Placebo, Picturehouse, Edinburgh

Their first show back is not without its hitches, but it’s absolutely fantastic to be a part of.

Rating:

Fans have travelled from far and wide for the show; last we heard the crowd had people from New York and even Mexico in its midst. While this sold out date at Edinburgh’s Picturehouse is set to be a big evening regardless, it also marks Placebo’s return to the live circuit after an eight month absence. Frontman Molko smiles, and apologises: “We’ve had babies to raise, nervous breakdowns to have and treatment centres to attend.”

After a lengthy introductory track that renders the audience entranced, the band take to the stage to an eruption of glee from their devoted fans. Seeing Placebo leap wholeheartedly into ‘For What It’s Worth’ causes the capacity to dive into excited disarray, a feeling that continues for the next few numbers. But, it doesn’t take long for this well oiled machine to falter.

“You can tell I’ve been out of the game for a while as I’ve broken my pedal,” laughs Brian, as the crowd giggle at his accident. As the band offer some music suitable for an interlude, the gig swiftly turns into ‘An Evening With Brian Molko’, who effortlessly tells jokes and stories, all of which become gradually more erratic as he runs out of material. After some time, the dreaded announcement comes: Placebo have to leave until the problem can be fixed.

Saddening as the announcement is, it only takes around ten extra minutes to fix the ill-fated guitar pedal and Placebo jubilantly return to their stage. Treating fans to a string of tracks including ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ and ‘The Bitter End’, the audience re-find their voices to wholeheartedly sing along to the likes of ‘Meds’. ‘Black Eyed’ makes a surprise appearance on the set too, which proves one of the real highlights of the night.

Placebo are sublime. Minus the technical discrepancy, it’s as if they have never been away. They provoke a certain devotion from their fans and possess a real presence as they perform. They’re completely captivating to watch, so much so fans seem to lap up the mammoth five track encore that ends their performance. Their first show back is not without its hitches, but it’s absolutely fantastic to be a part of.

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