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
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
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