PLACEBO frontman Brian Molko was forced to momentarily stop his band’s debut show at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Tuesday night to have two men ejected for fighting.
The incident occurred just three songs into the UK goth rockers’ 21-song set.
Following their newest song Jesus’ Son, Molko called out a “dirty bloke” and “baseball cap backwards” after a scuffle broke out on the floor just below where he was performing.
“All of you, you're all leaving… yeah especially you, baseball cap backwards,” Molko said.
One of the punters then stuck up his middle finger at Molko before he was removed by security.
“What a waste of time and money,” Molko said in exasperation with one hand on his hip, looking more like a scolding parent, rather than a global rock star.
“We're working here, we're trying to do a good show for you guys, we're doing our best.
“It really doesn't help when people punch each other, or bump into each other, it is just nonsense. So let’s all just try and take care of each other tonight.”
On Wednesday morning claims were made on social media by a witness that the two men reacted after another man barged into their girlfriends and other people repeatedly.
Despite the ugly incident, Placebo delivered a quality night of nostalgia. Placebo had never performed in Newcastle before, so it was disappointing to see the majority of the seats empty, however the floor was 80 per cent full.
Perhaps it was the Tuesday night factor or the fact its been a decade since Placebo enjoyed a major Australian hit. Whatever the reason, Newcastle needs to be more supportive in order to keep attracting international acts to town.
Placebo’s latest tour is all about celebrating 20 years of shaking up the predominately ultra-masculine rock industry with their androgynous style.
In a strange move, arguably their most popular song Every You, Every Me wasn’t performed and was instead saved for a pre-show video to seemingly placate the audience. Then that famous looping riff of Pure Morning was drawn out as Placebo hit the stage.
Molko and bassist Stefan Olsdal have previously expressed their dislike for the song and it was given a faster and heavier reworking.
In their prime Placebo operated as three-piece but Molko and Olsdal - the only remaining original and full-time members – were joined by another four musicians to create a denser sound.
Following the fight in the crowd, there was little conversation from Molko. Whether he was annoyed or not, it didn’t flow into the performance. Placebo got down to business, ripping through their extensive catalogue of crowd favourites like Special Needs and For What It’s Worth.
All songs were accompanied with videos and a dazzlingly bright light display, which at times made it difficult to view the stage without feeling like your retina was burning.
The pace quickened towards the end of the main set as the band whipped through Slave To The Wage, Special K and The Bitter End.
For a band so heavily associated with the LBGTI community and equality it was surprising the hot political topic of the same-sex marriage plebiscite hadn’t been raised in the opening 90 minutes of the show.
That ended when Olsdal returned in the encore with a rainbow-coloured bass, which he held aloft to an adorning audience. It was followed by Placebo’s sexually-explicit rock anthem Nancy Boy, which seems to have only grown in relevance.
Placebo’s other political moment also came in the encore when they unveiled a twisted cartoon on US President Donald Trump with the caption “seriously hurts you and others around you.”
The second encore fooled plenty of punters who headed early for the exit, but those who stuck around were rewarded with Placebo’s emotional cover of Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill.
We’re unlikely to see Placebo in Newcastle again. This was a once in a lifetime moment.