Review of Placebo live at Brixton Academy on 16 December 2013

With their cult following made up of fans that have supported the band throughout their nineteen years, it was no wonder the pre-show vibes around Brixton Academy were electric.  Playing their first of two sold out shows in this legendary venue, Placebo, it seemed, could do nothing to disappoint their fans. 


Opening with a new track it was clear from the beginning that the star of the show would of course be charismatic front man Brian Molko.  With the spotlight well and truly on him, the singer danced and twisted his way through their near two hour set engaging with the crowd very little verbally yet still managing to come across as open and thankful towards his adoring onlookers with his constant wide smiles and unfaltering stage presence.  His distinctive voice, still as prominent as ever, was without a doubt the most impressive thing about the gig.  It's immediately recognisable and sends shivers down your spine.

Despite playing very few of their hit singles, nearly every word was sung out loud by this buoyant audience.  Most notably missing were 'Nancy Boy' and 'Pure Morning', however this can be forgiven as 'Every You Every Me' turned this already lively crowd into a moshpit as they uncontrollably jumped around the floor. 'Running Up That Hill' unsurprisingly caused the same effect as this Kate Bush cover was performed somewhat more forcefully than usual.  This was truly the highlight of the gig. 'Meds' whipped the punters into a frenzy as all three guitarists made their way to the edge of the stage feeling every word and rift whilst lapping up the excitable cheers.  At the back of the stage, drummer Steve Forrest and Fiona Brice were outstanding throughout.  If the crowd needed warming up - which they didn't - 'Too Many Friends' would have certainly done the job.  Full of energy and ending with feedback from Molko's guitar, the strobe lighting and graphics were barely needed as the band provided the energy for this one. 'Special K' also made an appearance; a song so typical of the talent Molko possesses in his song writing - his dark, deep and astonishingly honest lyrics have become so popular and needed by followers - that their desire to let Molko know they were listening was overwhelming.

Clearly moved and happy to be on stage "a few bus rides away from where it all started" as stated by Olsdal, the band put on a spectacular performance mostly showcasing new album tracks but at no point of the gig was that a problem for these elated worshippers.  Signing off with extended applause and roars of adoration as they embraced the audience at their goodbye was the proof of this.  

Seven albums and numerous gigs down, it is clear that Placebo will never lose the effect they have on the ones who love them and neither will they cease to be one of the most exciting and brilliant live bands to witness on the stage.

Alice Barker

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