Placebo at Brixton Academy
It really didn’t matter, dear Brian. As Placebo’s frontman declared at the beginning of the gig in Brixton that “the vocals would sound a bit different”, the audience already knew that would be for the better. The singer was still recovering from a complete loss of voice that occurred two weeks ago, but, recuperating in major part, he was ready for the band’s London date of the tour A Place for Us to Dream, from the name of their latest record.
The retrospective album, released in 2016, celebrates the trio’s 20th anniversary since their debut with Placebo. While some tracks allowed leaps back in time, starting from the vibrant Every Me and Every You, the group’s energy and strong tunes proved their music doesn’t really count time, enrapturing today’s audience just like in the 1990s.
Going smoother in tone with Loud Like Love, they built a beating climax, rising up to the strong rhythm of For What it’s Worth. Midway through the gig, I know offered a powerful exchange and crossing of guitars between Stefan Olsdal, who was definitely one of the highlights of the night, and Nick Gavrilovic.
As intense as it could be, the music emanated from the stage with unique energy. The high-pitched voice of Molko more often than not blended and got lost behind the strings – among which to note Angela Chan’s violin – and the keys.
Unforgettable was the rockers’ tribute to David Bowie with Without You I’m Nothing. While the ticking beats of the music flew soft and melodic, footage of the smiley face of the Thin White Duke – who featured in and recorded the song with Placebo in 1999 – was projected onto the background, filling more than simple words would do.
Song to Say Goodbye marked another of the most emotional moments, as well as the brilliant and historic Twenty Years, whose lyrics perfectly fit within today’s celebratory mood of the band.
Live images from the stage mixed with video clips appeared behind the musicians throughout the concert at the rhythm of the drum and stroboscopic lights. The visuals ended with an eloquent Marlboro package bearing the current US president’s face and the smoking warning that generally refers to cigarettes, while synthesisers went massive in Infra-Red and at the vibrant finale as they sang, “Someone call the ambulance”.
Photos: Miguel de Melo
For further information and future events visit Placebo’s website here.
Watch the video for Without You I’m Nothing featuring David Bowie here: