Ah how the tide has turned. After The Libertines disintegrated, Pete Doherty couldn’t blink without it making front page news, Babyshambles were the band du jour, a deal, an album and a supermodel girlfriend followed. But Carl Barat was biding his time. Fast forward a year, and of the two ex-Libertine leaders, one of them is riding the wave of success following their album Dave Sardy produced album ‘ Waterloo To Anywhere’ and is playing yet another sold out show after a hugely successful year- and the other one’s not even allowed out of The Priory after dark…
On this miserable September evening, Carl Barat and his Dirty Pretty Things are playing in support of the ‘Make Roads Safe’ campaign, after a spate of road deaths involving young people. The show tonight was partly in memory to three teenage girls, two sisters, Claire and Jennifer Stoddart, and their friend, Carla Took, who died after a crash in Suffolk on their way home from a Dirty Pretty Things show.
It’s down to the rakish Russell Brand, the swine, to introduce the fashionably tardy band, throwing a signed packet of rice (most of it ended up on Crossfire’s snapper’s top ….bad aim Mr Brand) , a plate signed by Paul Weller and half a bread roll to the unfriendly crowd. All of it is lobbed back at him, before he’s tackled by Didz Hammond as Dirty Pretty Things saunter onto the stage. Hammond is the only band member without a Libertines’ past, frontman Carl Barat and drummer Gary Powell were mainstays of the Albion’s finest, whilst guitarist Anthony Rossomondo stood in for Doherty on the Lib’s last tour, notably at Reading ’04 where the ‘will he won’t he show’ drew in the crowds on the main stage.
With their tight leather jackets, tousled hair and wild eyes, they launch into their set, with ‘You Fucking Love It‘ roared out from the crowd, and Barat’s right, they really do fucking love it. On stage the guys are frenetic, constantly spinning, the energy between them palpable as Barat twists the crowd around his little finger. ‘Dead Wood’ pushes the crowd to fever pitch, downstairs they press themselves closer to the stage, ‘The Enemy’ and the wonderful ‘Gin and Milk“, with Barat spitting out the lyrics ” No one gives a fuck for a values I would die for, not the faceless civil servants, not the rudimentary crack whore.” A highlight is an appearance from Paul Weller, which is worthy of Barat shrugging on his tight leather jacket again “I need to be wearing leather for this…” he grins.
‘Bang Bang You’re Dead’ tops the bill, with Rossomondo breathlessly eeking out the trumpet intro. In losing his partnership with Doherty, Barat seems to have streamlined his writing, the tracks on display tonight are all exciting, addictive and upbeat – they have that certain haunting charm that the Libertine’s material had, and as Barat has said in the past, the differences between the two bands are merely ” logistical, not philosophical.” Tonight’s show is pumped with adrenaline, the band are hiding high on their success and unleashed on the stage tonight the energy and passion is arresting. And despite ending with The Libertines’ ‘We Get Along’, they are a band in their own right, and whilst they’ll never shake off the Libertines ghost, they’re really coming into their own today.