Idlewild/Paris Olympia

Europe loves you Brian...

“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


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


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


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