Celebrating over 20 years of a band is an accomplishment. 90’s rockers Placebo have decided to play in Brian Molko’s spiritual UK home of Dundee (where his Mother & many of his family members are from and reside). Being a fan of theirs for most of their career and missing out their SSE Hydro date last year due to being in hospital, I was ecstatic that they were playing on my doorstep!
Having only seen comedy shows at The Caird Hall, I was excited to see how it catered to the sound of the band. The buzz of the crowd at the bar was electric with the alternative scene of Dundee truly represented across a spectrum of generations and chatter of excitement for tonight’s show.
However as soon as these bubbling fans entered the hall, the mood halted into borderline boredom. The warm-up band Husky Loops was appropriate to set the mood but overall bland and forgettable and met with little to no engagement.
Placebo started their set with their classic hit ‘Every me, Every You’ which was played through the P.A. with the band not on stage and their music video playing, a disappointing start as it is probably their most famous song and it wasn’t presented to the audience with a live performance. When the band finally came on stage to play ‘Pure Morning’, it was played exquisitely and a highlight of the evening.
The venue itself catered well to the band, providing an intimate and exclusive feel to the group who regularly play venues to ten times the Caird Hall’s capacity. Sound, light and stage design was seamless.
The audience was flat, with weak clapping in between songs, minimal cheering and arm waving. The slow swaying of people showed some engagement towards the band but lyrics were half mimed rather than sung at the top of their lungs.
Brian Molko’s interaction with the audience was poor, diluted and generic and gave the impression he had given up as a result of playing to a small venue and it not being sold out mixed with the reception he received.
After a few songs, the set became forgettable from one bleak and bland song to the next. For a band that was celebrating 20 years and a 7 album discography with many iconic tracks, the song choices and timing of the set was poor. Molko’s performance declined gradually over time however his vocals did not falter. As a seasoned artist and deep into their tour, I would’ve expected a greater effort.
Just over halfway through the set, portions of the crowd slowly started leaving and I decided to bail also. I have not felt disillusioned nor will I stop listening to their albums, but it was a feeling of ‘I can’t be bothered’ by both band and audience tonight.
A disappointing evening.