Placebo - MEN Arena - 10.12.07
As we walk around the MEN tonight posters blank our view screaming out adverts for C Beebies, Xtina Aguilera...and Placebo. It's the sort of thing we couldn't have imagined as this young correspondent saw the band come first in the In The City contest alongside Kula Shaker and Paul Gallagher's Performance. After initial acceptance by the music press as the acceptable face of androgynous rock the band have more recently been derided in the UK while managing to sell out stadiums across Europe. This arena tour of the UK is Placebo's biggest tour to date and we cant help but think it's about time this band got the recognition they so clearly deserved.
The first time Designer Magazine realized that Placebo weren't just a good band, but a were actually a great band, was earlier this year at the Carling Weekender where they managed to blow both My Chemical Romance and Pearl Jam of stage - the two bands who both have a much larger profile but ended up playing before and after Placebo respectively. Tonight in the dark surrounds of the MEN Arena, a cavernous cold arena which suits the band perfectly, the band are even better managing to recall the time we saw stadium noir rockers Depeche Mode a few years early in this same venue.
Like the Mode, Brian Molko and co have refined their own signature sound over the years and while many have seen this as a criticism that all their songs sounds the same tell that to the thousands here who know the difference between "Every You Every Me", "Special K", "Pure Morning" and "English Summer Rain". There's few bands that can pull of a sound as intense as powerful as this and now expanded from a 3 piece band to 5 piece for the live shows they really are the missing link between a pop sensibility and Nine Inch Nails which makes for a f*cking amazingly powerful sound.
With Placebo's drummer hailing from Manchester and the fact its Brian's birthday, we're not quite sure of his exact age but take whatever Molko says and add 5 years, it makes for one of the bands highlights of their career when the audience sing Happy Birthday back to the stage.
It's amazing that after all these years Placebo are finally playing to venues of this size and with the loyal support behind them they'll be around as an Arena band for years to come, which is a timely lesson to those bands that have burst onto the scene in a blaze of hype only to fade from glory and never return. 2007 is set to be a rest year for Placebo with Brian taking some time out to look after his children and write some new material but what an amazing send off!!!
Photos: Karen McBride www.karenmcbride.com
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