Even before they split up for the first time, The Libertines were an on-off affair. This year, the louche Londoners are on again, with a massive reunion show at Hyde Park next weekend preceded by two warm-up dates in Glasgow.
The Libertines - Barrowland, Glasgow
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The first of these shows caught the foursome on typically insouciant form. Their own personal barmaids kept the liquid refreshment flowing, while those crazy rebels Carl Barat and Pete Doherty shared cigarettes.
The chemistry and charm of the co-frontmen just about sustained them through a frustratingly casual set, lacking the hectic momentum which swept them through many a gig in their heyday. But such are the adjusted expectations, particularly around the notoriously erratic Doherty, that it is considered a victory if the band make it to the stage on time as a unit.
Genial drummer Gary Powell and unflappable bassist John Hassall were dependable as ever, but it’s the Pete’n’Carl show which sells the tickets, and pocket gems such as Don’t Look Back Into The Sun which justify the fans’ faith. These were strung together loosely between more aimless longueurs and leisurely riffing.
At one point, Doherty had to start his own chant of “here we f***ing go”. Well, go on then. He followed up with a brisk What A Waster but then mucked up the tight intro to Time For Heroes, one of their most beloved songs. Such nonchalance can be absorbed in a relatively intimate environment such as Barrowland but it won’t play well to the back of the field at an outdoor gig.
Seen on 28.06.14