UK legends Placebo brought an intimate sold-out show to NYC’s Brooklyn Steel on Sunday night for the first of two NYC dates. Their first North American tour in almost nine years (postponed from last year), the band is touring in support of their latest release, Never Let Me Go (2022).
British feminist punk band Big Joanie brought their riot grrrl energy to the Brooklyn Steel stage, largely playing songs from their 2022 album Back Home as they opened with “Happier Still.” Created by Stephanie Phillips (lead vocals and guitar), Estella Adeyeri (bass guitar, vocals), and Chardine Taylor-Stone (drums and vocals), Big Joanie was formed to counteract the lack of intersectionality in the UK’s punk scene. Releasing their first album Sistahs in 2018 (of which the band played “Used To Be Friends,” “It’s You,” and “Fall Asleep”), the punk trio has created a unique mix of witchy synth-heavy punk. The rest of the band’s set were tracks from Back Home as they played “What Are You Waiting For,” “Your Words,” “Sainted,” and “In My Arms.”
Placebo’s long-awaited return to American shores was well worth the wait for fans as their setlist spanned their decades-long career while peppering in 11 of 13 tracks from their latest album, Never Let Me Go.
The show began with a glitchy projection of lead singer Brian Molko’s face speaking to the crowd and kindly asking for a no-phone show. Specifically to:
“Not spend the concert filming or taking photos with mobile phones. It makes Placebo’s performance so much more difficult. More difficult to connect with you and to communicate effectively the emotions of the songs. It is disrespectful to your fellow concert-goers who want to watch the show not the back of your phone. Please be here and now in the present and enjoy the moment. Because this exact moment will never ever happen again. Our purpose is to create communication & transcendence. Please help us on our mission.”
Placebo’s show was truly transcendent, as the crowd was fully immersed in the show as the band opened with “Forever Chemicals” and “Beautiful James” from Never Let Me Go. The dark alt-rock duo of vocalist and guitarist Brian Molko and bassist Stefan Olsdal have been making music since forming in 1994. Their first North American tour in almost nine years continued with “Scene of The Crime” from 2013’s Loud Like Love before launching into new tracks “Hugz” and “Happy Birthday In The Sky.”
Moving into “Bionic” from their 1996 debut album Placebo, the band kept the audience’s attention at every second before performing five new tracks from Never Let Me Go: “Twin Demons,” “Surrounded By Spies,” “Chemtrails,” “Sad White Reggae,” and “Try Better Next Time.”
One of the songs fans were most excited for was “Too Many Friends,” noted by the screams as Placebo launched into the first notes of the track. The rest of the 19-song setlist was a mix of songs from their early 2000 albums, with “Slave to the Wage” from 2000’s Black Market Music, “Song to Say Goodbye” and “Infra-Red” from 2006’s Meds, “For What It’s Worth” and “Come Undone” from 2009’s Battle for the Sun, and “The Bitter End” from 2003’s Sleeping With Ghosts.
Closing out Night 1 of their two-sold-out shows, Placebo’s encore was three tracks – “Shout,” “Fix Yourself,” and their cover of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” from their 2003 album, Covers.
Placebo continues their North American “Never Let Me Go Tour” through May 20th. See tour dates below:
4/29 – Philadelphia, PA @ Franklin Music Hall
4/30 – Boston, MA @ Roadrunner
5/02 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
5/05 – Atlanta, GA @ Shaky Knees Festival (festival date)
5/07 – Austin, TX @ Stubb’s
5/08 – Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
5/10 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theatre
5/11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre
5/13 – Las Vegas, NV @ Sick New World (festival date)
5/14 – San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield
5/16 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom
5/17 – Seattle, WA @ Moore Theatre
5/19 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
5/20 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore