The Libertines at Alexandra PalaceCultureMusicLive music
The Libertines were a band that seemed beautifully dysfunctional. While producing iconic, genre-inspiring music they also had to deal with constant rifts between the two duelling frontmen and, of course, Pete Doherty’s much-publicised drug habit. After living through more drama than an Eastenders Christmas special the boys were back in London for a three-day stint at the magnificently luxurious Alexandra Palace this week, a hell of a long way from playing intimate gigs in Pete’s Bethnal Green flat to a handful of lucky punters. We ventured down to see if they could adapt to such a large arena.
There’s a boisterously loud feeling in the air as the time for the indie heroes to step onstage draws near; it’s easy to tell many fans have been waiting for an extremely long time to see their idols, and the atmosphere is electric. After a brief intro track and a few extra minutes of waiting the band burst onstage with opening track The Delaney and viciously rip through their set, showing that after two days of warm up they are back on top form, dismissing any suggestion of rustiness. The chemistry between Pete and Carl is a wonderful sight in itself: they ooze charisma and joy, often sharing the same microphone and bouncing off each other’s performances.
The night is clearly a glorious celebration of the band’s music as they storm through a greatest hits set, playing fan favourites like Don’t Look Back Into the Sun, What a Waster and indie anthem Can’t Stand Me Now. The music continuously flows in the punky atmosphere with little crowd interaction from either frontman, the sound of crashing guitars and passionate vocals performances dominating the frenzied show. As if hit after hit, performed to perfection, wasn’t enough an extra special treat is offered towards the end as Pete is left to perform Babyshambles classic Fuck Forever, providing the juiciest cherry on top of the cake.
If there was any doubt that The Libertines lacked the awe factor to conquer big-scale venues then tonight was the night to absolutely smash any such suggestion. It’s stunning how the band have managed to stay on top of their game after so much transition and controversy. And judging by tonight’s performance it would be no surprise to see the band topping major festival bills around this time next year.
Photos: Guifré de Peray
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Watch the video for Can’t Stand Me Now here: