Home Live Review Live Review: Placebo @ 9:30 Club — 5/2/23

Live Review: Placebo @ 9:30 Club — 5/2/23

Live Review: Placebo @ 9:30 Club — 5/2/23
Placebo perform at 9:30 Club on May 2, 2023. (Photo by Marc Shea)

British alternative band Placebo have hit the road in support of their latest album, Never Let Me Go. The tour recently took them to DC’s 9:30 Club where they played a set with a heavy emphasis on their latest album for two sold-out shows. They are joined on tour by Poppy Jean Crawford and my mantra, “Always See The Opener,” holds true for Placebo fans.

At 9:30 Club on May 2, Poppy Jean and her band were a great match and put on a fun show, unless you were security for 9:30. Midway through her set, Poppy Jean hopped off the stage and into the photo alley where she hopped onto one of the platforms and leaned over the barrier into the crowd. I glanced at a few security guards on the side of the stage and they were all frantically chattering into their mics! I would love to have illustrated that with a photo. Unfortunately, there was a very strict two-song limit for professional photos. Security outside the venue informed everyone in line that photos were not permitted during the show, at all. One gentleman standing next to me was reprimanded for taking a selfie in front of an empty stage before the show even began. Poppy’s set was lively and wrapped up with a sexy version of Tears For Fears’ “Head Over Heels.”

Poppy Jean Crawford releases her debut album on July 14, and so to date she only had one single release. She performed that single, “The Takeover,” in her set.

Watch the official music video for “The Takeover” by Poppy Jean Crawford on YouTube:

Before Placebo took the stage, singer/guitarist Brian Molko made an announcement to the crowd to refrain from photos and video. Placebo was formed in 1994 by Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal. The live version of the bands expands upon the two founders by adding Bill Lloyd on guitar, multi-instrumentalist Nick Gavrilovic (synths, guitars, backing vocals), Matt Lunn on drums, and Angela Chan on keyboards and violin.

Placebo opened their set with the song “Forever Chemicals” from their latest release, Never Let Me Go.

After a couple of songs, Brian announced that they had just realized that it was Placebo Day, May 2. Placebo Day is based on a lyric from their song The Bitter End: 

Since we’re feeling so anesthetized/
In our comfort zone/
Reminds me of the second time/
That I followed you home/
We’re running out of alibis/
On the second of may/
Reminds me of the summertime/
On this winter’s day

Watch the official music video for “The Bitter End” by Placebo on YouTube:

The band made the announcement and promised us, because it was Placebo Day, that they wouldn’t sound like shit. They gave the promise with the caveat that they might sound like extra shit for the next night. Unfortunately, aside from band introductions during “Slave To The Wage,” that was about it for crowd interaction.

The band was really tight and played a great set. Of the 22 songs (including the encore), 11 were from the latest album. Beyond those, the band mixed in songs from most of their other albums. The one glaring omission was the exclusion of anything from Without You, I’m Nothing. 

When a band with a career as long as Placebo’s goes out on tour, oftentimes it feels like a greatest hits show with a few new songs sprinkled into the mix. Placebo came out in full support of Never Let Me Go, and it was awesome!

Stream Never Let Me Go by Placebo on Spotify:

The band wrapped up their set and quickly returned for a three-song encore. The first track, to keep a theme going, was Tears For Fears’ “Shout,” a cover that was a standalone release for the band late last year after the release of Never Let Me Go. After “Fix Yourself” from the new album, Placebo closed the entire show with a wild version of Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill,” complete with Brian and Stefan staying on stage after the rest of the band left to create a soundscape with their effects boards. It was a wild, noisy finale to a fun show.


  • Forever Chemicals
  • Beautiful James
  • Scene Of The Crime
  • Hugz
  • Happy Birthday In The Sky
  • Bionic
  • Twin Demons
  • Surrounded By Spies
  • Chemtrails
  • Sad White Reggae
  • Try Better Next Time
  • Too Many Friends
  • Went Missing
  • For What It’s Worth
  • Slave To The Wage
  • Song To Say Goodbye
  • Come Undone
  • The Bitter End
  • Infra-Red


  • Shout (Tears For Fears)
  • Fix Yourself
  • Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God) (Kate Bush)

Here are some photos of Placebo performing at 9:30 Club on May 2, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.


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