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

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