their tracks still bludgeon or glide depending on the mood, retaining the chilly precision and glossy wallop that made Garbage more than a pleasant alternative to Seven Mary Three to begin with. The Start opens. Mon 8/22, 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, sold out. All ages.

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