Perhaps recognising that a band that’s only happy when it rains is exactly what London needs right now, Garbage returned after seven years of silence last night.
Singer Shirley Manson had been acting in a TV spin-off of the Terminator films, while drummer Butch Vig busied himself producing bands including Foo Fighters and Muse. They could have returned with full heritage act status, wheeling out Stupid Girl and Queer one more time, and indeed that was what it looked like initially. Strangely, the fact that there is a new album out on Monday was not mentioned until halfway through.
They should have made more of it, for the zippy chorus of new song Blood for Poppies and Automatic Systemic Habit’s racing electropop brought fresh life to proceedings. While still sounding like the band that sold so many albums in the mid-Nineties, they were far less dated than their dreary Bond theme The World is Not Enough and the tedious trip hop of Milk.
Manson remains a magnetic performer, red hair billowing in front of a fan, leaving the ageing men in suits around her in the shadows. The whole band displayed a revived hunger for the rock game on Battle in Me, the heaviest chorus of the night, and proved that Garbage aren’t yet ready for the scrapheap.
Garbage play O2 Academy Brixton, SW9 (0844 477 2000, o2academybrixton.co.uk) July 1.