Placebo returned to Australia to tour with Soundwave, for the first time since their appearance at the festival in 2010, to play us new songs off their latest album Loud Like Love.
They opened with ‘B3’, from their 2012 EP of the same name, and then backtracked to 2009 with ‘For What It’s Worth’. From the very start of the show, Brian Molko‘s voice rang out clear through the Enmore Theatre and pulsed its way to the very back of the room.
The band don’t display their energy by moving around the stage or interacting with each other, but it could be felt with every guitar riff and drum beat. Molko waited until after ‘Loud Like Love’, their third song of the night, to address the crowd (albeit briefly) while the guitarist moved onto the keyboard, and the keyboard player moved to play violin. This is the only point in the night that the sound wasn’t perfect. The Enmore need to be congratulated for this, they did a fantastic job of making sure every song was clear and every instrument could be heard when it needed to be. Well, except in this song. The violin and keyboard couldn’t be heard over the drums and bass in some parts of ‘Twenty Years’, but everything came together at the end, during the climax “You’re the truth not I.” The passion in this song could be felt from start to finish.
Arguably their biggest hit ‘Every You Every Me’ made an early appearance, and was played so fast that it was over almost as quickly as it began. It felt rushed, like the band wanted to get it out of the way as fast as they could to concentrate on newer material.
Their newer songs got a mixed response from the crowd. Some were clearly happy to hear them but others were really hanging out for some old hits. There was a slight lull in the set during Loud Like Love‘s album tracks, but single ‘Too Many Friends’ was very well received. It was incredibly funny to watch people take photos, and for me to be taking notes during the line “My computer thinks I’m gay. What’s the difference anyway? When all the people do all day, is stare into a phone?” Even when the band were poking fun at that very behaviour, no one could help themselves enough to stop and listen and put their phones away.
Those waiting for the hits were soon rewarded with ‘Meds’ – which was slowed down at first to confuse everyone, before it became frenzied and crazy from the second verse onwards – ‘Song to Say Goodbye’, ‘Special K’ and ‘The Bitter End’ appeared in quick succession. The band fed off the crowd’s energy during these songs, and that period of the set was the stand out of the night. ‘Special K’ was one of the highest points and hearing the crowd yell “Ba da da da da da da da” over Molko, and seeing arms in the air along with a lot of head-shaking, really showed how important that song is to so many people.
The band walked off stage to deafening applause and cheers, and that continued until they returned.
They played a slowed down version of ‘Teenage Angst’, that took me right back to my high school years and a cover of Kate Bush‘s ‘Keep Running Up That Hill’. ‘Post Blue’ had the crowd singing “It’s between you and me” back at the band, and finished the night with an electrifying version of ‘Infra Red’. Though they left out some of their biggest hits – ‘English Summer Rain’, ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Pure Morning’ to name only a few – Placebo‘s set was memorable. They brought emotion into every song and, as always, Molko’s voice connected with everyone there.
Here’s a full video album stream of Placebo’s latest record, Loud Like Love