Io Echo + Garbage at House of Blues Boston

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Shirley Manson herself said Ioanna Gika was a star in the making, if not one already.

The crowd at Garbage’s House of Blues show Tuesday evening was wise to be there for Io Echo’s set, because it’s only a matter of time before they explode. One can’t help but be hypnotized watching Ioanna sway on the stage in her loose kimono, summoning the live instruments and booming synth with her siren call.

In recordings, Io Echo’s songs have a found quality to them; Ioanna’s vocals are produced with a scratchy affect that help to make Io Echo’s songs nebulous but close at the same time; it’s shoegaze at its finest. Live, however, Miss Gika’s voice took over the room—her pairing with Leopold Ross’s instrumentals broke from the confines of headphones and blasted through the speakers to soar and shake the room like thunder.

Io Echo performed a lot of gems that night; “Doorway” was a good Garbage companion with its lip biting attitude and screeching melody and that doesn’t let go. “I’m On Fire” was another moody work that dug into the skin. They saved the best for last with “Ministry of Love” and “When the Lillies Die”—these songs are also due to explode if anyone hasn’t caught on to them already. “Ministry” also happens to be the title track of Io Echo’s full length (that’s out tomorrow!); the track and “Lillies” are truly stellar standouts that will whisk you off your feet. They’ll be back one day, and, as Ioanna said to the crowd, they’ll be in touch.

As for that other band, Garbage, well…they knocked it out of the park. The stop at House of Blues was part of an extended leg in support of Not Your Kind of People (the title track which, a day after this show, found its way into the Metal Gear Solid 5 trailer). The set opened with “Automatic Systematic Habit,” the first song on the album that was only destined to kick off Garbage’s performances.

Shirley looked like she was ready to seize the Mad Men set after the dominating this show. She took the stage in a mod black dress and chiffon caplet that fluttered as she sang, a top knot and neon nails. Shirley was happy to return to “hallowed grounds” in Boston, having been at the House of Blues space back when it was still Avalon. She later snagged a sign from a fan that read “Thank You Garbage” in glitter letters, a missive that everyone was totally in agreement with by the end of the night.

Garbage did a great job of balancing the old and new; most of the material was from Not Your Kind of People, but it was outnumbered by one track as everyone was treated to tracks from their masterpiece Version 2.0. “Queer,” “I Think I’m Paranoid,” and “Only Happy When it Rains,” drove the crowd wild. “Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)”—a favorite of mine—was dedicated to all the boys who like to dress up and all the girls who like to dress down.

Garbage departed after the gorgeous “Beloved Freak,” but they came back for an encore, ripping right into “Stupid Girl.” After, Shirley announced that a very special girl was becoming a teenager, Steve Marker’s daughter Ruby, turning the big 1-3 (Shirley’s her godmother and she’s super lucky). Corralling the audience into singing “Happy Birthday,” Shirley plopped a birthday candle headband onto Ruby’s head as Steve helped bring out a lit cake. “Special” was then dedicated to the birthday girl, before the show wrapped with “You Look So Fine” with a tease of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.”

Shirley said that Garbage plans to be in the studio by August once this leg gets through. Boston will be waiting for another amazing tour.

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