Carl Barat & Peter Doherty: Libertines heroes dazzle under 1001 candles

Tonight at Hackney Empire, Peter Doherty and Carl Barat played a magical set to a crowd chasing all the merriment of a night-long bop along memory lane.

The Empire, an old music hall, seems the perfect vessel for the transportation through the back catalogue of old favourites from this pair of likely lads.

Pete ‘n Carl stand as the icons of a golden period in British music, when Indie was on the cusp of a magnificent boom, and their fans were on the edge of adolescence and adulthood. 

Originating in Tokyo earlier this year, the brains behind the SOMEWHERE event series brought their beautiful vision to London for a debut outing, and what a debut it was.

Lit up by 1001 candles, the two maverick performers invited fans aboard the good ship Albion through hits Can’t Stand Me Now’, ‘Time For Heroes’, ‘Death On The Stairs’ and ‘You’re My Waterloo’ following a spirited set from Japanese artist Mineta, who set the tone with his powerful acoustic set.

With a string quartet and choir behind Pete ‘n Carl, this felt like a version of The Libertines that they had always wished for. The dawning of The Strokes is what set the pace and demanded they plugged in and ramped up the RPM in their early noughties pomp, but it is within this bracket that the real essence of their early demos comes to the fore.

With the beautiful backdrop of the candles, Carl flickered between piano and guitar, as Pete’s charm took center stage in his Jack Sparrow-esque swagger.

Doherty’s recent Puta Madres side project has shown glimpses of his brilliance, but he is not the full-bodied performer he is with his right hand man by his side.

Whilst there was a host of old tracks from The Libertines, Carl played a brand new song, and Pete offered what he called a “Cha-Cha-Cha” rendition of ‘What A Waster’.

The crowd was hooked, adoring the rockers that have always operated with a sense of heartbreak and romanticism. Even Pete’s husky came onstage to say hello to what was the biggest cheer on the night.

If tonight is a marker of what is to come from The Libertines’ tour later this year, then fans up and down the country will be left with memories of their best gig of the year.