The Libertines @ Kentish Town Forum, London, 18th December 2003

To say it’s been a rollercoaster year for The Libertines would be an understatement. The trials and tribulations surrounding singer Pete Doherty, notably his heroin addiction and alleged burglary of bandmate Carl Barat’s apartment, have ensured publicity for all the wrong reasons. A prolonged tour with a stand in member and the Doherty’s new outfit Babyshambles threw the band’s future into serious doubt.

Tonight, however, the band are reunited – Doherty has been rehabilitated since his release from prison, and the stage is set for a legendary comeback. After a couple of rather mediocre support acts, The Libertines arrive in front of a crazed, beer chucking crowd at 9.45pm. The band declare that they’ll play the same number of songs that the BNP has seats in the country – about 17. ‘Horror Show’ opens up proceedings, this a reminder of their shambolic yet glorious sound. Album title track ‘Up The Bracket’ sees the foursome sounding sharper than ever, and it’s quite clear by now that the onstage chemistry between Doherty and Barat hasn’t waned.

New material is aired, songs like ‘Arbeit Mach Frei’ recall the band’s chaotic early recordings whilst ‘Last Post On The Bugle’ offers a tantalising taster of what to expect form the imminent new album, due out some time next year (Don’t hold your breath). The melodic side to the Libertines is showcased, the wonderful ‘Time For Heroes’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ are reminders of why it would have been such a tragedy if the band had folded. A few more chart eating gems like these and we’ll have to start taking them very seriously.

The encore consists of infamous debut single ‘What A Waster’, which sees fans belting out the chorus ‘What A Fucking Waster/He Pissed It All Up The Wall’, before the band announce that they will not play the last song without at least 65 of the audience on stage. An ordered stage invasion is what you would expect from a band like The Libertines – hundreds of fans desperately crowd surf towards the barrier in an effort to join the boys for a mass sing along of ‘I Get Along’. A glorious end to their three night residency at the Forum, to say that this has been a legendary comeback would be an understatement.

Set List:

  • Horror Show

  • Up The Bracket

  • Vertigo

  • Arbeit Mach Frie

  • Last Post On The Bugle

  • Death On The Stairs

  • Begging

  • Plan A

  • Mayday

  • Time For Heroes

  • Don't Look Back Into The Sun

  • The Delaney

  • Tell The King

  • Sally Brown (Featuring Rabbi John)

  • The Good Old Days

  • Boys In The Band

  • The Boy Looked At Johnny

  • Seven Deadly Sins

  • Skag And Bone Man

  • What A Waster

  • I Get Along (Stage invasion)

    Jeremy Lloyd