Pete Doherty at PowerHaus
PowerHaus (formerly Dingwalls), the vintage venue right on Camden Lock, was transported back to 2005 last weekend as Pete Doherty performed a solo show. Having seemingly kicked the drugs that made his name in the tabloids, the performer looks healthy in colonial braces and a Panama hat, occasionally sipping from a pint of ale, just him and his guitar before a surging, sweaty throng.
This is not a show of new material but brings back songs from the Libertines’ heyday. The frontman opens with a crowd-pleasing Can’t Stand Me Now and rattles through all the greatest hits, with Time for Heroes from the band’s debut album Up the Bracket being a particular highlight. The singer also performs perfect renditions of What Katie Didand an affecting You’re My Waterloo.
The crowd is beyond excited. A young man crowd surfs, bobbing about aimlessly until he is delivered on stage right next to Doherty, he manages a triumphant grin before security unceremoniously dispatches him back into the crowd and he’s whisked away again. At least two people chuck their phones on stage to request songs amid the kerfuffle, which is the only time Doherty directly engages with the audience, “who’s is this? Do you want it back? What’s your screensaver?” he enquires of the enthusiastic rabble. It’s easy to see why he inspires such devotion: he is a poet, a true Camden troubadour. Though formerly addled, rather than putting fans off, the artist’s talent is enough for his past to become tangled into his mythology.
Doherty’s voice is keening, his guitar playing is choppy and rough in the urgent way of traditional folk music. The closing song, Music When the Lights Go Out, is genuinely moving and depicts his journey with the lyrics: “Well, I’ll confess all of my sins/After several large gins…. The girl I thought I knew is gone/ With her my heart it disappeared.” With this, the performer recounts how he has touched the hearts of a generation and some.
Photos: Mike Garnell
For further information and future events visit Pete Doherty’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Time for Heroes here: