I bought a ticket for this, and my roomate Keith just got handed tickets for it. I remember that he didn't seem all that interested in going and even though he had gotten some free tickets, he kind of shrugged and played it off like "I'm sure there's something better to do than to go to see Garbage tonight." Maybe there was, and by the time of this show my interest in them was starting to wane, but I still got a little antsy at the thought that he was so dismissive of the gig.
Garbage was obviously stealing part of their MO from Curve, but they had taken the sound out of goth/industrial clubs and onto top 40 radio. I don't know how much of that owed to Shirley Manson's sexed up media persona and how much of it was due to the music actually being catchy, but by this time, Garbage was a popular act. When people teeter on that line between underground cool and highly-exposed pop, a band like Garbage becomes a bit of a lithmus test. Not that such things should really ever play into a decision, but the question starts to become "do you really like ?" and the answer to that question either admits you to hip society or gets you banished from it. It's funny how that works, and how it can be perfectly acceptible to like a band up until a certain point when the tastemakers turn on it, and how after that happens, any association with the band is seen as cool anathema!
I never much worried about that--I liked what I liked--whether that meant Coil or Melanie C. In time, it would become cool to like over-exposed pop music again, and I guess that kids now have a different kind of dividing line because their media is so chopped up and redistributed in different ways. If you are a a white kid from the suburbs who has moved into town for college or to make it for the first time on your own living in an apartment with three friends, it's apparently very cool to like dirty south hip hop, booty music, and Justin Timberlake. I mean, I like some of that too, but watching people go nuts for it in their Chucks and indie rock t-shirts is just a little unsettling. In a way, the cool-factor of the music you get into now seems to be more about how sincerely you approach it than it does how much you actually like it. Maybe this was always the case and I was just too immersed in my own world to notice. I make no bones about the fact that I liked and still do listen to pop music, and that I appreciate it sincerely. I don't think that it's cool or that it adds a lot to my life in any deeply artistic way, but then neither does a lot of music that sells a lot less. If I had free tickets to see Garbage today, I'm pretty sure I would still go.