If you ask a member of the British public about that Pete Doherty fella, most would say something along the lines of "junkie twat going out with that Kate Mosh" rather than talented musician. Some may even mention his current outfit Babyshambles but few would probably be aware of the band that he captured many a heart with not so long ago. The Libertines were an exciting London band who made many a wave in their short existence. NME darlings and to some extent proponents of a music "scene", they were best known for bringing down the divide between fans and artists by way of performing intimate gigs. Drug issues led to their premature demise in late 2004 but they left an impressive collection of music for new fans and old to enjoy for years to come.
For most it was all about the prominent frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barât and their love/hate relationship. Barât went onto form Dirty Pretty Things, bringing Libertines drummer Gary Powell with him, with bassist John Hassell going on to front Yeti. All those respective bands have found it difficult to emulate their past success, with Yeti in particular, much underrated and underexposed.
Photo credit: Boys In The Band [link]
Now I'm pretty sure you knew all that so onto the meat and potatoes. Almost three years ago to the day (Apr 15 2004), I went to a fantastic and truly memorable gig at the infamous Rhythm Factory to see The Libs play at the second birthday of their .org [link]. In fact, if you've ever come across the 'Piss Me Off' bootleg, those songs come from that very night. Peter Perrett of The Only Ones (you know, 'Another Girl, Another Planet') performed with the band that night as well on a couple of songs, although I'm not ashamed to admit I didn't have the foggiest who he was at the time!
Ukelele Orchestra Of Great Britain - Another Girl, Another Plant
Knowing the long, unpredictable history between Doherty and Barât so their onstage "reunion" tonight (12/04/07) at the Hackney Empire [NME.com article] was probably jokingly hinted at on many an internet messageboard recently. But for many their 45 minute set of Libertines material was a shocking yet welcome surprise. Although I wasn't there myself, here's a sample of the action - Pete and Carl performing 'Tell The King' followed by 'Don't Look Back Into The Sun':
The Libertines were a band that inspired and captivated so their amicable performance together is tantalising to those fans who are still hoping for a full band return. I'm somewhat pessimistic that it would happen and some even claim tonight was a publicity stunt to promote each other's bands. I think a lot of fans, including myself, would actually prefer to see Pete perform solo acoustically as he has done in the past (many count the tender Albion acoustic track below, later incorporated into Babyshambles sets, as their favourite Doherty/Libs related song) and even Carl has shown he could do a good job by himself. But reunions like tonight's make it difficult for everyone to move on from The Libertines.
Carl Barât - Can't Stand Me Now (Rolling Stone Session)
Carl Barât - Time For Heroes (Rolling Stone Session)
Pete Doherty - Albion (Freewheelin' Session)
This is almost certainly the most personal-ish post I've written on this blog and probably paints me as a bit of a fanboy who will regale you with tales of 'arcadia' (you might want to wikipedia Doherty's story if you're wondering what that refers to, although I'm still not really sure to be honest). Don't worry, it's not the case! I was far from a huge fan, but for a very short period of time, I was immersed in the fascinating world of The Libertines and don't regret that at all. I'm sure a great deal of teenagers (and obviously older fans) who experienced the band will say the same thing. The good old days indeed.
The Libertines - Good Old Days (AOL Session)
I could well wake up tomorrow morning and think that this post was a complete mistake but if anyone reading has any opinions/thoughts of The Libertines, it would be great to read them! Favourite song? Most influential band of this decade? Overrated and overhyped rubbish? Will Pete Doherty ever be clean of drugs? Should the band ever get back together?