Concert Review: Garbage & Metric @ SPAC, 07/08/2023
Growing up in the 90s, certain bands became the soundtrack to my life and the lives of my peers. One of those bands was Oasis, which was formed by brothers Noel and Liam Gallagher. The band became global superstars with the release of their 1994 debut album, Definitely Maybe. The record is generally regarded as one of the best debut albums of all time. Singles “Live Forever” and “Supersonic” sound just as fresh today as they did back then.
A quick follow-up record, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, was released to critical acclaim a year later. That record was chock full of anthems, including “Champagne Supernova,” “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” and the inescapable “Wonderwall.” Between 1995 and 2008, they released five more studio albums before calling it quits. The relationship between Noel and Liam has long been fodder for tabloids. Liam was the charismatic frontman, while Noel was the primary songwriter and guitarist. When the time came to film their episode of MTV Unplugged in 1996, Liam was a no-show, forcing Noel to take the spotlight and sing the band’s songs. Not only did Noel sing the songs that night, but he also showed that he was a star in his own right. After the Oasis breakup, Liam formed Beady Eye, and Noel formed Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.
I never got to see Oasis live, and I doubt that I ever will. When I heard that Noel was coming to Broadview Stage at SPAC, I jumped at the opportunity to see at least half of this legendary band in concert. Unfortunately, the show was canceled before Gallagher was able to take the stage. Gallagher was slated to start at 9:40pm. I stood in the photo pit, anxiously awaiting his arrival. The house lights were all on and seemed to be brighter than usual. At around 10pm a road crew member stepped up to the microphone and announced that the show had to be canceled due to “circumstances beyond our control.” He requested that everyone move to the exits in an orderly fashion. I was surprised at how quickly and peacefully people left the venue. Only once I got to the parking lot did I learn there had been a bomb threat, forcing the evacuation. Law enforcement swept the grounds with explosive-detecting K9s and determined that the threat was a hoax.
Before all of this, there were two fantastic performances by opening acts, Garbage and Metric.
Garbage played for just over an hour, serving up fifteen tracks. Lead singer Shirley Manson was in peak form. She prowled the stage and showed why she is one of rock’s most impressive leaders. Manson is an undeniable rockstar. She oozes attitude and charisma. The band has had the same four core members since its inception. Manson sings while Dave Erikson and Steve Marker provide the guitars and keyboards, while the legendary Butch Vig propels the music on drums. They are joined by touring bassist Daniel Shulman. They opened the set with “Supervixen,” the opening track from their 1995 eponymous debut record. The moody “#1 Crush,” a B-Side that was also on the Romeo and Juliet soundtrack, followed. They played songs from six of their seven studio albums, leaning more on their earlier records. They saved most of the “hits” for later in the set. “Only Happy When It Rains” was reworked with a beautiful piano intro. One fan, in particular, learned that Manson is not one to be trifled with. Manson began speaking about climate change when one fan decided to boo her. BAD choice. She absolutely laid into them; it was glorious.
Toronto natives Metric opened the show with a tight forty-minute set. There were killer hooks and melodies within their nine songs. They wasted no time with banter in between songs. Lead singer Emily Haines alternated between guitar and keyboards. Haines founded the band in 2008 with lead guitarist James Shaw. Their sound has elements of indie rock, synth-pop, and alternative rock. Their rhythms make it impossible to sit still. Forty minutes of Metric is just not enough. Hopefully, they will make their way back through the area on a headlining tour.
As disappointing as it was to miss Noel Gallagher live, I was impressed with how well the staff managed the evacuation and how well the crowd acted. Things could have gone sideways quickly, but it was handled efficiently and effectively. I hope the fans of the Capital District get another chance to see this rock and roll legend in concert in the near future.