Live Review: The Libertines, Capital FM Arena (25/01/2016)

The Libertines continued their glorious return to the top of the British music scene since their reformation last year as they continued their arena tour at the Motorpoint Arena. A performance that needed no build-up still gained strong support from Reverend and the Makers and Nottingham’s finest, Sleaford Mods.

There was an excitement in the air that can only be achieved from the return of a band of this stature. It became clearly visible in the crowd that this was a moment many fans had waited for since the middle of the last decade. This made for a bold decision for the band to open on a song from Anthems for Doomed Youth in ‘Barbarians’. However, it sent a clear message that this isn’t a band living off former glories as they reeled out a selection of the finest songs from their third album, which can be considered to be of the same quality as the pair which made their name.

Although there was still a large collection of the songs that made a Libertines reunion so widely anticipated. This combination of the old and new was perfectly summarised by the smooth transition between ‘The Milkman’s Horse’ and the classic ‘What Katie Did’, two slower songs both boasting almost haunting hooks. Quickly following this was the highly emotive ‘You’re My Waterloo’, a song that highlights the much publicised tumultuous relationship between Barat and Doherty. The two frontmen seemed closer than ever on stage managing to attain that chemistry which has made them one of the liveliest and entertaining British acts. However at times they were almost in danger of being outshined by the extremely popular drummer Gary Powell whose solos were greatly appreciated by the admiring crowd.

“The Libertines continued their glorious return to the top of the British music scene”

There was no chance of the length of the set causing it to drag through the middle as this section included one of the band’s greatest anthems in ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ which got the crowd to become rowdier than you would usually expect at an arena venue. This energy continued right until the end of the set and left the crowd chanting for more. They were not disappointed as the three song encore again raised the level on a sensational gig. The trio of ‘Up the Bracket’, ‘What a Waster’ and ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun’ provided a fitting end to a great performance. Especially the last song with an extended intro which contained a changing montage of British icons being played in the background. If The Libertines continue their resurgence like this, then there is no doubt that one day they will be mentioned along with them.

Jack Smiddy

Image: Aurelien Guichard via Flickr

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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