Placebo @ O2 Academy summary

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Lives
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

If I was to ask you about the band Placebo your initial reactions would either be “Who are Placebo” or “Placebo, good stuff”. Whilst not the most famous band who everybody knows about most people who do know about them seem to like them. First formed in 1996 they’ve been going for almost 20 years and whilst the time gap between album releases and touring is bigger than usual their live shows make it worth it. On December 12th me and my Dad went to see them at the O2 Academy in Brum.


First up though were Toy and their brand of psychedelic rock. Sorta reminded me of Nine Inch Nails with the strobe lighting and the dark moody atmosphere they laid down. They set the mood well and got the polite applause they deserved. As this was a standing up gig I was able to get a better view, or would’ve done if some tall guy wasn’t in the way, but I could still see the stage though. When Placebo came on they fired up with B3 and For What it’s Worth to make for energetic openers. Of course Brian Molko is well known for his unique voice and it’s another one that sounds good live, no autotone required. Bassist Stefan Olsden towers over Brian and all others and Steve Forrest may scratch his head at the mere notion of a shirt but is still an energetic drummer.


When Placebo have a new album out they seem to play almost all the songs off the album bar a few, and here is no exception. Loud like Love makes for a powerful sounding anthem song and Scene of the Crime was also very pulse pounding and had the audience clapping along to it. The other album they covered a lot of was 2006s Meds. To be fair that album has a lot of great sounding live songs like the mystifying sounding Space Monkey, Post Blue and fan favourite Song to say Goodbye. The problem with having as many albums as Placebo though is that with such a limited time they inevitably have to miss out old favourites (I remembered hearing someone shouting “Special Needs” sadly not getting their request granted). For this set they’re pretty much saying “Hope you like Meds and our new album” because they only played two songs from Battle for the Sun and one from every other album.


Still despite their more limited choice for songs it seems they did chose the best ones to represent each album such as Every You Every Me and The Bitter End. Twenty Years represented their singles album and they even played Running up that Hill from their covers album. What was also cool was all the bright lights and colourful screen images, perhaps a bit too much for the eyes. If I was to tell you I wore shades in a gig venue you’d think “Da Fuq?” but I was actually well prepared, my way of saying Please don’t drive me Blind (see what I did there?).


The set felt like it went by fast and Placebo were able to play a great deal of songs. Probably helped by Brian Molko just getting on with and going from one song to another, however it perhaps would’ve been nicer for more crowd interaction. Also for Space Monkey Brian didn’t use the distorted sounding megaphone that features on the album version. Also the usually bouncy Teenage Angst was played but in a slower tempo, that’s a bit of a shame. Still when you end on a 4-song encore and finish with the awesome Infra-Red the audience can go home pretty much complaint free.


As me and my Dad have seen Placebo many times before (this was the 4th for me) we pretty much knew what to expect from the showing. The band are pretty much consistent on that front. But at the same time it was nice to see them again since the last time I saw them was in 2009. So it wasn’t anything new for me or something that blew me away, no here I’d say it was more “Welcome back old friend”.


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