Unity Rocks: The Libertines at Brixton Academy
The infamous Libertines, self-professed champions of British indie rock, returned to the stage for a suitably chaotic and messy performance at Brixton Academy last night. This time it was all in the name of Unity Rocks, an initiative set up by drummer Gary Powell, who hopes to bring Britain back together again.
Having made a name for themselves at the start of the millennium, The Libertines may never have truly reached rousing success, their time in the spotlight culminating with two popular albums and a fractured break up. However, what they did achieve was a somewhat mythical status in the world of indie rock and roll, and that very fact is all too easy to believe when the gig begins. Stepping on stage guitarist/frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barât are awarded with an enormous roar, somewhat akin to a beast unleashed from its chains, and what started as a relatively subdued concert quickly turns into a chaos of crowd surfing, t-shirt throwing lunacy. It’s fanaticism at its finest.
The band mixed in a number of tracks from their most recent album Anthem for a Doomed Youth, which those gathered eagerly soaked up, but it was their most famous songs, like What Katie Did and Can’t Stand Me Now, that elicited the best reactions, the latter forming an unwavering line of crowd surfers forcibly pulled down by O2 attendants.
Despite their years, Doherty and Barât have maintained their eclectic magnetism on stage. The Libertines have never been about flawless live performances; they are a band that embody their ethos and their fans love them for it. The pair scuffed up lines and solos, frequently stopping to chat and hug with boyish glee, make jibes at one another through duelling guitar riffs and pretty much lost the plot at several points. Nearing the end, things really did take a turn south as a long pause followed another messed up transition, but it’s all part of the bizarre entertainment that encircles the group’s legacy, and when Doherty brought it back with Don’t Look Back into the Sun the spectators once again writhed and swelled with unmatched fervour.
For a charity gig focused around unity, The Libertines made a fine impression, and for some lucky members of the crowd, a guitar thrown into the audience at the end by Pete Doherty will make a great souvenir from the night.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information about The Libertines and future events visit here.
For further information about Unity Rocks visit here.