South Australians are accustomed to seeing concerts threatened by poor ticket sales, and it seems that A Day On The Green is not immune to this predicament. However in this case, credit must be given to the promoters for not canning the event, but opting to relocate festivities to the next best alternative – a slightly reduced line-up at the iconic Thebarton Theatre in suburban Adelaide.
Adalita had the unenviable task of kicking things off to a very slowly filling hall, giving the smattering of fans present a taste of material from her forthcoming album. The Preatures lifted the pulse of the crowd with a blistering set of rockers, with frontwoman Isabella Manfredi oozing charisma. The short-but-sweet performance included Somebody’s Talking and Is This How You Feel?, along with a pulsing cover of Divinyls’ Boys In Town. The more ethereal Temper Trap, to me, seemed an odd choice for major support in a franchise that mainly deals in nostalgia, but the band nonetheless kept most captivated with an animated set of fan favourites.
As headliners Garbage took to the stage (minus iconic producer/drummer Butch Vig), it became clear that what the audience lacked in numbers, they more than made up for in volume. As the band launched into debut album opener Supervixen, enigmatic singer Shirley Manson paced the stage in a wide circle, much like a tiger in a cage… and the audience went nuts. Manson beamed: “You're unbelievably loud for such a small crowd... insane!”
From then on the group belted out hit after hit, including I Think I'm Paranoid, Only Happy When It Rains, Stupid Girl, Vow, Push It, Cherry Lips and the sublime #1 Crush (a highlight of 1997’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack). A wave of happy memories flooded back; it felt like it was the mid-'90s again. A couple of tracks off the band’s 2016 Strange Little Birds album reminded us that Garbage is still a going concern, producing respectable music 20 years since its heyday. A false start on Special was brushed off by Manson, who quipped “Shit happens... we’re a bit panicked because of the weird curfew at this venue.”
And so it seemed that before we knew it, the band’s one-hour set was up and we all stumbled out into the night with aching legs but happy souls.