"November 6, 2006"

Placebo - November 6, 2006

Electric Factory
Philadelphia, PA, USA

After over ten years together, Placebo are a well oiled machine. What this means for fans of Placebo is that they can know what to expect and can safely spend their money to know that not only will the trio play cuts off of their newest album, but also the eagerly awaited hits that everyone wants to hear. Upgrading from previous performances at the Theater of Living Arts on South Street to one of the city's largest club venues, Placebo arrived with big shoes to fill.

While the show was opened with a short set from DJ Chris Holmes, the real action began when Los Angeles electro-indie rock band She Wants Revenge took the stage. Led by rapper-turned-psychedelic-musician-turned-indie-rock-frontman Justin Warfield -- whose band is an unsurprising choice for opener as Warfield was a guest MC on Placebo's "Spite and Malice" although he, disappointingly, did not perform the track live with the band -- She Wants Revenge's set was a collection of tracks from their debut album. As he wiggled and danced with his mic stand, or alternately his guitar, Warfield was otherwise reserved as She Wants Revenge played the songs from the album practically note for note, with little variation. At one point, Warfield, somewhat ironically, prefaced by explaining the next song was "a dance song."

When Placebo took to the stage it was with the addition of a new guitar, which Brian Molko proudly announced he had bought earlier that day in Philadelphia. It was unclear throughout the performance if Molko, always the center of fan attention, was entertaining the fans or himself as he motioned dramatically with cigarettes, barely cracking a smile, and leading the well versed crowd in giving the finger during "Sleeping With Ghosts" and for an energetic sing-along with "Special K." Instrumentally, the band sounded as tight as ever, especially on their cover of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and "Taste In Men." While otherwise it was a night evoking Jimi Hendrix as both Warfield and Molko dropped to their knees, attention focused on their guitars as they struggled, unsuccessfully, to generate some feedback.

With only two shows remaining after Philadelphia, it was clear that the band's trek across the States had been a fun but long adventure. One can not help but feel poorly for the fans who made special trips to see the band play their first show in three years in the city of brotherly love. With no encore and a relatively short set of only thirteen songs, Placebo upgraded their location without upgrading their performance.