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Placebo (United)

Rockefeller, Oslo on 29th May 2003
Reviewed by Andreas on 8th June 2003

Ah, so finally they're back. The lil' drug-midget, the huge Swede and err... Jesus on the drums. After a few bottles of beer we all get into the venue and start waiting. Waiting is a long-winded affair, and I won't get too much into it here and now.


Anyway, after much standing about, the "special guests", United from Sweden, go onstage. The thing with opening acts is that they usually pale in comparison to the main act, not least if you're a fan of the headliners. And United suffer from this, the crowd isn't entirely theirs. The fact that they suffer from an apparent sound problem doesn't help them out either. The songs they play are quite good really, if a bit on the monotone side of things. I really liked the whole sound of the guitars and the non-straight drum playing. Vocalist wasn't the best choice of frontman though, he lacked charisma and stage presence. I'd make him shave if I was them, but that's just me, I suppose. They were alright, but failed to make a huge impact on me in a live setting. However, I remain confident that they can make a damn good record.

Rating: 6/10


Next up were the evening's main attraction, Placebo. With an extensive light show and sampled intro, they jump onstage and break into "Bulletproof Cupid", the opening track of their new album (Click here for the review) and from there on everyone were facing the stage. The set consists mainly of songs from the new album, they go down well. "Plasticine", first single "The Bitter End" and upcoming single "This Picture" get the crowd jumping and screaming, while slower songs like "Centrefolds" (dedicated to the late Nina Simone) have people actually waving lighters, as clichéd as it might be.

I was thinking the gig would be slightly dull, seeing as the band have cast away a lot of their early songs in favour of new ones off the two most recent albums. However, I was wrong. So terribly wrong. While the songs might have less appeal on record than the early glam-mongering, they rip it up live. There's something special about seeing a big Swede dance like a tit to the intro of "Taste in Men" as well...

Their set has an alarming number of singles in it, just goes to show how long Placebo have actually been playing and releasing records. Placebo fans don't really care it seems, they shout along to whatever it is the band plays. Even the hip-hoppy and rather amusing rendition of "Teenage Angst" gets the sing-along treatment.

It must be said that Brian Molko is one hell of a performer. It's hard to take your eyes off of him as he darts across the stage. And he looks dead cool when playing his guitars. Even when his guitar falls during "Black-eyed" he remains the professional. Afterwards he apologises for the incident, humble as he is :P

With two encores, "Without You I'm Nothing" dedicated to the audience, the band finally announce their last song, and say that it's not a song by them. To which someone shouts "PIXIEEESSSS!!!!!!!". A startled Mr. Molko yelps "YES!!!" as if surprised by the fact that most people there already knew that they were going to play "Where is my mind?" (y'know, the closing track from Fight Club). A DAMN good version at that.

The thing with Placebo is that they're just such an amazing live band. Every little thing they do onstage just drives them further home. I don't think there was a single person not singing along to the songs, several people were crying their eyes out as well. If that's not a good thing, I don't know what is.


Rating: 10/10
Website: www.placeboworld.co.uk


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