The sound of a Hammond organ pumping out seaside favourites greeted you as you entered the venue this evening, the stage was setup to replicate a promenade complete with "pretty lights" of every colour, I fondly recall driving along Torquay seafront as a child, staring at them in awe, wondering if I should be getting more from them than I did.... Tonight, The Libertines brought their "Tiddely om Pom Pom" tour to Plymouth Pavilions, read on to find out if it was a wet walk on the promenade or a slap up fish 'n chip supper followed by a few jars before retiring to a cheap 'n cheerful guest house....
Tonight's entertainment consisted of three bands, two of which I was familiar with and one that I'd never heard of. Bang on 7pm, to a half filled auditorium, the opening act filed on stage (all nine of them) and introduced themselves.
“Meet Hightown Pirates, your new favourite band” announced Simon Mason, lead singer of the Hackney based multi genre ensemble who effortlessly fuse rock guitar with the delightful tones of a flute, backed by a heady brass section to bring you a melee of music which astounds and entices in equal measure.
They sounded like the result of an orgy in the 70's at New York's Plato’s Retreat with the members of The Style Council and Jethro Tull, it was hard to spot influences amongst the varied musical offerings but that’s never a bad thing.
Their debut album Dry and High is available now and by the sounds of things tonight it is definitely worthy of your investment. Keep up to date with their whereabouts on Facebook
During the intermission, a magician took to the stage with the assistance of a couple of members of the audience to perform some card tricks, his amusing banter and all out cockiness did the trick in raising the levels of excitement in the room for the next act.
The last time I saw RatBoy was at the Grinagog Festival in Torquay, I'm unsure what happened but as a result of their set, a fire alrm was activated and the building was evacuated so I was keen to watch their set without having fiorst stood out in the rain for 20 minutes with a couple of thousand disgruntled fans!
Their music is a fusion of indie rock and rap, think along the lines of "Fight For Your Right" by The Beastie Boys and you're not far from the sonic output of RatBoy. Famous fans include Kendrick Lamar who sampled "Knock Knock Knock" on his song "Lust" which shows that Jordan Cardy is more than just a fly by night artist. Their set was well received amongst the predominantly youthful audience that were clearly up for a great time as the evening wore on.
Come 9pm, the stage was set for the headline act, having witnessed a couple of shows involving Pete Doherty in the past, I know he likes to be fashionably late so it was with anticipation that I stood, waiting for the lights to dim and the action to commence. Ten minutes after the advertised start time, on walked a vicar to introduce the band and on they strode to huge applause, launching straight into "Time for Heroes", the crowd went mad, up went the beers and the front row received a liberal soaking as the mosh pit formed and the evening officially began.
A Libertines show is exactly that, a show, you don't go there to hear their back catalogue replicated exactly as you would hear on a CD, you go there to witness the prowess of two of music's finest songwriters, though they may never reach the heady heights of Lennon & McCartney or Simon & Garfunkel, they have produced some of the most memorable tracks over their tenure which will have formed the basis of many fans early listening habits.
Throughout the set, you caught glimpses of the genius that is the partnership of Doherty and Barat, at times, they seemed to lose their way with both front-men noodling away on their respective instruments whilst John Hassall and Gary Powell stood by waiting to offer their services on the next track.
Doherty looked in good spirits and it was great to see him sharing the microphone with Barat, ensuring plenty of photo opportunities for the front row.
After 24 strong set, the band said their farewells and left the stage for the final time. I chatted to many fans after the show and they were so glad that the band had reformed as, like many folk, they weren't introduced to their music until after they had spilt up.
I think it was fair to say that the early material was best received, offerings such as "Boys in the Band", "Can't Stand Me Now" and "What Katie Did" receiving the best reception during the evening though it was the final three tracks of the encore that did it for me, to hear "Up the Bracket", "What A Waster" and "Don't Look Back Into the Sun" back to back was a joy to behold and created a lasting memory that I will go on to savour for many years to come.
Time for Heroes
Heart of the Matter
Boys in the Band
Campaign of Hate
You're My Waterloo
Can't Stand Me Now
Death on the Stairs
Fame and Fortune
What Katie Did
Tell the King
The Good Old Days
Music When the Lights Go Out
The Boy Looked at Johnny
Up the Bracket
What A Waster
Don't Look Back Into the Sun
Their new album Anthems for Doomed Youth is available now via the website
To see ALL of the photographs taken at the show, please click on the links below;
Review by Steve Muscutt
Photography by Rhodri Cooper