11 June 2010

Music I've been missing – Placebo, You Don't Care About Us

One of my favourite bands is Placebo.

I first took note of Placebo when I saw the Taste in Men video clip on Channel [v] in 2000. I was enchanted by how attractive I found Brian Molko, and that he looked more feminine than the woman in the clip.

I received Black Market Music for Christmas that year. I played it a lot. They were a darker band than I was used to. I was intrigued by the band's alleged debaucherous lifestyle - so far removed from my own - sex, drugs and well, rock n roll. I enjoyed the moody, introspective, sometimes repetitive lyrics and Brian Molko's whiny voice. So many people dislike Placebo for these features.

Back then, and sometimes still, I was drawn to effeminate looking men with long hair. Brian Molko was right up my alley.

In January 2001, two friends (including Lucy) and I went to the Big Day Out where Placebo played. The day before the BDO, we met Placebo at the now (sadly) defunct Gaslight Records in Bourke Street Melbourne. We queued in the 35 degree heat for around four hours to meet them. It amused me that the goth-types were wearing long PVC coats and Doc Marten boots in that heat. There was a wedding photoshoot happening across the road at the famous Italian cafe Pellegrini's. I expect the photos have some of the queue for the Placebo signing in the background!

Placebo signed my Slave to the Wage CD. I was very excited. We saw them play at the Big Day Out the next day, right before Powderfinger.

After the Big Day Out I decided to get serious about Placebo. I bought Without You I'm Nothing and their first self-titled CD. I bought all of their back catalogue of singles from Ebay. I loved the artwork on each single.

My favourite song of theirs is You Don't Care About Us.

I love the beat of this song. The speed of it makes me drum my hands. And I'm no way near musical. I also love when the band are forced to swim with the shark in the clip.

Other favourite songs are Soulmates, This Picture, Without You I'm Nothing, Meds, Infra Red, Commercial for Levi and the cover of Robert Palmer's Johnny and Mary. I have their video clip collection and really enjoy the stories each clip tells.

I have seen Placebo play live twice since the Big Day Out in 2001.

The second time I saw them was at The Palace (also defunct) in St Kilda in 2003. My friends and I queued for ages to get a spot near the stage. The crowd was rough, drunk and smoking (cigarettes, not smoking as in 'stylish'). This concert was the scariest concert I've been to. I remember going to the bar to get water between the support band and Placebo, and some girls wouldn't let me back into my spot at the front. My friend picked me up and put me back at the front! There was a lot of moshing. I held on for dear life at the front – sometimes to the barrier, and sometimes to a guy I didn't know – and hoped that I wouldn't faint from heat exhaustion. I had a bottle of water placed vertically down my jacket so my boobs wouldn't get hit. The security guards were worried about me so they gave me a lot of free water, so that was a bonus of being so red! The crowd moved so much that my friends ended up at the back of the venue. I rate it 60 percent terrifying and 40 percent exhilarating.

The other time was at Festival Hall in 2006. So-so. The security were heavy handed, confiscating a guy in our row's camera. We were sitting so far back that I doubt the photos would even be evidence that he saw Placebo. I got really sick after the gig, and I put it down to being in that closely confined venue. They've toured twice since, but I chose not to go because both subsequent times was at Festival Hall and once was mid February.

I am driving 300 km tomorrow and so I think I'll be revisiting the music I've been missing – Placebo.

I like Placebo's old stuff better than their new stuff, though.


  1. Oh. My. God. I LOVE Placebo! With a love that transcends space, time, thought, everything. Seriously, Placebo are my single all-time favourite band. I adore their music, the lyrics, BRIAN MOLKO, ahhh what can I say, he is SEX ON LEGS!!! lol

    I was a "goth" from age 17 to about 21, and Placebo were the band that first introduced me into that subculture. I know the words to all of their songs, I have seen them play live too many times to count - at the BDO 2001 I caught Brian's guitar pick! Seriously! Best day ever! Nothing is more amazing than standing in the front row of a Placebo mosh, feeling the music flow through your entire body and getting high on the energy of the rest of the crowd all in the moment with you. Insane!

    Ok do I sound crazy enough now??? :D In a nutshell - Placebo rock.

  2. Cate - I LOVE how passionate you are about Placebo. They are really amazing lyrically and musically, and you are right, their music does just get into your veins. Seeing them live is a real privilege.

  3. Hehe see as another Placebo-head you totally get it! Placebo have been with me through so many dark times and good times too.
    My favourite songs are probably Special K, Taste in Men, Nancy Boy, Without You I'm Nothing, Black Eyed, Days Before you Came and Every You Every Me.

  4. See, you like the old stuff better than their new stuff too! I really enjoyed the Special Needs album but the next two not so much.
    Spite and Malice is another fave song :)
    I think Placebo got me through some hard time too. Such a good band.


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