Sunday 23 October 2016



Open with Ronnie Drew and close with Shane MacGowan - that's how the Libertines do things in Ireland. Why, exactly? Who knows?

But for some reason, having initially shuffled on to the strains of Molly Malone, Pete Doherty and his men decided to take their final bow with a dishevelled Pogue by their side.

He didn't do anything. In fact, MacGowan just asked us how we were. If we're to believe Doherty, the bloke even dozed off halfway through the gig. Lucky him.

One of the most talked-about (overrated) groups in British rock history, a reformed Libertines finally release a third album in September (their first since 2004). Tonight, Dublin is granted a glimpse of a garage rock four-piece from London that got caught up in their own hype.

Why did they break up in the first place? Front men Carl Barat and Pete Doherty fell out - that's it. Drug addiction; in-house fighting; over-romanticised accounts on the odyssey of Barat and Doherty's love - we've heard it all. The truth is that the music is the least interesting part.

It's not that the Libertines aren't very good; it's that they can barely operate their own instruments, let alone play with each other. It's all sloppy fretwork, monotonous chord patterns and lairy, half-arsed vocals.

There's a difference between garage rock and out of tune. Time was, Barat and Doherty (a pair of rock 'n' roll chancers) couldn't even share a stage - now, they're sharing microphones.

True, there's chemistry between these boys, but when a botched marriage proposal from one fan to another - orchestrated by Doherty - is the highlight of a gig, you're in trouble.

An incoherent and occasionally shambolic display, the Libertines resemble a cocky, inexperienced college band. They murder the harmonica.

They make a balls of the stronger material (Can't Stand Me Now, What Became of the Likely Lads). They embrace hideous bouts of feedback. And, they behave like children afterwards, trashing their gear and equipment. Deluded? You betcha. HHIII

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