Anyone who didn't make it out to The Wiltern this past Friday for Placebo's Sold Out show, pretty much missed one of the best performances of the year. (And no, that isn't a biased overstatement). The band hasn't had a show in the United States since 2007 (they had to cancel their last North American tour in 2009 due to frontman Brian Molko's health issues), had left a gaping hole that needed to be filled. With the release of their seventh studio album Loud Like Love, the anticipation for a show was transparent. Fans were buzzing to hear the new tracks live, along with getting to re-listen to some of their past favourites.
The show opened with B3, a drastic change from past shows where the band usually opened with a more guitar ridden song. Nonetheless, as the night progressed the music got louder, and the audience right along with them during the performances of new songs, Exit Wounds, Too Many Friends, A Million Little Pieces, and Purify (just to mention a few). When the beginning notes of Every You Every Me (made famous for being on the Cruel Intentions soundtrack) began, the crowd went wild, shouting out the lyrics, pumping fists, and dancing their little black hearts out. There was no time to recover, as the band continued on their brutal musical onslaught, stunning the audience and making you feel like you had just become part of one epic rock video.
Brian Molko's vocals never faltered for a moment, as they remained front and centre of the show. The band really showed a sense of unison, as Steve Forrest killed the drums with lust filled adrenaline, and Stefan Olsdal's bass was the perfect counterpart to Molko's and Nick Gavrilovic's angry guitars. Fiona Brice's string arrangements added an elegant flair on songs such as Song to Say Goodbye, infusing it with an emotional vulnerability that wouldn't have been conceived otherwise.
One of the show's most intense moments was when the band reintroduced one of their most iconic songs of their career, Teenage Angst. A song that is nearly eighteen years old, but still rings true for listeners across the globe with the poignant chorus, “Since I was born I started to decay. Now nothing ever goes my way.” Moving onward with the intense emotional rollercoaster, the audience got their revenge fuck with Infra-Red, “Someone call the ambulance, there's going to be an accident!” Molko egged the fans to shout along with him in a blurry hedonistic moment of rightful rage. The show ended with Kate Bush's cover of Running Up That Hill (made famous by appearing on The Vampire Diaries soundtrack), that was both soul-baring and prophetic, “And if I only could, make a deal with God, and get him to swap our places....”
By the time the show ended, one didn't realise that two hours of pure emotional wreckage had occurred till the audience was left with racing hearts and sweaty bodies. Because if it's one thing Placebo does, is rightly deliver their Latin motto of, “We will please,” with the brutal intensity of an unforgettable sex session. And that's all a music lover can really ask for.