Written by Samuel Barker
Nov 01, 2002 at 08:00 PM
ImageThe phrase, “Time flies when you’re having fun” never rang so true. It was the night of thunderous female empowerment, and everyone knew it was, indeed, Ladies Night.

Opening the show was punk rock’s fresh muse, the Distillers. Although the group lost two members recently, they make a riotous noise for a three-person band. Brody Armstrong took turns at lead vocals with her bassist Ryan. Deciding who was singing lead was confusing, since their voices sound the same and the lyrics could not be heard or understood. Drummer Andy Outbreak beat the drums as if frustrated even though his facial expression displayed a different emotion.

Despite the lack of audience reaction, the Distillers played well perhaps hoping to introduce people to a new sound, a pitch that is rarely heard in rock music today but slowly making its return.

With little audience interaction, as they appeared on stage, they headed straight to their instruments and began playing, song after song. It was not until the last selection that Armstrong thanked the crowd for arriving early to see them play and dedicated a love song to her “wife,” Garbage front woman, Shirley Manson. “I love that woman!” she exclaimed.

The womanly festivities continued as special guest and co-headliners Garbage took the stage. Immense cheers greeted the band as they walked out and immediately began playing to an energetic crowd. “I’m getting chills,” the lead singer said in her Scottish accent.

A happy Manson jumped around the stage to her own beat, while Duke Erikson and Steve Marker did double duty as guitarists and keyboardists. Each man ran to the fingerboards, hitting the right notes and buttons creating the loops that made many of the group’s tunes beautifully harmonious.

Butch Vig, drummer and genius producer behind Nirvana’s Nevermind, throbbed his musical device as his chin-lengthed hair faintly got in his way. Waves upon waves of fans jumped along to each song, matching the band’s liveliness for the night.

In between songs, Manson read fan posters aloud, one saying “Shirley, you’re my hero,” to which the Scottish dame responded that the fan is misguided. Manson was then in search of her favorite sign, which read, “Avril Lavigne is a Stupid Girl.” The audience roared in laughter and applauded while the lead singer skipped away with a big grin on her face.

The only disappointment in this performance was the group’s set was far too short and hearing the songs on disc was nothing compared to the live performance. Walking away from the concert, one hungers for a listen of any Garbage material. After popping in the CD, fans will come to terms with appreciating the live stage show even more, where every song was justified, sounding superior and deafening, the way it should be.

The fans united as one when the notable of the night appeared, the top billing No Doubt. The lights were down and an intro similar that on the band’s current album played. “A real love survives,” Gwen Stefani’s vocals crooned from the speakers in the dark. Heads looked everywhere on the stage, searching for the obscured figures walking up to the mics and instruments as the noise level increased rapidly, rivaling that of a Janet Jackson concert.

Instead of arriving from the side like the previous acts, the band emerged from the end of the glowing catwalk, with drummer Adrian Young beginning the first bars of the group’s hit, Hella Good. There was Stefani, with her blonde hair up in a half ponytail. Her attire consisted of a black and white striped top, plaid pants that accompanied amid a cape with “Gwen” in glitter. Uncommonly, she wore black boots instead of the painful looking high heels she usually sports at award shows and television performances.

Another attire surprise for the night was Young, who regularly dons a g-string but instead wore bluish-gray boxer shorts. Bassist Tony Kanal wore matching but fitted plaid pants while guitarist Tom Dumont wore a hat and suit coat.

Stefani maneuvered her hips partially similar to Shakira’s, coming from her own musical sense unlike other blonde, choreographed pop tarts. The group had a good time on stage, and with the exception of Young who stayed behind the drum kit, ran around chasing each other during Artificial Sweetner. Kanal and the lead singer jumped at the same time, meeting half way. During Hey Baby, the keyboards Kanal used had some technical difficulty. While the technicians fix the problem, the band continued to play on while Kanal jumped off the drum stage repeatedly.

As the night ended, one wonders when the time passed, where it all went and why was it all too short. It was a show that nobody wanted to end and a high that’ll last throughout the week.