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The Point Depot, Dublin,
January 14th 1999.

The only surprising thing about Garbage playing the ever-dreary Point Depot is that they have never played it before. When trying to capture the perfect, hollow sound for vocals on their second album, Garbage briefly set up stall in a disused warehouse, somewhere near Madison, USA. Singer Shirley Manson's voice could bounce off the walls with multiple technically precise samples and loops overdubbed in synch.

Garbage have never been cosy or warm, and neither has the ever-dreary Point Depot. And it's difficult not to be suspicious when a show's highlights are the spotlights - all purple and green and blinding as they crowd searched.

But, Garbage are still a class pop act and it shows. Naff lyrics, hilarious crowd teasing, futuristic pretensions, lots of jumping up and down; What more could anyone ask for?

From the cringe-inducing-when-sober venom of first single 'Vow' through to the childish sheep-imitating on latest single 'When I Grow Up', Garbage use the international language of screeching to full effect. Out of key anger about not much in particular, apolitical and uncomplicated, Garbage are so great tonight you can almost forgive Shirley for her unconvincing, self-doubting interview persona and her ultra-serious hatred of the Spice Girls.

Manson apologised more than once for being severely under-rehearsed. But even if Garbage's human element were following the time-honoured route of using Dublin as a tour warm-up city, the computers had no need to iron out performance creases. End result: smooth one-hundred and something beats per minute throbbing with no need for paracetamol.

Then there's the added bonus of watching the middle-aged male players cling desperately onto their guitars, wringing out every last ounce of trendiness as if arthritis would take hold the second they stopped. Butch, Steve and Duke are so old in rock terms, when Shirley starts singing "Version 2.0" highlight 'The Trick is to Keep Breathing', you can be sure they're listening very closely for tips.

by Laura Slattery