The Libertines, The Hairy Dog, Derby, January 2024


Sunday night saw legendary four-piece The Libertines play Derby venue ‘The Hairy Dog’ as part of a short UK tour of tiny venues. 

Pete Doherty, Carl Barat, John Hassall and Gary Powell will shortly release their first new album in eight years, ‘All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade’ and this ‘Albionay Tour’ is a chance for fans to hear some of the new songs and become reacquainted, the choice of venues meaning it was to be a very intimate reacquaintance.

With tickets for the gig, as with the whole tour, going in seconds along with the intimate nature of the venue it was no surprise the place was packed to capacity before the evening’s first band took to the stage. 

The 76 Club are a five-piece alternative rock band from nearby Derby who for such a young band, in both terms of age and existence took to the stage with surprising confidence and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Their brief set was well received by the crowd, no doubt a band to keep an eye on in the coming years.

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Vona Vella were on next and the five-piece, based around the dual vocals of Izzy Davis and Dan Cunningham, delivered a wonderfully dreamy cinematic little set of sophisticated Indie pop. Last year’s Strap-Originals released debut album ‘Vona Vella’ won the band both great reviews and plaudits from the likes of Paul Heaton and Tim Burgess and watching last night’s performance it was easy to see why. The sound is instantly accessible and the band’s chilled, charming demeanour on stage almost succeeded in creating an atmosphere of calm. Almost, but this was a Libertines gig

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It’s a few minutes past The Libertines due on-stage time and the venue erupts as Pete Doherty pops through the doors to the side of the stage and slips to the Merch stand. Arms aloft as in both an act of surrender and acknowledgement of the crowd he disappears back through the doors. The crowd are baying now.. chants of Gary Powell, Gary Powell, Gary Powell are deafening as The Libertines take to the stage with Gladys, Pete Doherty’s dog. A few quick waves whilst Gladys is led from the stage and it’s straight into ‘Up The Bracket’ followed immediately by ‘Vertigo’.

The band’s stage presence is legendary and the camaraderie, after so many moments of heartbreak for the band is stronger than ever, as is the band’s performance. Every song is delivered in that wonderfully loose Libertine’s way. As if this is the first time they’ve tried to run through whatever song it is, and when they get to the end, well they always seem as surprised as anyone.

New single ‘Run Run Run’ causes chaos…. This is no nostalgia trip, this is The Libertines as deadly serious as ever. ‘Night of the Hunter’ and ‘Shiver’ are sublime and received as passionately as any of the old favourites. But they’re all here as well, ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ but these days sung harmoniously, not venomously as so often in the past almost causes armageddon. ‘Time for Heroes’, which wraps up the show takes us even closer….

And then in what must have been barely enough time for Pete Doherty to strip down to his vest and don a fedora, the boys are back on stage with Gary Powell powering us into the end of the show… ‘Gunga Din’, ‘The Good Old Days’ and then after a full band rendition of what is currently, and quite rightly, every gig’s must-have chant… “Fuck The Tories!’ it’s ‘Don’t Look Back into the Sun’ that brings everything crashing down at the end. Fans are on the stage. There are fans, beer, water, clothes in the air. There’s gonna’ be sore heads and sore limbs in the morning.

As the band take their bows, Pete’s dog Gladys is back on stage to the delight of the crowd. Pete and Carl are trying to get each other into the crowd as they leand precariously into the crowd to shake fans hands. There’s a deafening roar… John Hassall’s gone off the stage into the crowd only to be surfed up by the crowd and security moments later. It’s Gary Powell who’s the last man standing as he follows the band off stage to rapturous applause, screams, chants… everyone knows these nights are special.

The forthcoming Libertines album ‘All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade’ will be released on the 8th of March 2024

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