Traditionally, the fan base of British alt-rock champions Placebo is an enjoyably weird mix of youthful angsty emo-types, invigorated aging rockers and those who are just in love with Brian Molko, or BriMo, as this writer has affectionately dubbed him more than once.
For this charity gig here in our (near) home city of Leeds, the crowd is no different. Filled to the brim with adoring fans eager to support the band’s effort, and experience some new music as well. The O2 Academy is buzzing. It seems that in 2013, the band has a new energy, new record, and a bunch of dedicated new fans to top it off. It just keeps getting better and better for ’em, huh? To start the night off, Molko introduces the charities, The Mercy Centre in Bangkok, and the Samye Tibetan Centre in Scotland, to rapturous applause from the enchanted audience.
Tonight’s mammoth show kicks off with The Mirror Trap, an indie-rock five piece that teeter on a heavier sound towards the end of their set. The frontman thoroughly enjoys interacting with the audience, using infectious humour and inexhaustible energy. Indeed, they set a high bar for the rest of the night. An excellent start for sure, and we’re feeling pretty buzzed.
The second support act we have to check out is Landshapes. Now, this lot have a deep, almost ethereal feel to their sound. They slow down from the tempo that we’re used to here, with beautiful harmonies and an accessible ambient atmosphere. The audience, perhaps too ramped up on the harder-edged indie rock from before, unfortunately, don’t seem to appreciate this interesting change in pace. For us though, they’re a very unusual sounding band that are well worth a second listen.
Okay, now it’s time now for the mighty Placebo. Not ones for too much audience interaction, Brian, Stefan and Steve get on with the job in hand, and start playing ‘B3’ with ever-present passion and awesome musicianship. Tonight, they mostly play material from the latest album, but with a few bonafide classics like ‘Every Me, Every You’, ‘Meds’ and ‘Special K’ thrown in there too to leave us feeling nostalgic and completely satisfied. Again, Placebo keep getting better and better. This is material that will be played in arenas for years to come, and when the group finally retires, what a legacy they will leave. We’re proud to have been invited to this event, it’s a great cause, and the bands have been fantastic. It’s been one of the best shows we’ve seen in a good while. Awesome.
Images: Jonathan Sillence