Today, there’s a large number of successful, powerful, revered and inspiring female artists in many genres of music. Over the past 30-plus years, many doors have been kicked open by trailblazing females, allowing for new growth and acceptance—and both Blondie and Garbage have had a direct influence on that progress. Yet, this acceptance and growth has not come quickly or without its heaping share of resistance due to ignorance. Even in this day and age, some, or most, female artists are treated as a novelty or gimmick, playing on the very discrimination that the industry is claiming to be throwing away. The perseverance of Debbie Harry and Shirley Manson has been paramount in pushing these imposed boundaries aside, and others have benefited from these two frontwomen.
A key ingredient to the inspiration these ladies provide is the impeccable execution of their art. Manson's powerful stage presence combined with the superb playing of her band is capable of grabbing anyone’s attention and demanding respect. Garbage is one of the last pop rock groups to maintain level of edginess and darkness while still receiving consistent radio play. There used to be more of a heaviness to pop music, and not in a sense of sadness or an abrasive nature, but just built with more substance—something that stands the test of time, with relevance. The performance by Garbage showcased exactly that.
This current tour continues to support their 2016 release Strange Little Birds, but their live set list was a journey through the band's catalog, sometimes prefaced by quick stories and information regarding the songs' origins. Garbage has already held firm their place in music but not yet become complacent, which is something this world needs more of.
Perseverance and relevance are an understatement to Blondie's legacy. The band is on tour in support of their new album Pollinator, and Harry’s outfit on stage reflected the album's title as she wore a yellow-and-black striped dress with a headband adorned with two plush bees. The ensemble was also accompanied by a cape that read "Stop Fucking The Planet." It was very exciting to see a band with this type of catalog and legacy continue to put out good music that provides commentary on the present state of the world. The current lineup of musicians supporting Harry on this tour were exceptional and seemed to be having a great time playing music.
With all of that aside, it was amazing to witness the pure fun and joy on people's faces throughout Blondie's performance. The instant love and adoration towards Debbie Harry was extremely moving to witness. People of so many different walks of life were gathered to enjoy this iconic music: Everyone from metalheads to middle-aged mothers were there to ride the same wave. —Guy Nelson