Live Review: Placebo w/Husky Loops | Cardiff Motorpoint Arena | 14/10/17

If you’re going to open to one of the UK’s most important alternative act, you were going to have to really make an impression that stuck. Husky Loops [9] understood this and did what needed to be done, and by fuck did they leave a mark. Obnoxious; tongue and cheek; nonchalant: spectacular. The London trio’s sarcastic attitude was an infectious experience that left a smirk on this this reviewer’s face that just couldn’t be shaken.

Unpredictable in their tonality, cutting out all the pretentious bullshit that comes with such an experimental sound that ranged from groovy darlek to heavy and subversive. We’re sure there’s a message in there somewhere that a closer look may unveil, but maybe a closer look at the bands’ latest EP aptly named EP2 will give us some answers. Not really knowing how to react, the crowd simply didn’t, which may or may not have been in the band’s plan. Without a doubt, one of the quirkiest acts of 2017.

Following a strong opener, the lights dim as the crowd roar to the opening stage screen showcasing the ‘Every Me Every You’ video in its entirety. Celebrating 20 years of Placebo [9.5], a flash montage of the band’s history comes whipping by in a retrospective that gave a humbling perspective of the London trio. Things really start to get going when the Motortpoint is only illuminated by the pulsating blue lights that flash in sync with the unmistakable guitar strums and drum groove of ‘Pure Morning’. What a fucking opener! The most perfect five minutes of live music you could ever witness.

Given that you simply can’t sum up a band like Placebo in one evening, vocalist/guitarist Brian Molko and crew have a job on their hands, but manage to cover all the bases that did their densely creative career justice. Having covered at least two songs from each of their seven studio albums, tonight would serve as a great introduction to someone unfamiliar with their back catalogue in the best possible way.

The vivid emotion that the band give off is undeniable, which turns into a tidal wave of feels when ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ is busted out. A song co-written with the late and the forever missed David Bowie, we’re treated to footage of the band’s session with the man himself. A fitting tribute that had the eyes watering followed by the loudest roar Cardiff has ever produced.

As the world continues to fight for LGTB rights, Placebo’s message is more relevant than ever. With a rich history of advocating sexual equality, their political stance is stronger than ever. With headshots of American President, Donald Trump, being plastered on cigarette packets labelled with ‘Seriously harmful for your health,’ it’s pretty clear where they stand, given the leader’s highly critical move to ban on transgender recruitment to the armed forces. Hitting the nail on the head, bassist Stefan Olsdal holds a rainbow pride Thunderbird bass that he raises up high during the encore that featured the infamous ‘Nancy Boy’ and ‘Infra-Red’. Though Molko at this point had lost his voice quite noticeably due to illness, it’s a surprise he even lasted this long. The man’s a fucking machine. Period.

You can get so joyously lost in Placebo’s sound that we could have easily spent another hour or two in an emotional daze watching them. After so long, they remain an anomaly, residing in a place between off-centred fiction and bittersweet reality. Colourful and melancholic with a cynicism that can only be realised in the flesh. Another 20 years wouldn’t go a miss.