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As an act whom frontman Brian Molko himself has labelled “for outsiders, by outsiders,” Placebo are certainly embraced by a wide cross-section, and this cross-appeal makes them all the more interesting. Their glam/alternative/industrial rock still sounds cool and now in their 20th year, Placebo are amongst the elder statesmen of rock. Rightly so after tonight’s marathon performance.
The sold-out Enmore was already heaving, but when Placebo took the stage at bang on 9pm it became a rock ‘n’ roll rollercoaster ride as they delivered an almost two-hour set. The band knew what the fans wanted and played to their own strengths, while dropping in a few surprises as well. Molko and partner-in-crime Stefan Olsdal led the charge, laying out a stack of hits like Song To Say Goodbye, Every You Every Me, and the epic Twenty Years.
Since their last tour, Placebo have dropped a new album, the sadly overlooked Loud Like Love, and the boys decided to play through a good chunk of it. It was great to see the new tracks receive such a strong response, with Rob The Bank, Loud Like Love, and the thrashy Scene Of The Crime served with aplomb. Exit Wound and Purify were set highlights, as was the cracking Too Many Friends.
Afterwards, a blistering encore ensued, the slow-building Teenage Angst, followed by a fine cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill. The final one-two punch of Post Blue and Infra-Red capped off a tight, professional performance. What Placebo showed tonight was that their brand is as strong as ever and perhaps more relevant in the current trend of indie bands trying too hard to be cool.
Witness a Placebo gig and you’ll learn how it’s done. Unlike so many of their Brit rock contemporaries, who in recent years seem to have disappeared up their own arse, Placebo still deliver an honest and uncompromising performance. Bravo, lads.
Photo by Ashley Mar