Placebo play at Newcastle Entertainment Centre

Rock royalty will be in Newcastle on Tuesday. We can’t say that very often.

Placebo will perform at Newcastle Entertainment Centre. Tickets are still available.

It’s the band’s first national tour in 11 years.

“Placebo will be giving their audiences a spine-chilling nostalgic tsunami of sound as they celebrate a 20-year journey of monumental achievements,” a promo said.

Don’t know about you, but they’ve sold us just on that. Plus we like bands whose sound can be traced through rock and roll history.

Back in 1996, The New York Times wrote: “Placebo reworked the first wave of post-punk rock, particularly New Order, the Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, early U2 and Talking Heads”.

David Bowie is in there, too, along with REM, the Pixies, Sonic Youth and Echo and the Bunnyman. 

Placebo’s androgynous lead singer Brian Molko came from a long line of bankers and was brought up in a Christian household.

But he rebelled against finance and worship, by wearing nail polish, lipstick and eyeliner, and listening to punk music.

He was once ranked 14th in a list of rock 'n' roll hellraisers, one ahead of Ozzy Osbourne – who bit the head off a bat.

The band is known for standing up for gay rights. They led a chant against Margaret Court in Melbourne a few days back, as debate over same-sex marriage hit the headlines.

The band’s guitarist-bassist Stefan Olsdal might even pull out his rainbow guitar in Newcastle. 

Oldsal spoke to Newcastle Herald music journalist Josh Leeson last month about same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s a curious case in Australia because I think the majority of people there are very open and it’s a very accepting country,” he said.

“It’s the same thing with women’s right to vote. Of course everyone is equal and they should have the same rights.

“Placebo as a band have always advocated for tolerance and respect for the individual and how they express themselves.

“We firmly believe in freedom and rights, whatever your orientation is. I personally will continue to be very open and stand behind what I think is a basic human right.”

So get out your black nail polish, get to the gig, stand up for human rights and rock on.

Band Names

Speaking of music, Topics regular Glen Fredericks, of Empire Coffee Co at Honeysuckle, has been following the trend on social media of wrecking a band name with just one letter.

It all started with Pink Flood, followed by this: Poo Fighters, The Bench Boys, The Rolling Scones, Nine Inch Snails, Pickleback, Yeastie Boys, The Beagles, Deer Purple, Leotard Skynrd, Blob Marley, Cod Stewart, Tailor Swift, Tom Pretty and Slack Sabbath.

Newcastle made an appearance with The Screaming Pets and Silverhair.

How about one for Placebo? The first thing that comes to mind is Gazebo. Nothing wrong with naming a band after an Aussie backyard icon. But that’d be changing the name by more than one letter. Darn it. 

Excess Baggage

People sure take a lot of stuff with them when they go overseas.

Reader Michael said there was no space left in overhead luggage compartments on a recent long-haul flight to Canada.

“Some people had a small suitcase, a backpack and a handbag,” he said.

Carry-on luggage is getting out of hand.