While many Brit bands of the ‘90s nabbed their cues from the ‘60s, Placebo flitted forward a good 20 years to worship the ever-so-mighty Pixies – fine inspiration indeed. While a certain evolution can be tracked through their four long-players thus far, Placebo’s sound hasn’t really changed that much – their outsider anthems and glimpses into the seedier side of life remaining a welcome constant, much like Soft Cell but with loads more amplification.
Brian practices for the next Birdman Rally...
Anchored by girliest-boy-in-the-school Brian Molko’s unique, nasal vocals - able to leap from a purr to a snarl in a flash - Soulmates Never Die plops us right in the midst of 18,000 passionate fans at Paris’ Bercy in 2003 for an electric performance. Part of an extensive world tour to promote their Sleeping With Ghosts album, Placebo have matured incredibly in only a few years; their live presence now almost intimidating and Brian seems to have toned down his smartarse bigmouth routine to become quite the charming host for this event. Either that or judicious editing saved the day…
Promoting the latest album usually means the majority of a set will be occupied by new songs. While this is true here, a pleasing collection of older tracks – singles and album faves – are dotted throughout, although those who came in early for their superb self-titled debut may mourn the absence of anything save for Bionic. Add to a storming set an appearance from head Pixie Frank Black himself to help out on a stonkingly good cover of his own song in the Pixies’ classic Where is My Mind? and this is one for all Nancy Boys and Ashtray Girls to treasure.
Every You Every Me
I’ll Be Yours
English Summer Rain
Without You I Am Nothing
Taste in Men
Slave to the Wage
Where is My Mind?
Another superb production from Done & Dusted (the team behind most every impressive live disc we’ve seen lately), vision is crystalline when it’s meant to be, while most every video effect ever created gets a run at some point to intentionally muddy the 1.78:1, anamorphically-enhanced vision.
The tightly mixed audio is a pleasure no matter which way you go, the DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes and the delicious bass rumble they deliver almost warping the floor with their ferocity. And there’s concrete under our carpet, not wooden boards…
Extras-wise, there’s a rapid-fire 24 minute on tour documentary with the band, including fan encounters to radio interviews, sound checks to bus life, little gigs to big festivals, Blair Witch moments and doing Vegas. Otherwise, there are two Easter eggs hidden behind sneakily secreted French flags, offering a chance to witness Brian getting a needle in his bum and an intimate performance of Where is My Mind? by the charmingly named ‘Chicks With Dicks’ (shh, it’s Placebo in wigs…)
While a clip compilation would have been quite lovely, this live release certainly won’t disappoint any Placebo devotees. Some Teenage Angst would have been nice though…
Jack & Sarah "Proving that simplicity is no obstruction to brilliance, this is an ultimately sweet (but not sickeningly so) tale that gives all those bigger English films out there a more than respectable run for their money... "