CONCERT REVIEW : The Libertines, The Usher Hall Edinburgh 1st December 2021

The Likely Lads are back in town with storming show

Pete Doherty and Co are back with a bang at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall for a show to warm the coldest of heart cockles, and put a big smile on all those brave souls who defied the wintry Edinburgh weather to come and see them live.

You never know what to expect at a Libertines gig.  It can range from car crash and chaos to a musical masterpiece, but tonight the boys were in scintillating form, and had the crowd in raptures from the outset.  Opening with What a Waster, the set-list covered all bases, with all the big hitters thrown in and a few more album tracks included for good measure.

The Libertines are Pete Doherty on guitars and vocals, Carl Barat on guitars and vocals, Gary Powell on drums and John Hassall on bass guitar.  Formed in 1997 in London, the band were part of the ‘garage rock revival’ and influenced by the likes of The Jam, The Clash and The Smiths.  They gained publicity due to the off-stage antics of Doherty with his reported drug issue, which led to a conflict of interest with Barat and ultimately the demise of the band in 2004.  There have been a couple of reunion gigs or small tours in the past few years but now they are back with a bang and sounding as good as ever.

Up The Bracket, Gunga Din, What Kate Did and Can’t Stand Me Now, all the big tunes were here and played as a unit with a new found intensity which the crowd thrived on, each song greeted with a roar from the crowd that Murrayfield would be proud of.

Heart of the Matter, What Became of the Likely Lads and The Good Old Days closed the first act as the band left the stage for a five-minute breather, before returning shortly after for a mammoth seven track encore.  The Saga, The Delaney and Tell the King opened the second set before a barnstorming Don’t Look Back Into the Sun and Time For Heroes closed the show.

The Libertines are back to their brilliant best, Doherty has piled on a pound or two since his last solo gigs, but none the less he still has what it takes on vocals and guitar, himself and Barat are a formidable pair and lead the line perfectly.  They are bang on form and the old numbers still sound great live, as the packed Edinburgh crowd will confirm.  A terrific night for fans of indie guitar music, and always an event to see when Barat and Doherty are in town.

Photographs & Review by Stephen Wilson