sat 11/07/2020

Placebo, Brixton Academy | reviews, news & interviews

Placebo, Brixton Academy

Placebo, Brixton Academy

A wall of sound and a dazzling spectacle from Brian Molko and the rest of the band

Pervy sex and drugs and rock and roll: Placebo's Brian Molko

My, haven’t they grown? In the several years (perhaps even a decade) since I last caught Placebo live, they’ve gone from being a scrawny three-piece with a somewhat thin sound – for much of the gig, I saw, they didn’t even have a bassist on stage – to become a properly equipped rock band with six on-stage members: here, on the first of two nights in south London, the band consisted of the regular trio, plus three side-persons on guitars, bass, keyboards and violin. They made quite a noise, blasting out satisfyingly slabby slices of sound.

Their music is churning, insistent, heavy enough to merit coverage in Kerrang! magazine and yet poppy, too. It’s a sort of hardcore bubblegum

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I beg to differ. Brian Molko is by all means a great singer. Greatness is not in how loud a singer can holler (though he has a good set of lungs), but in what a singer does with his voice. The way he plays with his voice and all the subtle connotations he uses through that voice to color certain lyrics, is what makes him great. I've understood what he wants to say through certain lyrics just through these little tricks, and I buy his records mainly for the pleasure of them.

I join Jihan immediately. Brian Molko is one of the greatest singer I have ever listened to. I add that his voice is chamaleontic and it can be really different from one song to another. This is particularly evident in covers where his voice can be impalpable (dark globe), extremely powerful (jackie), Dalida-like (ne me quitte pas), soft and intense (running up that hill). And the emotions he conveys through his voice are almost tactile.

Let me start by saying that I love Placebo, especially Brian, and they've been my favorite band for 11 years now. Unfortunately, it used to be that Placebo fans would throw themselves in front of a train for the band, but Brian has been too much of a diva on too many occasions for them to care THAT much anymore. He tends to have people taking pictures and/or recording during the concerts thrown out (even though you can submit these same videos on YouTube to possibly be displayed on Placebo's website) or he just stops the show completely because he doesn't like the crowd. He sometimes forgets who pays him, and his antics are starting to wear on a once uber-loyal fanbase. These people pay hard-earned money on Placebo's concerts expecting to have great memories of their favorite band, only to be screwed in the end because Brian's in a bad mood. That's why fans get mad when a concert's suddenly stopped, instead of being concerned about the health of the band members like they would be with most other bands. Brian needs to love his fans and REALLY appreciate them, then Placebo can be on top once again. Again, these are not my sentiments, as I have not actually been to a Placebo concert (I'm from the US), but I do understand why others might feel this way. It's a shame that such an amazing man can be such a bi*** to the people that adore him.

Oh yes, it seems that Brian is sometimes a little diva and ending the gig in Moscow in this way was really annoying for these extremely devoted and fantastic fans over there. The Russian audience has earned it much better, especially being not gifted with a lot of gigs like the people in London! But his recent words and performances indicate that he knows very well that it was not ok! yes, he is weak, yes he behaves bad sometimes, yes he makes mistakes, but who don't ? And he shares his weakness with us in his lyrics and in his performance on stage! Further he presented us some of the best songs ever written.... AND he should go back to Moscow and finish what he has started there!!

i havent seen Placebo since their hit single Nancy Boy. Tonight was a disappointment though in every sense. the stage set up clearly confirmed that this was a two man show with backing band. The white line denoting no member of the backing band could cross reminded me of 1980's guitar egos and confirmed this was no 'band'. And what was with all the continual guitar changes? would anyone in the audience appreciate the difference between a Gretch, Les Paul or Telecaster? No, I very much doubt it and maybe just for show rather than substance. The last straw was when I saw Stefan Olsdal thrash his guitar only to hear the mixing guy fade it up for the chorus. I could stand no more. This isn't Rock an Roll. it's a pantomime at best but without the humour. Formulaic and prescribed, a well rehearsed show with no teeth, all glitz and no glam. For me Placebo live are the antithesis of what a live band should be. I just hope all the young emo's in the crowd could see there is more to music than this.

This article hit the nail right on the head. Bravo, David Cheal. (thumbs up)

As a lover of Placebo but hater of all things ego and pretentious, I was concerned about the diva antics someone alleges. There is just no need for that in music; music is about universal language and love, and it has no greater antithesis than pretentiousness. My wife and I, both big Placebo fans, were at the gig on Monday and thought it was terrific. The only odd part was that Brian seemed a little automotive in his approach, not addressing the crowd, not even to say "thanks and goodnight". But the performance itself was terrific. To the person that criticised this as not rock-and-roll, well whoever said Placebo was rock-and-roll? Placebo are what they are; the electro, pop descendants of a curious mixture of Nirvana, The Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna and much more. The guitar changes, for anyone who doesn't play guitar, are due to the variety of effects and peddle presets used in different songs. The guitars are prepped, I assume, during songs, so Brian can just get right on with it when he picks it up.

I was at both Brixton Shows and IMO the band was just great on both evenings. They did deliver exactly that kind of show that could have been expected from them (it's nothing new that Brian's not very talkative during most concerts and while this might be a bit sad we all know that that's just the way he is). On the other hand, Archive do not say one single word and their concerts are brilliant anyway. Apart from that, the comments from David Cheal are hitting the nail on the head. Only his opinion that Brian can't sing is a bit exaggerated :-). I would fully agree with Jihan on this one. I also think that it would have been great if they had played the new song from the redux edition and I was disappointed that they didn't play Devil In The Details.which I love to bits. I, personally, would have preferred that over Nancy Boy but then you can't please everybody! I also don't know what kind of problem some people have with Brian changing his guitars a lot. I certainly am not able to hear a difference between a Gretsch and a Fender but if the band does then it's fine with me. As long as the result sounds as good as it does they can change their guitars before every song as far as I'm concerned :-)). But that's all not so important. What really induced me to come out of my comfort zone and write this comment (read: what made me angry as hell), is the post of Angie (from the US, of course, where else would she be from, expressing an opinion like that...) So I would strongly beg to differ between the opinion of US fans and the opinion of fans from the rest of the world. (Dear Angie, opinions expressed from some furious would-be fans on Facebook are by no means representative for ALL the fans around the world - read the forums). I am one of those loyal fans she's talking about (for 11 years now) and, no, I wouldn't throw myself in front of a bus for them - though not for the reasons mentioned by her. I just wouldn't do that for anyone. Especially not for someone who wouldn't throw themselves in front of a bus for me :-). I really do wonder how Angie claims to know exactly how all other long term fans feel. That's so ignorant that it drives me up the walls. I, for example, DO care about the health of the band - instead of those who would have wanted them to play the US tour no matter if Brian collapsed or not. I (and not only I – again read the forums) was upset when I heard that Brian collapsed on stage in Japan and I was also worried at first when I heard about the first Moscow show. Luckily (for him) he seemed to recover quite fast this time (and, yes, there are health problems that might make it impossible to finish a show one night while playing at the next, so I do believe it when they say he felt very ill and just couldn't go on. Why should they be lying about that? Steve made it very clear that it wasn't due to the venue or the fans but only Brian's health.). However, IF he wouldn't have recovered and, subsequently, both Brixton gigs had to be cancelled I wouldn't have been angry – only severely worried about him. Although I booked flights and hotel etc. But when I do that, I know that people are neither robots nor virtual figures and that they can get sick - and health always comes first no matter what. So I would never ever have posted rude comments on Facebook in this case. What also makes me sick to the bone is when I read comments like: he's just in a bad mood so he finishes the concert before it should have ended. Maybe he was like that – back in the days when he was heavily into all kinds of unhealthy things but that's over. I've seen Brian playing whole concerts when he was obviously very ill and I highly doubt that, nowadays, he would just walk out on a crowd just because he's in a bad mood. I don't know Placebo personally (and I suppose neither does Angie). I've never even met anyone of them but I've been so far to 40 concerts and not one of them ended earlier than it should have. Although, strangely, the crowd often just seemed to stand there like rocks in a sea to take photos and film the show instead of enjoying the moment and cheer and sing along and generally have fun. And – believe me – that's not only spoiling (understandably) the mood of the band (Brian complained about it once during those 40 concerts but didn't stop the show) but that of everyone else who goes to their concerts to have fun that night. And that's not only my opinion. If I were a member of a band, I would also find it frustrating if people were just standing around like sticks, clicking away with their cameras while I was trying to deliver a good show and to pour my heart and soul into the songs to get the fans going. And you can actually see how they get more and more disappointed and seem to lose their energy if there's no feed-back from the crowd. That's just not what they deserve. So if you demand more love from the band you should now and then try to see things not only from your point of view. (I don't even want to get into some other issues that happened during the time they still had a fan club.) And even if you do invest all your hard earned money into the band – you can't buy love. Love is a very strong expression and not one that's actually applicable to the “relationship” of a band with their fans. They should respect their fans and try to give their best, of course, but love??? How can you love someone you do not know and have never even met??? What made me almost laugh was the "if Placebo would truly love their fans they could be on top again" comment. Again??? They've never been bigger, the venues they played have never been larger... How do you define big? When they play a series of club shows in the US in front of 500 fans??? Because I believe this is the true reason for all those bitter comments: that fans in the US always believed that they are something special and Placebo naturally could never do without them like no one in this world can do without the US :-)))). At least that's what comes across and what a lot of people seem to think there. And that the US are naturally entitled to the same (if not better) treatment than the rest of the world. Until the BFTS tour came along and with it some cancelled and yet not re-scheduled US dates. Oh my, once in 15 years Placebo dared to not especially please their US fan base! To not play in every living room, every back yard and I don't know where else. And the realisation that Placebo might not actually need the US-fans after all and might not play there during this tour at all because the fans in Asia, South America, Australia and Europe are not only far more numerous but half as selfish and demanding as the people in the US. I'm still fuming when I think of the last tour and the "come the f*kc to my bedroom and play there you bastards" comments from the US. I've never read any comments who were so demanding from other nations. So maybe it's the fans in the US who think like Angie but I doubt that most real fans in the rest of the world think like that. And it would be a true blessing if the US fans just found themselves another band who caters for their “special needs”. Sorry for this long rant but I finally had to get rid of this. Now open fire :-)!

To Jai: I find your response to my comment very interesting and you have significantly brightened up my day. I really needed a chuckle, and I'm thankful you could supply me with that! However, maybe you should concern yourself with actually reading my post before you rant about it. Read my comment again, and then read yours. Your rant is a bit of an irrational reaction to what my comment ACTUALLY said, now isn't it? =) It seems as though you know what Americans think and feel, as we are all exactly the same of course, just like all people from your country think and feel exactly the same as each other. LOL Prejudice, prejudice, prejudice. There is no place in this world for blanket statements concerning an entire country of people soley based on a few comments you may have read. I don't believe in stereotypes, but it seems you do. I feel bad for you that you are so ignorant and unworldly. This actually made me stop chuckling for a moment, but thankfully you went back to being funny not too long after. Maybe I should assume that you are so pissed off about my comment simply because I'm from the US? Seems a bit silly, doesn't it? But from your comment it seems it could be likely, i guess. Hey, maybe I should assume you are French too, as it's said that all French people hate all American people. This must be true, right? I think not. Oh well, not my problem I guess. I clearly stated the fact that these were NOT my sentiments, but that I could understand WHY OTHERS MIGHT FEEL THIS WAY. I never even said that I agree with these people, I only stated that I could understand. People are capable of understanding why someone feels a certain way even when they don't agree with them. I in no way said ALL fans (or even a majority, for that matter) feel this way, though pretending that I did probably makes you feel better about your weird, irrational (albeit funny) anger toward my comment. As I stated in my post, of which it seems you didn't actually read much of, I am a long-time Placebo fan and I have no problems with them. They have been my favorite band for 11 years, and I don't see that ending anytime soon. I was (obviously) responding to the part of this article that stated "would not exactly throw themselves in front of a bus" (though I said train) "for their heroes, but nevertheless hold them in high esteem." I offered a possible explanation for why this might be, based on comments I have read from people all over the world. It's only an observation, so I can't understand why you would take it so personally. Does your life revolve around what other people think about things? It shouldn't... Oh, but I did say that it's a shame that such an amazing man can be such a b**** to his fans. That was actually my opinion. And it really is a shame, but some of the greatest artists have had bad temperament problems from time to time, so I'm not bothered by it. That doesn't mean others aren't, though. Sorry if you don't agree. Well, I don't care really, but that's neither here nor there as I'm sure you don't care either. My observations (from forums actually, not Facebook =)) are just that, observations, not my opinion. Read the "tour" area of many Placebo forums and you will see the complaints from Europeans, Asians, Australians, and yes, even a few Americans. Many fans are put off by Brian's attitude during some of the concerts, and that can make them care about the band less. No need for you to be offended just because you don't feel the same way. Others are entitled to feel differently than you do. It's great that you haven't had a bad experience at a Placebo concert, but that doesn't mean that others haven't and that it hasn't affected their opinion of the band. I never complained that Placebo has been here so few times, as I understand why the US wouldn't be a top priority for them. Why waste time touring a country with so few fans when they could be touring countries with many more fans. I understand, accept, and even agree with this, and have never stated differently, so your theory about my comment being about bitterness is unfounded and absolutely incorrect. As a matter of fact, my boyfriend and I were hoping to take a trip to Europe this year and we would have made sure to see Placebo at some point while we were there, but we were unable to. We will be taking a trip to Europe sometime in the future, and you can bet it will coincide with a Placebo tour so that we can see them. So obviously I (along with most Americans, of course) feel entitled....false. If that were true, we would never consider seeing them anywhere other than the US. Everyone in the world is different from each other, and there are people in every country who feel "entitled" to something. I do not happen to feel entitled to anything. For you to say this is specific to Americans is ignorant, though extremely amusing in it's wrongness. "And it would be a true blessing if the US fans just found themselves another band who caters for their “special needs”." -- Why would this be a blessing? Placebo doesn't have a ton of American fans, so why would it matter either way? I don't think it would be a blessing or a curse to anyone. There would be no reason for anyone to want that. What a weird statement for you to make. Why do you care if Americans like Placebo? Are you that prejudicial that you can't even stand to have Americans liking your beloved band? Grow up you weirdo. I doubt any member of Placebo feels this way. I don't think they want their American fans to stop liking them simply because they live in the US. Uh... but thanks for sharing your nonsensical opinion/idea! This one was super funny!! It made me laugh so hard I had tears running down my face! =) "I really do wonder how Angie claims to know exactly how all other long term fans feel." -- You will never get an answer to your wondering because I never claimed to know exactly how ALL other long-term fans feel, or even the majority for that matter. Not even close buddy. =) Again, read my comment. And ACTUALLY read it this time. LOL "Luckily (for him) he seemed to recover quite fast this time (and, yes, there are health problems that might make it impossible to finish a show one night while playing at the next, so I do believe it when they say he felt very ill and just couldn't go on. Why should they be lying about that? " -- Uh, I never said he was lying. I never even implied it. I said "That's why fans get mad when a concert's suddenly stopped, instead of being concerned about the health of the band members like they would be with most other bands". I never said anyone lied about anything, nor would I ever even assume that. I also never said anyone else ever said this was a lie. I never even spoke of a specific incident. It would be wise to not put words into people's mouths because it just makes you look stupid, though it is very amusing to read. =) "What also makes me sick to the bone is when I read comments like: he's just in a bad mood so he finishes the concert before it should have ended. Maybe he was like that – back in the days when he was heavily into all kinds of unhealthy things but that's over." -- EXACTLY! You just reiterated my point. Thank you Cutie! That is what I was talking about when I said his diva antics have worn on his fanbase. I never said the ENTIRE fanbase either. I also never said this was the norm for a Placebo concert either. It's just a fact that it has happened, and on a few too many occasions for it to be ignored by some. This is why some people assume the worst when a concert is ended early with no explanation. It's great that YOU worry instantly, but due to past actions, not all fans think this way immediately when a concert is ended early. That's just the way it is, unfortunately, and is no reason for you to get on your soapbox and start ranting like a crazed fan. Why would comments like these make you sick to the bone? There is no reason comments like this should affect you this strongly unless you are an unbalanced, crazy fan. Though, again, it was amusing to read. About the word love.....there are many levels and types of love to be felt. Love can be the highest form of adoration, amongst many other things. Love can be a deep appreciation for someone or something. Love is not always a romantic sentiment. I'm glad I could help clear that up for you and that you will now have a better understanding of the word "love" and it's various contexts. =) I did think it was sad that you didn't understand how love would relate to a band and it's fans, but now I'm happy again because I could properly inform you of how it works and maybe you will be happier! =) Now, if Brian isn't going to tolerate people taking pictures or recording things, maybe he should state that at the beginning of the concert. Not everyone at a Placebo concert knows he feels this way, and it is common for people to do these things at concerts so they can have some visual memories later. Just because you don't want them doesn't mean others don't. Who are you to judge how people want to preserve their memories? If the band doesn't like it, they should let the crowd know. Also, maybe it shouldn't be posted on Placeboworlduk that you can submit these recordings to Placebo on YouTube to possibly be posted on Placeboworlduk under the fan video area. Doesn't make sense to entice people to do things that can have them kicked out of a concert, now does it? No fan wants to upset the band they came to see. "Although, strangely, the crowd often just seemed to stand there like rocks in a sea to take photos and film the show instead of enjoying the moment and cheer and sing along and generally have fun. And – believe me – that's not only spoiling (understandably) the mood of the band (Brian complained about it once during those 40 concerts but didn't stop the show) but that of everyone else who goes to their concerts to have fun that night." -- Everyone has fun in different ways, and the fact that you would let people who choose to take photos or film the show affect you is just ridiculous. Who cares what others are doing? Why do they need to be doing what you are doing for you to enjoy yourself? Makes no sense. I don't know why you would think everyone should enjoy things the same way you do, but get off your high horse and come back down by the rest of us. Though you being on this high horse is kind of funny in it's wrongness. Also, I never stated that shows were stopped because of people recording or taking pictures. From what I've read (on forums, of course, not Facebook) these people are usually talked to or escorted out of the concert by security, depending on Brian's mood. The warning I can understand, the automatic ejection without a warning I do not. And yes, during this tour as well, though to a lesser degree. Just a note, Japanese fans are known for being very reserved at concerts (not yelling, jumping around, giving much feedback, ect.). From what I've seen, Placebo seems to enjoy playing for them and they don't seem disappointed or lose their energy because of this. A good band, like Placebo, generally enjoys playing for the sake of playing, and it's just icing on the cake that they can do this in front of crowds. Though an energetic crowd response is always good, most bands don't let a reserved response affect their performance. A bad crowd is a whole different matter, but no need to go into that right now. I have never heard it alleged that this was a problem at Placebo shows, so I hope that your observation on this matter is wrong because I would never have perceived Placebo as being a band that only likes to play if people are loudly adoring them. I don't think they are that pretentious. For someone to get that worked up over a comment on an article suggests some huge emotional problems on your part. It's kind of sad and funny at the same time, though I would not want to actually know you as a person, I think. Chill out....don't give yourself an early heart attack over the trivial things in life. Become an optimist, because on the sunny side of life you won't give a s*** what other idiot's opinions of you (or anything) are. =) Thank you for commenting on my comment! I feel so important! =) I'm grateful that I was able to clear some things up for you and give you a little bit of good advice. Please, feel free to comment on this comment as well, I'm sure you have some things to say, and even if it ends up being like your first comment, at least I can have a giggle! I would also like to hear more about how much I, and most other Americans, are horrible, horrible people. LOL =) Thanks again and I hope to hear from you soon!

Was I at a different venue...was I in another world...Diva? Backing band not allowed to cross a white line...what nonsense! Two cracking gigs from a band going from strength to strength with a lead singer who a day later is too ill to travel abroad...did anyone guess that he was under the weather at Brixton? I doubt it...the wee fella played a blinder and gave us what we wanted...another night of terrific memories! You arguing pair have too much time on your hands to write so many inches of nonsense...Placebo will hopefully shine for a long time to come, and Brian Molko will continue to be the man he is - and lets face it a rock band without attitude is a joyless thing to behold. As a footnote - I wish they'd ban camera's from all gigs - I'm fed up trying to see through massed banks of idiots trying to capture things on their mobiles - get over it and get on with it...the musics for enjoying and grooving too not trying to be the next Martin Scorsese...

No my friend, you were not at a different venue. I re-read all these comments and no one said anything about diva behavior at either of these venues. They were referring to different venues, mostly in the past. No one even said that it was common behavior, only that it's happened enough to be noticed. Everyone who knows anything about the past of this band knows that there has been various diva issues with Brian. I don't know why anyone tries to deny it, or attacks people who talk about it. It's a fact. It's talked about occasionally and is no reason for people to get their undies all wadded up. No one even actually complained about it in any of these comments, it was just pointed out that it has happened. The poor girl who is being attacked actually posted a very unbiased comment considering she is a long time fan who has never seen Placebo live. She even said that she does not share the same opinion, just that she has read about these episodes. She was musing at to why some people may not be so loyal to the band anymore. The fact that she is from the US means nothing, it was only pointed out to explain why, being a long time fan, she has not been to a Placebo show, but I suspect this is the reason for attacking her. She never said anything derogatory or untrue about Placebo, so what else could be the reason this buffoon would flame her? The man who wrote this article stated that Brian isn't even a good singer, yet no one jumped down his throat and ranted about is. This is a far worse statement about Brian than what Angie said, and it's not even a fact, it's an opinion. What countries are you attackers from? I bet I can post some derogatory comments about your country as well. I'm from France, and I have no problem with this girl from the US. She seems to have a good head on her shoulders and in no way should be attacked for her comments. Shame on you elitist, pretentious snobs who think your thoughts matter more than someone elses. Why do people respond to comments without really reading them or taking the time to understand them? I wish there was a maturity level test and a reading comprehension test administered to anyone attempting to comment on anything. Then I wouldn't have to wade through the idiocy to get to the truly thoughtful comments. Good for Angie that she posted a mature response to this uncalled for flaming, accurately pointing out all the falsehoods that this buffoon wrote. Feel free to misquote my comment and flame me as well, I could care less, and probably won't be reading them anyway. Peace, Lucien

I saw Placebo for the first time live on the Monday 27. If you're looking for a quick review of their gig, don't bother reading the essays below: Placebo rocked! They were 'king wicked!! They played their hearts out, packing in as much as they could. See them next time you get a chance...

Justin, there have been guitar changes like that on the last tour too. The audience may not be thinking "ohh look it's a Telecaster" (well some would :P ) but they will certainly here the difference between songs. I don't think they are rock and roll either but that's not the genre I place them in. And they're definitely not glam anymore :P If I went to see them on this tour and the last time I'd seen them was in the 90s I would be as shocked as you were, but they are a different band. They've been a different band almost everytime a new album comes out.

I was not a huge Placebo fan till I went to their last concert in Brixton..I was amazed!!! Brian REALLY rocks!!! I am looking forward to his next gig already!!!

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