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Carve your name into my arm.
Instead of stressed, I lie here charmed.
Cuz there's nothing else to do,
Every me and every you…


It’s not often that a decent band does a gig in Jakarta so I’m well pleased – but also very surprised - to see that the brilliant alternative rock band Placebo are scheduled to give a concert at Istora Senayan on 16 February 2010. I say surprised because Placebo are no strangers to controversy and their visit to Indonesia may raise more than just a few eyebrows.

Questioning gender norms
Strange as it may seem, it is actually correct to say – statistically wise at least - that the average person is androgynous (females and males are roughly in a 50 50 mix) but even so, I don’t think too many people would describe Placebo’s lead singer Brian Molko as an average dude.


 Brian Molko
Brian Molko questions gender norms

The band’s questioning of gender norms is a theme which runs through many of the bands top songs including one of their most popular songs, the excellent "Nancy Boy".

Potent sexual imagery
Placebo like to make use of potent imagery to explore the theme of non-normative sexual identities. Let’s just hope the authorities – particularly the moral ministry of truth and information – don’t get too hot under the collar about this and try to remember some of the things Gus Dur (RIP) said about pluralism and tolerance.


Drugs
Drugs are, of course, an essential part of rock and roll and, at times in the past, Placebo members have been known to take them like the average person drinks coffee and tea. Hopefully, Placebo will be fully aware that the authorities
in this part of the world are a tad less tolerant on such things (just ask Robert Paul McJannett who was caught, not with his pants down, but with drugs in his socks).

The music
Placebo are sort of a cross between Nirvana (only more listenable) and the Cure (but without the Gothic wimpiness). There’s also influences from Sonic Youth, the Pixies, and Depeche Mode.

Essential Listening
Every me every you
Nancy Boy
Special K
Pure Morning
Where is my mind?
English summer rain
Bigmouth strikes again (superb version of the Smiths’ classic hit)





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