Asia One "Placebo's New Tomorrow", Mar'10

Mar 23, 2010
by Sujin Thomas

ARTIST: Placebo
VENUE: Fort Canning Park
WHEN: Last Thursday

PLACEBO's Brian Molko is one part charismatic frontman, another part well-timed comedian.

It is a skill acquired not for the sake of sheer antics, but one honed over the band's 15 years and used to warm up an audience accustomed to anxiously waiting to hear the Britpop-era band's tunes spanning six captivating albums.

Jokes flowed steadily throughout the band's 90-minute set, which played out on the grassy flats behind Fort Canning Centre.

There was a spiel about Molko's childhood experience with "possessed" people and another about an insect dying on his distortion pedal. To the latter, he dedicated the song Bitter End, off their 2003 album Sleeping With Ghosts.

Placebo also comprises bassist Stefan Olsdal and drummer Steve Forrest, as well as a touring guitarist, bassist and violinist-keyboardist. Much of their set was made up of tracks off their latest album, 2009's Battle For The Sun.

The intensity of new tracks like For What It's Worth and Ashtray Heart intertwined seamlessly with older hits like Every You Every Me and Special K.

Delivery was superb, aided by a great outdoor sound system that projected with such clarity that some residents in River Valley Road (about 2km away) told my paper that they could hear every word spoken and sung.

On stage, a sweat-soaked Molko swopped guitars after every song and stayed fixated on creating swirls and swooshes of feedback by rocking his guitar in front of his amplifiers.

Olsdal, who played a low-slung bass as well as a guitar on a few tracks, showed off his lanky legs, taking large steps as he rocked about onstage.

Newcomer Forrest, 23, added extra edge, pounding the drums in ways that looked like it could induce a heart attack.

They ended the night with a four-song encore set which captured a good feel of their catalogue: Bright Lights, Trigger Happy, Infra-Red and Taste In Men. It floored the crowd.

One thing fans can all look forward to from the band was visibly printed on Forrest's bassdrum skin: "A new tomorrow."

Source: asiaone