Live Review: The Libertines (OnBlackheath)

Date: 10/09/2017

Venue: OnBlackheath Festival, Blackheath, London

Following a festival of grotesque rain and freezing winds you’d be forgiven for feeling lacklustre as the evening approached however, The Libertines were the shining light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. Their return to London has been long awaited and they displayed all the hallmarks of a well tuned, well practised punk outfit.

Opening with “Time For Heroes” there was an instant, euphoric atmosphere both onstage and off. A couple of years into their now long term reunion and it appears as though the boys in the band are as close as ever, a fine mix of friendship and professional integrity. Songs such as “Horrorshow” and “Vertigo” still remain perfectly chaotic as ever, a sure sign of longevity for tracks which were first released in 2002.

“The Libertines have an ability to mesmerise crowds which is unmatched.”

Newer releases taken from 2015’s ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ manage to merge with an already strong setlist, each holding their own as though they too were released in the early days of the band’s existence. “Barbarians” lives up to this statement, it is both anthemic and at times dark. Similarly is “Gunga Din” which has grown into a word for word sing-along and a modern classic in itself. The band must have been proud to see the Blackheath crowd’s appreciation, it almost justifies the release of a third album in itself.
With plans to open a hotel, a seaside tour coming in the coming months and word spreading of a fourth album release, The Libertines are clearly gearing up for a busy year or so. However, their commitment to touring is second to none, since they returned they have barely taken breaks from the live arena unlike many of their contemporaries. This only proves their strong fan base who no matter what will always have the most intense desire to catch them live. The Blackheath crowd was no different, fans with Libertines t-shirts, tattoos and more were scattered all around south London from the mid morning hours long into the night.

A highlight in itself was “You’re My Waterloo,” a romantic sing along which has almost as much meaning as life itself. Peter Doherty’s lyrical ability (alongside Carl Barat’s mesmerising piano rendition) was matched by genius voice, his vocal skills are at times angelic. “Music When The Lights Go Out” matches the latter’s meaningfulness, the London formed band have an ability to strike emotions with ease.

However, it was a cacophony of raucous anthems which brought the set to a dramatic end. “The Boy Looked At Johnny” got a rare live outing and mixed well with “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun” which in many ways is the perfect closing track. Well known, dramatic and chaotic, it forced the Blackheath crowd into a frenzy and eventually led to a Carl/Pete/Gary/John bundle atop a drum kit.

The Libertines have an ability to mesmerise crowds which is unmatched. With more touring, an album and further plans coming to fruition, the second coming of the iconic four piece is only getting stronger and stronger as time goes on.


Check out the video for “Gunga Din” below:


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