"Placebo: Boxing Clever in Hollywood"

Virgin Mega, May'01

May 15, 2001

by Kim Taylor

Placebo played for more than an hour and a half, including two emotively blistering encores, to an avid sold out audience at The Palace in Hollywood Tues night. Bringing their signature blend of serious gender bending rock to America, is something the British three piece seemed to enjoy doing very much. Dressed in virginal white from head to toe, lead singer-songwriter-guitarist and occasional solo keyboardist Brian Molko seemed fit and happy as he confidently delivered songs from the band's latest album, Black Market Music ("Spite and Malice," performed onstage with rapper Justin Warfield, "Special K" and "Taste in Men"). Newer songs were nothing less than phenomenal when performed live. Molko, bassist Stefan Olsdal who was also dressed in a white shirt atop dark leather jeans and a cowboy hat and drummer Steve Hewitt, who could barely be seen behind his huge drum kit, put forth focused and bold energy like never before. Placebo's set was also laced with many crowd favorites from earlier albums (Placebo and Without You I'm Nothing) such as the single "Pure Morning," "You Don't Care About Us," "Every You, Every Me," and a slowed down, beautiful version of the song "Without You I'm Nothing."

The band's clean-cut appearance belied the dark undertones of their music and playing, which actually added depth to the music. Molko is one of the most brilliant lyricists of our time - not afraid to pose tough questions about being fed religion, gender expectations, emotional abuse, insecurities and drugs. Placebo is a far more articulate than most other acts of today. Fortunately they have reached a level of musicianship to match, proving in Hollywood that they have hit a new mark of professionalism that becomes them.

At the end of the band's set, the intent audience went mad with applause only to be rewarded with an encore that included an intense and creepy version of "My Sweet Prince" among other songs including a keyboard solo by Molko where he kept repeating the line "Please don't die, please don't die." In the final encore of the evening, which included the new song "Black Eyed" and old favorite "Pure Morning," Molko told the audience, "Guard your privacy because it's all you've got." Good advice, considering the audience on this night couldn't seem to get enough of Placebo.