Live Review: The Libertines – O2 Academy, Birmingham 29.11.2021 plus gallery

As the snow is still melting from the day before, there’s an understandably small queue outside the o2 Academy in Birmingham this brisk Monday night. The venue slowly fills with excited faces ready for an interesting line up. Vona Vella, who are signed to Pete Doherty’s record label are first up and they are sure to be the calm before the storm. Whilst they have a very different sound to the Indie Rock main act, the music does seem to fit with the music playing in between acts. The husky yet harmonic voices of the duo match perfectly and they seem to be a hit with the crowd who are making their way in and warming up. Our next act, The Dead Freights are gradually making their way towards the sound that we know The Libertines for; with influences pulled from every direction these guys are definitely making their own waves.

More vintage music is played during our wait for Pete Doherty & co. but the crowd seem to be feeling it. A sense of anticipation fills the room and it seems the crowd are getting restless as thousands of voices chant ‘ooh, ahh, baby’ to fill the room. Moments later we are bless with The Libertines themselves. Beer throwing starts from the first note and hands don’t leave the air for the first few songs; anyone in the middle of this rowdy crowd has no choice but to jump when everyone else decides it time. As the room starts to warm, it doesn’t take long for Pete to lose his Libertines Christmas jumper & beanie (which were extremely temping at the merch stand). There is a slight loss in the vocals during the show which occasionally makes it hard to decipher some of the songs if you’re unfamiliar with their back catalogue but this doesn’t seem to stop most people.

‘Boys in the Band’ is the first fan favourite, followed shortly by ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ & ‘What Became of the Likely Lads’ it’s understandable that the crowd starts to lose momentum. There’s a small sense of relief as ‘Gunga Din’ starts to play, giving everyone a chance to catch their breath. ‘What Katie Did’ is arguably the loudest the crowd has been so far this evening; it feels as though there’s not a single person in the room who doesn’t know this song and what an atmosphere it makes. It’s time for The Libertines to take a small breather as they talk to the crowd, naming Brummy people and things causing a humorous divide amongst the audience.

It appears I was the only one who didn’t get the memo to pack my air guitar and practice my dad dancing as this these were both in abundance this evening, from both the drunk and the sober sides of these gig goers. ‘Music When The Lights Go Out’ is another slow song but this time, the crowd are going wild for it. It’s the loudest they’ve been all night in fact and it’s a great opportunity to hear just what The Libertines have to offer as they clearly have the idea, as well as all the gear. People are taking this as an opportunity to leave the crowd and cool down and, as an outsider with my coat on, it’s a shock to see people with sweat dripping off their noses. A few songs later and we’re waiting for what feels like an eternity for the lads to rejoin the stage and give us the encore we’ve been waiting for.

People are just about to give up as the 4 piece casually walk back out. ‘The Delaney’ brings everyone’s attention running back to the stage and we’re then treated to ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’. It’s hard to tell which was more popular; ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ or ‘Don’t Look Back’ as both took the excitement in the room to a new level but if there was one thing that was taken away from this night it’s that Indie Rock definitely isn’t dead.

Previous Live Review: Contrapact / H.O.P.E.? / Nyx Division - Star Theater, Portland, OR, 27.11.2021
Next Live Review: Mouth Culture / Lauren Hoyle - The Victoria, Birmingham 30.11.2021

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