After a convoluted US debut at Coachella that saw the band's set cut short due to technical problems on the first day of the festival then recouping the next day for a late day set buttressed up against Sonic Youth in their finest form, the band played the famed CBGB on Wednesday in Manhattan's lower east side. CB's rarely sees the kind of crowd that gathered on this evening for the rough neck British quartet. Their rock is truly reminiscent of the stuff that made the Bowery shrine famous, but now the venue plays host to mostly hardcore and metal bands, with the exception of special occasions such as this. So crowded you couldn't spill your drink without hitting an editor or industry wonk who littered the place. With that said, The Libertines completely delivered the goods, be it a short 35 minute set which included cranking versions of "Vertigo," "What a Waster," and the title track, "Up The Bracket," from the band's debut set produced by the one and only Mick Jones.
The chaotic duo of Carl Barat and Pete Doherty on guitars and vocals keep the crowd revved up jumping from one side of the stage to other throughout the set, while anchored by a rhythm section that features the air tight drum work of Gary Powell. The Libertines are often said to be the British equivalent of The Strokes and solely listening to both records you might think so, but when matching up their respective live performances, the word "equivalent" doesn't come to mind. While The Strokes seem to keep everything reeled in and under control guided by the passive aggressive vocal styling of front man Julian Casablancas, Barat and Doherty take no prisoners delivering harmonies with reckless abandon. Ending abruptly, catching the crowd a bit off guard, the band kept it short and sweaty.
The Libertines will be in the New York area over the weekend performing shows at Luxx in Brooklyn on Friday and at the Bowery Ballroom on Monday.
Source: Paul Caruso (guest reviewer)