Placebo – O2 Academy, Glasgow – 01/03/15

placebo-brian-molko-liveThe first time I saw Placebo, on the back of their phenomenal self-titled debut album, I was blown away. They were sharp and acerbic, riding a sexually ambiguous wave between pop, indie and grunge.

Sadly, the last time I saw them, they were limp and laboured. They struggled with a dull setlist, equipment problems and gave the impression they would rather have been anywhere but the Main Stage at the Reading Festival. So, as I headed along to the O2 Academy in Glasgow, I wondered which Placebo would turn up.

I needn’t have worried. As the band came on to an interesting mash-up of their own ‘Pure Morning’ and Sigur Ros’ ‘Svefn-g-Englar’, the crowd got ready and were treated to blistering version of ‘B3’. With the band upped to a six-piece for the current tour, there was an impressive wall of sound. And, credit where it is due, the normally unimpressive Academy handled the sound well; it is probably the best sounding gig I’ve been to there.

This was very much a new album tour, in support of last years Loud Like Love release and seven of the first dozen songs were taken from it. Highlights were the title track, ‘Purify’ and a sublime version of ‘Scene of the Crime’. Interspersed were more familiar numbers like ‘Special Needs’ and a sensational, guitar-laden version of ‘Every You, Every Me’. Throughout, Brian Molko’s voice was absolutely spot on, he didn’t miss a note all night. Added to the fact that the band were tight as a drum – a far cry from the last time I saw them – and it was a genuinely exceptional main set.

When the band came out for the encore, they kicked off with a rather underwhelming ‘Begin The End’, but made up for this with an absolutely stunning version of Kate Bush’s ‘Running Up That Hill’. I had heard the recorded version of the band doing this, but hearing it live really was something. They finished up with a double whammy from the Meds album, ‘Post Blue’ and ‘Infra-Red’ which topped off an excellent gig.

Placebo Setlist O2 Academy, Glasgow, Scotland 2015, Loud Like Love

Graeme Campbell

If it doesn't sound better turned up louder, then what's the point? Stuck somewhere around 1994, raging against the machine and steadfastly refusing to budge.

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