Placebo/Husky Loops – Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena - 14 October 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Nev Brooks   
Saturday, 28 October 2017 04:20

This has seemed to be a never-ending tour for Placebo celebrating a full 20 years in the public face. Thinking back and perhaps showing my age I actually remember those early days, interviews with Brian Molko front page of the NME and at the time Sounds music mags; I also remember the David Bowie interviews talking about bands like Placebo as the new guard of British rock, helping shape the musical underground. They had attitude, image and a sound like nothing out there at the time.


Placebo tour poster


So 20 years onwards, having moved out of the underground a long time back, hitting festival headliner status, only nowadays playing the sort of enormo- domes I usually stay away from has that attitude and edge remained?


First up though we had a new band, and one I knew absolutely nothing about, but, saying that I always give a new band the time of day, everyone has to start somewhere and at the end of the day you have to challenge your taste, you never know what you’ll discover.


Husky Loops, made up of Pier Danio Forni , Pietro Garrone, and Tommaso Medica, come out of Bologna but are now London based. Starting out trying to explain their sound is really difficult: I think you’d have to use the cliché “art rock”, but what does that mean? It could take it in all sorts of directions; to me it’s about an amalgamation of sounds and rhythms, dischordant, but well within a structure, challenging but expressive which just about sums up Husky Loops. In truth they were a slightly more accessible version of one of my favourites of the genre Exit_International. But unlike exit, who grab you by the throat and shake you, Husky Loops worm themselves in and build the pressure from within.


Husky Loops


My only criticism: at times each song seemed to contain another song, so rather than having a whole piece of music, you had two separate pieces within one song, not really discordant, more schizophrenic. An interesting start to the evening!


Now I have a confession to make… I caught Placebo at the beginning of this tour last December in Newport Centre and, truth be told I left that concert, slightly underwhelmed; there seemed to be a leaning towards a more introverted experience for too long of the set, definitely the feeling of introversion something that has always been leveled at Placebo.


This time up, after a year on the road (off and on) with a full band, two additional guitarists, and a violin/keyboard player opening and filling up the sound what a difference! The music just breathed, something front man Brian Molko, confessed to struggling with right at the beginning of the show, struggling with a serious bout of man-flu: his voice, in fairness, I really liked with the rough raw edge, it gave everything a really different feel.


Stand-out tracks for me? I would have loved the band coming in and picking up at the mid point of ‘Every You, Every Me” rather than the video playing through. ‘Pure Morning’ rocked ‘Special Needs’ had that real edge, full of spite and malice. ‘Special K’ really hammered the audience, but in fairness, as with Newport, the tipping point for the ignition of the set was the Bowie montaged ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ and the blinding follow up ‘For What It’s Worth’ leading us to the explosive finale, ‘The Bitter End’.



Then we had the encore set up track by track, including the one that ultimately blew Brian’s voice, ‘Nancy Boy’; after struggling through ‘Infra Red’ they were gone.


In fairness you had a band that were tight as fuck, with one of the most distinct front men currently touring: they gave everything, something that a packed audience really appreciated, and left nothing on the stage!


Check out Husky Loops, defiantly different, prepare to be challenged.


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