As a fan of Placebo from the first time I heard the clanging chord intro to "Pure Morning" from their 1998 album Without You I'm Nothing, and having been unable, for whatever reason, to catch them on one of their many stops in NYC, I jumped at the chance when offered to catch them in Jersey last week at the PNC Arts Center.
Remarkably, the band were in the area as part of Linkin Park's touring "Projekt Revolution" festival, and had the unenviable second-from-the-bottom-of-the-bill-5pm slot on the main stage. Considering the fact that the rest of the show was loaded with emo-giant bands like Taking Back Sunday and local heroes My Chemical Romance and their goofy and very young fans, and noting the earliness and daylight setting of their set time, I wondered whether it would even be worth a trip down the Garden State parkway to see them...but they played like they were on the main stage at Reading and made a bunch of new fans along the way. I loved 'em.
Based on previous live tracks from the band that I've heard (including those on the excellent new US-release-only EP Extended Play '07), it sounds like Molko & Co. turned up the rawk-quotient a bit to fit more squarely in the festival's mix, but definitely to good effect.
As is expected at a show like that, the amphitheater was less than full during Placebo's early set, but the cheering from a crowd that probably had never heard of the band before was pretty inspiring. The band wisely played a set full of the loudest and most rocking of their superb catalog, and by the end of the show they had pulled a pretty impressive cadre of Jersey Rock Girls to the front of the stage to do that strange shimmy dance only Jersey Girls can do.
At a meet & greet after the show, the band really seemed to be enjoying itself on the tour, and said they were enjoying the challenge of making new fans at this late career stage. Based on the gangs of kids trying to get to the band to say hello and get newly purchased cd's and shirts signed, I'm guessing they've picked up a bunch of new followers on this tour.
And at the risk of revocation of my hipster card, though I didn't stick around for too long after Placebo's set, that crowd was one of the nicest and best-behaved concert crowds I've ever seen.
Here's some of the action:
Placebo - "20th Century Boy" mp3 buy
mp3 courtesy of i wake up late