Live Review: The Libertines’ Sharabang

Sharabang, part of Joss Bay’s Wheels and Fins Festival, was always billed to be a special day. A famous first Kent festival for The Libertines who now call Margate their home. With album four on the way, it seemed a logical end to a wold spanning four year reunion tour. An announcement followed, suddenly the small Joss Bay cove became home to a nation of devoted Libertines fans desperate to catch the band before they catch some well earned months off. 

A famous but short lived reunion back in 2010 paved the way for 2014’s historic Hyde Park gig. A 65,000 sell out cementing The Libertines’ position as rock ’n’ roll royalty. Headline festival slots, arena tours and a third album followed. Through it all, the London formed band have stayed true to themselves, their songs and their devoted fan base. As this historic period comes to a close, The Libertines are just as relevant now as they ever have been. 

Joss Bay was the setting for this unique, historic celebration. A historical seaside cove just three miles or so from Margate, usually known to be a surfers paradise. Now, it was home to a new breed of seaborne exiles, both fans and bands alike flocked to the newly formed festival. Highlights included Tim Burgess’ newly signed Average Sex, Mic Righteous, Lock and BlackWaters. They all brought a unique blend of wholesome energy and relevant lyricism to the festival stages.



It was Cabbage who truly provoked minds during their early Sharabang set. The Mossley formed band released Nihilistic Glamour Shots in March to a fine set of reviews. A summer of festival appearances has not tired them, tracks such as ‘Arms of Pleonexia’ and ‘Gibraltar Ape’ still stand out. Having recently created an impressive DIY recording space, the band have another album in the pipeline. Cabbage are always relevant, their Sharabang outing only proved this further!

Reverend & The Makers brought their unique brand of pragmatic indie rock to South Kent, hits such as ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The World’ and ‘Shine The Light’ are anthemic. The small seaside festival was the perfect setting for a blend of guitar music only triggering further excitement. Echo & The Bunnymen to provided a summer-defining backdrop. The famous Liverpool band are legendary in all senses, hits such as ‘The Killing Moon’ and ‘Lips Like Sugar’ brought not only aa sense of nostalgia, but the perfect musical closure to a long, hot summer. 

And so it was onto The Libertines. In colloquial British English, Sharabang defines a type of horse-drawn vehicle or early motor coach. Their classic mix of fast paced guitar and crashing drumbeat was thus very much in antithesis to the true meaning of the word. They began as they did at Reading 2015, a historic headline set, with the anthemic ‘Horrorshow.’ Merging well into ‘The Delaney’ and ‘Barbarian,’ it was clear that the band were on fine form. 



With Margate their new home, Sharabang was a well thought out day of oddities, rarities and red-coat fuelled celebration. Free tattoos, union jack wrist scarves, a puppet show and more all contributed to the creation of a unique atmosphere. It was almost as unique as The Libertines’ set closure, with dancers, fire breathing and pyros providing chaotic company to hits such as ‘I Get Along’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun.’

2004 marked the last break in touring for The Libertines, albeit under an uncertain guise. This time, they press the pause button in much more amicable fashion as they prepare to not only release a fourth album, but open a hotel and recording complex too. Sharabang was a celebration of all that had come before it, proving that The Libertines are just as relevant now as they ever have been.


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