5th July 2014
Louder Than War’s Josh Norcliffe was at last weekend’s Libertines gig at Hyde Park. Check out his review of their “heroic and wonderfully shambolic” performance along with some photos by Svenja Block.
If the last time the Libertines reformed was to provide closure on the time Pete Doherty was kicked out of ‘his own band’ before their second album was released, then this time their motives were questionable, but it was still everything you wanted from a Libertines performance; heroic and wonderfully shambolic.
Frontmen Doherty and Carl Barât descended upon London’s Hyde Park to play their biggest ever UK show joined by a range of UK based talent who would support them at the ‘British Summer Time’ all- dayer. The bill included experimental rockers Spiritualized, London’s Irish Punk Folk heroes the Pogues and a whole host of British guitar bands.
Scottish indie-rockers the View (see photo, right) performed twice across two stages which included a stunningly intimate performance at the Sony Unlimited Stage to just 180 lucky fans who first had to queue up for special wristbands, before waiting outside the make-shift indoor venue to not be left disappointed.
The Libertines though had barely made it into their second song Boys in The Band, before the music was interrupted and the 60,000-solid crowd were asked to push back. Ironically Doherty, concerned for the well-being of others shouted, “We can’t carry on if you don’t calm down a bit. Push back”. The band resumed only to be halted again seconds later. The Libs’ Drummer Gary Powell then led the crowd in a chant of the riff to The White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ before Doherty joined in with a run through of The Foundations’ ‘Build Me Up Buttercup’.
Eventually things got going again as the band performed The Delaney, Campaign of Hate, Horrorshow and Time for Heroes who Doherty dedicated to the Guildford Four’s Gerry Conlon, saying: “Gerry Conlon, if you’re looking down this afternoon”.
Renditions of fans favourites Music When the Lights go Out and What Katie Did saw Barât and Doherty share the microphone for the first time tonight. Much has been made of Doherty and Barât’s friendship down the years, but finally now it seems both appreciate what can only be described as the rarest of song writing pairings (and friendships), comparable to Morrissey and Marr’s, and Lennon and McCartney’s.
An emotional version of the Libertines biggest hit Can’t Stand Me Now was also performed before later on the set was again interrupted, this time due to fans climbing the sound towers. The most emotional moment of the night was when a grey-haired Doherty performed acoustic track Albion in which he shouted out Barât’s hometown, Basingstoke.
The Libertines then brought the gig to a disorderly end through first album closer I Get Along before the two frontmen paid tribute to the armed forces, reciting Siegfried Sassoon’s 1918 poem, Suicide In The Trenches. There was even time for an impromptu ‘Hokey-Cokey’ initiated by Pete, whilst the 4 piece embraced in front of the 60,000 plus audience.
There was always a sense of unfinished business with the Libertines but this time they look as if they might stick around. They’ve just added three dates at London’s Alexandra Palace along with a headline spot at Bennicassim festival in Spain and they could work on new material after that. It’s exciting times for Libertines fans again, and it’s likely that more UK dates could be added. Don’t miss out.
All words by Josh Norcliffe. More writing by Josh on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive. Photos © Svenja Block.