REVIEW: Placebo at the Olympia 26/04/12

Just days after the city was graced by Sea Odyssey, a (large) stone’s throw away from Stanley Park another sleeping giant awoke in the once grand surroundings of the Olympia. Brian Molko brought his band Placebo to Liverpool for the first time in almost a decade for a special one off gig in preparation for a summer of European Festivals. Rich Denton was there..

Looking around the sell out Olympia it was clear that this was a gig purely for the fans, a mature crowd with black the obvious colour of choice. The hardcore following had queued outside in miserable conditions to take the coveted front row positions, they would not be disappointed. The rest of us however would question why the band would choose to play hardly any of their most successful songs from the back catalogue.

An opening salvo of ‘For What It’s Worth’, ‘Ashtray Heart’ and ‘Battle for the Sun’ from most recent album (which takes it title from the latter), was not unexpected but with only ‘Every You Every Me’ and ‘Teenage Angst’ included from the first two albums all but explained why the band no longer sell out arenas, in the UK at least.


There’s no doubt of the talent on show, considering this was just their second gig of the year, the band were tight and when the tempo picked up the Olympia rocked. These highlights were unfortunately too few and far between sandwiched between the mediocre. By the time the set was building to a decent climax, my attention had switched to the impressive lighting and the good work of the sound engineer as the Placebo effect wore off.

Opening the encore with haunting Kate Bush cover ‘Running Up That Hill’ gave us the highlight of the night before the band closed out with three tracks from 2006 album ‘Meds’ and finally the rocking ‘Taste In Men’

A fan’s gig well appreciated by the hardcore but for me at least a night that promised so much fell way short of the mark.

WORDS: Rich Denton
IMAGES: Mike Noble 


For What It’s Worth
Ashtray Heart
Battle for the Sun
Every You Every Me
Special Needs
Without You I’m Nothing
Bright Lights
Teenage Angst
Special K
Song to Say Goodbye
The Bitter End 

Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover)
Post Blue
Taste In Men


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