Among the stars arriving for Bangkok's inaugural Sonic Bang festival on Saturday is one band that is no stranger to Southeast Asia. Frequent visitors to the region, Placebo have brought their reflective, gender-twisting or drug-exploring lyrics, their androgynous look, their dark, melodic instrumentals around the world, and now to Bangkok for the third time.
Frontman Brian Molko's voice and guitar, Stefan Olsdal's instrumentals and the band's rhythmic core, most recently filled by drummer Steve Forrest, together are instantly recognisable. As a band they're heavy, they're pop, they're punk, they're alternative, but with a sound so distinctive it doesn't take long to recognise a new track as theirs.
Through hits such as Nancy Boy, Taste in Men, Pure Morning and the haunting Without You I'm Nothing, Placebo's six albums have sold more than 12 million copies. The band's self-titled debut album in 1996 went gold in the UK and platinum in France, and the most recent studio album, Battle for the Sun, reached the top spot in 10 countries and top five in 20, as well as two weeks on top of the Billboard European Album Charts. In 2009, Placebo received an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Alternative act.
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