Review: Placebo – TKMaxx Summer Sessions, Guildhall Square, Southampton

Review: Placebo – TKMaxx Summer Sessions, Guildhall Square, Southampton

By Callum Linklater. Main image credit Cuffe & Taylor.

It’s sunset in the Guildhall Square and what’s left of the sunlight creeps in to fill the stage whilst the crowd stand in the shadow of the Guildhall, conveniently providing some very much needed shade to yet another scorching day at the summer sessions in which fans have been blessed [or cursed] with.

Support comes from Friedberg,  a London/Berlin-based indie rock four piece, who’s formative success came from the featuring of their single ‘Go Wild’ on EA Sports FIFA 2020 game.

After the crowd had been played a pre-recorded video message from frontman Brian Molko, in which he urged everyone to ‘be in the now’ and strive to ‘establish a connection of euphoria and create a magical experience together,’ the band appeared on stage. Kickstarting with ‘Taste In Men’ the opening track of their third album ‘Black Market Music’ [2000] it was clear from the reception of the crowd that they were set for an evening full of dancing and sing-alongs. ‘Beautiful James’ [Never Let Me Go – 2022] and 2013s ‘Scene of the Crime’ from the ‘Loud Like Love’ album wrap up the first three songs of the show in which after Molko introduces Placebo. He states that they are a “European band” before dedicating the next song ‘Happy Birthday In The Sky’ to his brother. A phrase used by some to wish those who are no longer with them a happy birthday is a part of the set that stood out to me the most with the crowd participation and the atmosphere set by the golden hues of the sun combined this is what I feel an outside summer concert is all about.

by Callum Linklater

It was a show with appeal that spanned generations. I ran into my parents there and enjoyed sharing the set with them – after all, they’d brought me up listening to Placebo records.

A low point of the evening came when ‘Surrounded by Spies’ came to an abrupt pause as Molko spotted a fight breakout in the crowd. As silence fell around the square Molko was met with a warm reception from the audience chanting “kick them out”. Speaking directly to those arguing some expletives were thrown – “this needs to be a safe place and you’re making it unsafe — Calm the f*ck down!”

“Are we good? Because if you can’t mosh without beating the sh*t out of each other, we’re not going to f***ing mosh, you got it?”

He later apologised for his swearing,  and once the interruption was resolved Molko instructed everyone to take a deep breath and think about the person they love before playing the next song ‘Soulmates’ with the lyrics “dry your eyes” I couldn’t help but smile to how it could link to the incident beforehand.

Undeterred, the band completed the remainder of their 19 song set, playing hits from ‘Every You Every Me’ to ‘Bitter End’. Sometime after 10pm the band exit the stage closing with ‘Nancy Boy’ leaving the crowd wanting more with some asking for ‘Running up that Hill’ they were not disappointed. 

Gently easing back onto the stage with the opener of ‘Infra-Red’ the crowd break into dance once more this was definitely another moment that stuck out to me with once more the atmosphere being perfectly set by both lighting and sound. 

Despite the slight intermission the show was simply one of the best I’ve been to this year so far the sound, lighting and overall atmosphere made for a perfect ensemble. I very much hope to see Southampton Summer Sessions return again next year!




  1. Taste In Men


  1. Beautiful James


  1. Scene of the Crime


  1. Happy Birthday in the Sky


  1. Bionic


  1. Surrounded by Spies


(Stopped midway due to moshpit trouble)


  1. Soulmates


  1. Every You Every Me


  1. Sad White Reggae


  1. Try Better Next Time


  1. Too Many Friends


  1. Went Missing


  1. For What It’s Worth


  1. Slave to the Wage


  1. Song to Say Goodbye


  1. The Bitter End


  1. Nancy Boy




  1. Infra-red


  1. Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)


(Kate Bush cover)

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