Beautiful Garbage

Posted: November 19, 2016 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Last night, I went to go to Garbage with Erin. I had seen the ads for the concert on a giant light up screen across from a long crosswalk that I have to wait at for minutes at a time when coming home from Taekwondo. I got excited, but figured that no one else would want to go to the concert with me. Thankfully, Erin is a fan of Garbage, and she initiated an email asking if any of us ASEEES people wanted to see it.

Getting the tickets was a bit of an affair. The website refused to accept either my or Erin’s American credit card, so I decided to go on an adventure to get the tickets from the venue on Monday after I finished up at the military archive. Thankfully, Monday is Anne-Marie’s free day, so we turned it into a super adventure. She met me at Voikovskaya on the green line, one stop from the military archive, and we walked to the station for the new Moscow Central Ring light-rail, metro extension.

Cruising in comfort at almost 100 KPH between stations.

Cruising in comfort at almost 100 KPH between stations.

We rode about nine stops on that, and got off near the concert venue. I got the tickets for us, which ended up being good because there was not an additional 300 ruble service charge if picking up the tickets in person. Anne-Marie and I then popped into the major shopping center to get coffee and donuts from Dunkin Donuts while brainstorming dinner.

Cultural differences: they sell pistachio cream filled donuts in Russia.

Cultural differences: they sell pistachio cream filled donuts in Russia.

We decided to make nachos, and they turned out spectacularly.

Nacho night featuring salsa from Texas, past its prime guacamole dip that was package for the Scandinavian market, and Siberian Corona because the store didn't have the Mexican stuff this time. I believe it was the great Pushkin who wrote, "We were hungry, we were ambitious; we regret nothing, because they were f***ing delicious."

Nacho night featuring salsa from Texas, past its prime guacamole dip that was package for the Scandinavian market, and Siberian Corona because the store didn’t have the Mexican stuff this time. I believe it was the great Pushkin who wrote, “We were hungry, we were ambitious; we regret nothing, because they were f***ing delicious.”

Erin and I met before the concert and grabbed dinner at a North Korean restaurant next to the venue. The place was both exciting and bizarre. For example, there were karaoke videos playing on a TV in the room, thankfully without the accompanying music. The videos were very patriotic, and many of them showed marching soldiers, rolling tanks, and battalions of anti-aircraft guns. The menu was also both enormous and tiny at the same time. Cuisine is a very apt window into daily life in a country. The years of somewhat isolation and hardship in North Korean came across very clearly in the food. Most of the dishes were based around either kimchee or noodles in various combinations. There were a few grilled meat options, but they were quite different from their South Korean counterparts. Also, unlike in most South Korean restaurants, the accompanying plates of appetizers and garnishes, banchan, was missing.

We headed into the concert venue and had our bags checked and passed through metal detectors before dropping out coats off at the coat check. We headed up to the concert floor and moved easily towards a location that wasn’t too far from the stage. While waiting for the show to start, she said, “Isn’t this better than being at ASEEES?” ASEEES is the Associate for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies, which annually runs a convention the weekend before Thanksgiving. The concert was certainly better than being at the conference. (Just kidding, we love you ASEEES. Thanks for supporting us through research grants!) At almost 8:00 promptly, the bad took the stage. They proceeded to rock out for almost two hours, which included a three song encore.

Waiting for the show to start. The Lafayette Leopard in me was excited by the backdrop.

Waiting for the show to start. The Lafayette Leopard in me was excited by the backdrop.

Oddly enough, this is the second time that I’ve seen Garbage in my life, and both times have been in Russia. I saw them as part of the Rock Nad Volgoi festival near Samara in 2012.

One from the archives: Garbage at the Rock Nad Volgoi Festival near Samara in 2012.

One from the archives: Garbage at the Rock Nad Volgoi Festival near Samara in 2012.

Like last time, they were supremely amazing. Shirley Manson is a great front-woman. In between the songs, she made sure to say hello to Moscow and thank you in Russia. She also told a great story about the band and their commitment to their Russian fans. Garbage has been coming to Russia for twenty years. She mentioned that growing up as a child in Scotland, she was told that she would never get to go to Russia because it existed behind and Iron Curtain. She then said that we always want what we can’t have, and that she had a dream of coming to the country, which was reachable through glasnost. Basically, we got a history lesson on the collapse of the Soviet Union from a Scottish lead singer of an American rock band. It was super rad. At some point in the night, she saw some fan art and demanded that the crowd give it to her. She said that she was going to give it to her father. She spoke quite frequently between some of the songs, and in fairly detailed sentences. I don’t know if it’s a comment regarding English proficiency in Moscow or the kind of people who would listen to this band, but the crowd seemed to follow along with what she was saying and cheered at appropriate moments.

Much closer to the band than the last time I saw them.

Much closer to the band than the last time I saw them.

Shirley was also quite brave before playing the song “Sex Isn’t the Enemy.” She gave a short speech about tolerance and dedicated the song to the LGBTQ community. I thought this was bold statement to make given Russia’s very conservative stance on those issues. They’re supposed to return to Russia again later as part of their world tour promoting their new album, so hopefully no troubles come of this.

Shirley Manson is a fantastic performer and seems like she never runs out of energy.

Shirley Manson is a fantastic performer and seems like she never runs out of energy.

The crowd was absolutely into the show. Everyone was jumping around and singing along. The band did a good job of mixing some of their most popular songs like “Stupid Girl” and “I’m Only Happy When It Rains” with their new material. The only downside was that the drummer and famous music producer, Butch Vig, wasn’t playing. Due to health issues, he’s grounded stateside and can’t travel with the group. Nonetheless, it was a fantastic evening, and I’ll definitely go see Garbage again if given the opportunity to do so.

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