Placebo played De Montfort Hall in Leicester as part of their UK tour. Review by Alex Scoppie with photos by David Jackson
After two decades of ploughing their singular furrow of glammed-up punk and bombastic rock with a seedy undertone, Placebo could easily settle into greatest hits mode and rest on their laurels.
It’s to their credit that they choose not to, focusing squarely and stubbornly on newer material at their show in a near-full De Montfort Hall, rather than lazily churning out the hits, but then band leader Brian Molko is a man one can’t imagine ever taking the easy way out of anything.
Shining with sweat, his trademark lank black locks back in place, Molko prowls the hall’s huge stage, snatching at chords on his guitar and delivering barbed lyrics with venom.
He lets his songs do the talking, and communication between him and his avid fans between numbers is scarce.
His right hand man (and only other original line up-member) Stefan Olsdal, fully bearded and towering above his band mate, provides an ideal foil to Brian’s confrontational style, occasionally grinning as he grinds out grooves to fan favourites ‘Loud Like Love’ and ‘Meds’ on his rainbow bass.
The two are backed by a formidable trio – Matthew Lunn taking up the recently vacated mantle of drummer with relish as he hammers out bruising beats, while William Lloyd’s guitar and Bella Union regular Fiona Brice’s violin add depth, drive and volume to each of the emotionally wrought songs.
Molko and Co power through a dazzling, deafening set, dipping just once into their debut album with the earnest, heart-on-sleeve ‘I Know’, before rounding off with an encore that features a surprisingly effective, slow burning cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’.
At the end, the five of them link arms and bow together, underlining a somewhat theatrical, no-holds-barred performance which the fans lapped up.
For What It’s Worth
Loud Like Love
Every You Every Me
Scene of the Crime
A Million Little Pieces
Rob the Bank
Too Many Friends
Song to Say Goodbye
The Bitter End
Begin the End
Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God) – (Kate Bush cover)
More photos of Placebo by David Jackson:
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