SAN FRANCISCO Placebo singer Brian Molko set the tone for Sunday night's show with his first comments to the crowd: "You'll have to indulge me, pretentious f---er that I am."
With the help of Molko's between-song banter ("Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Brian Molko, and I am an alcoholic"), the British glam-rockers kept a packed Slim's rocking and moshing for 90 minutes, throwing a few older nuggets into the set, but focusing on their third and most recent album, Black Market Music.
They kicked off the set with the melodic "Haemoglobin" and quickly gained momentum via the Without You I'm Nothing rocker "Scared of Girls" and "36 Degrees," the sole offering from their 1996 self-titled debut.
When several fans shouted for that album's first single, "Nancy Boy," Molko scoffed, "'Nancy Boy'? In the history of the world, a song as f---ing stupid as 'Nancy Boy' has not been written."
The chatty Molko apologized repeatedly for being drunk and proved it by forgetting the first verse of "Every You Every Me," laughing and finally getting back on track by the third verse. Statuesque bassist Stefan Olsdal, who doubled on guitar, filled in vocals on "Without You I'm Nothing," while Molko knelt on the stage, lazily strumming his guitar.
The singer returned to the mic to belt out Queens of the Stone Age's "Feel Good Hit of the Summer," which fit the theme of the evening with its mantra of "Nicotine, Valium, Vicodin, marijuana, ecstasy, alcohol," and played a double-whammy for the moshers the back-to-back Black Market singles "Special K" (RealAudio excerpt) and "Taste in Men."
Placebo revealed their sweeter side during the ballad "My Sweet Prince," and Molko played piano on "Peeping Tom" and the lilting "Leni," a B-side to "Slave to the Wage." Rapper Justin Warfield, who provided the rapped tirade in "Spite & Malice", returned to add the laundry list from "Feel Good Hit of the Summer" to the final encore, "Pure Morning."
The evening began with a short, tight set of vigorous pop-punk from Scottish rockers Idlewild. Despite problems with singer Roddy Woomble's mic, the group tore through 10 songs in 40 minutes, getting the crowd moving with "Little Discourage" (RealAudio excerpt) and "I Don't Have a Map" from their latest album, 100 Broken Windows, released in the U.S. in March.
The Placebo/Idlewild tour continues Tuesday at the Palace in Hollywood.