Given his almost daily presence in the tabloid newspapers at the height of his infamy, Pete Doherty has maintained a relatively low profile of late, and it is Babyshambles bassist Drew McConnell who has been the driving force for the band’s return with new album Sequel To The Prequel.
But, despite testing his fans’ patience more than most, it seems that Doherty’s pulling power has not diminished.
The varied audience profile at this show serves as a reminder of just how many tribes this charismatic musician unites and the enthusiasm with which they drowned out the opening piper and hollered along to Delivery sent a clear signal that loyalties have not waned in the three years since they were last active.
Barrowland is the ideal dog-eared playground for a 21st century libertine such as Doherty and he was on effortlessly louche form – one could never be sure whether this was through actual lack of effort – as he casually lobbed various projectiles back into the crowd then swiftly scooped a bra into his inside pocket.
The music was often not as engaging to behold as his rakish presence. Babyshambles were born to deliver a brief, stroppy barrage such as Fireman or the low-slung melodic indie pop of Maybelline, but they also fell into a couple of enervated indie troughs.
As the gig progressed, it became clear that the songs from the new album have not properly taken hold yet and that what was always going to score highest amid all the sweaty carnage was a cathartic punky pogo such as Pipedown and the opportunity, provided during the shirtless and slightly aimless encore, for a lusty singalong to Killamangiro and F*** Forever.