Placebo, Zulu Winter: The Olympia, Liverpool

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New hype band Zulu Winter capture the attention but it’s the return of alt-rock veterans Placebo that really starts Getintothis’ Hillary Briffa‘s heart beating.


Anybody looking out the window of West Derby Street would probably wonder why anyone in their right mind would join a queue winding around two blocks in the pouring rain on a Thursday night.
Especially given that those perennial underdogs Placebo were the band those queuing up were here to see.
Yet, with the alt-rock Londoners finally returning to the stage after an eight-month break and only playing Edinburgh and Liverpool as a warm-up to the London Sundance festival, it’s no wonder the sold-out Olympia was packed chocka-block with a black-clad crowd buzzing with anticipation.
Support act Zulu Winter took to the stage with ease – already clearly comfortable in front of a packed venue, despite still awaiting the release of their debut album Language in May.
With a Friendly Fires-meets-Foals, largely synth-based approach, and the pulsing beats of recent single We Should Be Swimming underscored by the scintillating vocals of frontman Will Daunt it’s easy to see why they’ve commanded much attention.
Silver Tongues serves as the standout and such is it’s infectiousness Getintothis‘ still finds ourselves humming it he morning after. Without doubt a group to watch out for.
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Placebo live at Liverpool Olympia by Mike Noble
By the time Placebo took to the stage after an extended instrumental intro, the crowd were in frenzy.
Brian is back!‘ gurgled one super-fan outside the gig, and indeed, Molko was on top form, laughing and joking with the audience as he introduced numbers.
If the smiles on the faces of the band members were any indication to their joy to return to the stage, the same delight was mirrored on every face staring back at them: captivated.
Stefan Olsdal‘s icy cool demeanour on bass was countered by Steve Forrest‘s feverish drumming.
From opening, utterly unexpected Leeloo to the almost overwhelming energy in closing Taste in Men, Placebo had the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand, belied by Brian’s almost-whine of a vocal.

The career-spanning set ranged from rarely-played early single Teenage Angst to the hits Every Me and Every You, th aching Song to Say Goodbye, a staggering Meds and Getintothis‘ personal favourite Special Needs which Molko called ‘a song about many people and a song about me‘.
The clincher was a surprising five-song encore that had the Olympia begging for the band not to leave – Blind was followed up by a near-sobbing-in-the-aisles cover of Kate Bush‘s Running Up that Hill.
The underdog misfits, Placebo are back with a vengeance and their army of super fans could not possibly be happier.

Picture courtesy of Mike Noble.

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