The Placebo live machine has returned

So the slightly odd but consistently strong musical force that is Placebo is back with us, as their new album 'Meds' was released last month. Therefore it's time for the band to touch down inside another enormadome and play some songs in front of their loyal disciples. This particular UK section of their 2006 touring marathon closed with a gig at Alexandra Palace.

The first thing to tell you about this set was that the recent traditional opener of 'Taste in Men' has been dropped in favour of 'Infra-Red' from the new record. In fact 'Taste in Men' was nowhere to be found on this occasion although there's no real problem with that.

The majority of the first half of the set was made up of new songs. As well as 'Infra-Red', recent single 'Because I Want You', 'Space Monkey', 'Follow The Cops Back Home' and 'Song To Say Goodbye' were just some of those given their first try in front of a London crowd. It wasn't totally new though, there was the fans' favourite from 'Without You I'm Nothing', 'Every You Every Me' and for me, one of their finest singles to date 'Special Needs' from 'Sleeping With Ghosts', featured in the first forty minutes. This was clearly though a gig dominated by the latest record which is understandable.

At the risk of using the equivalent of that over used football cliché, (and rubbish John Motson impression is optional here), but this was a "set of two halves"! About fifty minutes in Brian Molko thanked us all for coming and announced that we had reached the "nostalgia part of the show". In other words "cheers for listening to us play all the new stuff, now here's some old ones you love and probably turned up to see us play".

You can't go further back than debut single '36 Degrees', which was a great way to get this part of the show off and running. This was followed by 'The Bitter End' and a majestic rendition of 'Twenty Years'. As this drew to a close the band departed from the stage, and left us in the company of a pulsing, rhythmic, pounding heartbeat effect over the speakers. They returned seconds later and played an excellent cover of the Kate Bush classic 'Running Up That Hill'.

It is not uncommon for major Placebo shows to feature a guest performer of some kind; tonight's contribution came courtesy of The Kills camp during 'Meds'. This was followed by another tradition of the Placebo live show, a much slower version of 'Teenage Angst' than is found on the debut album. This is clearly a popular choice or else they wouldn't carry it on, personally I hate it with a passion though.

The night was rounded off by 'Nancy Boy' and bang on the half ten venue curfew time the gig was over.

Placebo are as slick a live band as they always are, Molko's voice sounded stronger than ever and the new songs seemed to go down well. The split between new and old worked well although ideally a band should mix and match as if the new material is still fresh in the minds of some, the night can go a little flat. This wasn't the greatest of the five times I've seen Placebo but as an hour and a half's entertainment it was perfectly satisfying.

The band return to the UK this summer for the Isle of Wight Festival, T in the Park and the Carling Weekend.