Idlewild/Paris Olympia

Europe loves you Brian...

Idlewild/Paris Olympia

"Merci," utters Roddy Woomble


eyeing the 5,000 bodies squashed into


the sleek Olympia in the


heart of Paris after unleashing


Idlewild's 'Film For The Future'


in typically manic fashion as Rod


Jones and Bob Fairfoull


hammer the guitar and bass on either side.





His devilish grin is made all the more unnerving


when, clad head to toe in angelic white -


Rod the man in black beside him -


Roddy is picked out by a UV light. The


band are as explosive as ever, although it's not nearly


loud enough to do them justice, on this opening night


of their support jaunt around Europe


with Placebo. But they balance the


set between songs from their last album - deadpanning


"C'est un chanson de notre nouveau album '100


Broken Windows'" in a broad Scots accent


before 'Roseability' - and the older


songs, winding up with an unnerving elongated version


of 'You Just Have To Be Who You Are'.








Maybe it's the strong whiff of goth in the place


tonight but


Idlewild's performances seem to have


taken on an eerier edge than of old, the songs bearing a


strangely disturbing element cutting through the


thrash-outs.





Which, unfortunately, makes it all the more


disappointing when Placebo come on.


Where have the theatrics gone,


Brian's evil glint, the wicked camp


and pure malice that fuelled their earlier gigs? This


audience adore Molko and his men, to


the point of hysteria when the doors opened to let the


flood of screaming teens into the venue earlier. And


he's basking in their adoration. But the lack of venom


as he chatters in (naturally) fluent French between


songs is deflating.





Tonight's set is heavy on the 'Black Market


Music', and the older numbers that they do


whip out of the vaults only serve to remind how


splendidly sharp they used to be. '36


Degrees' is battered through with almost


unseemly haste.





Stefan Olsdal is looking more like


an extra from 'Mad Max' than ever


with his blonde razor-sharp mohican, that trademark


floppy leather coat and those huge black buggy shades,


and he's still vying for the smiliest man in rock


title, a grin almost as wide as the


Olympia stage on this first of two


sold-out nights. Someone suggests that


Molko looks like a cross between


Gary Numan and Sharleen


Spiteri, though the new shorter haircut's


pretty nifty and the Bri-boys in the


place will be flocking to the hairdresser's tomorrow


to catch up.





But the band themselves are pretty static tonight and


physically there is little grace or charm about the


performance, though the sound is slick, shiny and


near-perfect.





The audience, however, erupt


into a frenzy of howls and applause after every song.


A series of visuals are flashed up behind the band,


informing us that "Jesus loves me"


and "I don't have a girlfriend", plus a blippy-heart monitor


graphic.





By the end, though, there are 5000 sweating French


folk dazzled by their idol and going doolally as


'Nancy Boy' segues into the bouncing


looped intro to 'Pure Morning'. A


triumph for Placebo then.


Europe loves you


Brian, with or without the bite, the


spite and the malice.


Vicky 'Idlewild's fifth member' Davidson

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