Live - Dirty Pretty Things @ Slim's | SF

Bang bang, you're still the Libertines.

I guess I understand the name change and all. I mean, maybe if I had a rampant coke user in my band, I'd want a fresh start when he left so I could get on with my musical career.

I was really hoping for a new beginning from Carl Barat and Co. Having been a Lib fan since when Pete Doherty was dry, I was interested in seeing what Barat would pull off with a new project, named after an off-shoot club night in London he started in 2004, as well as the movie of the same name starring Audrey Tatou.

Their Amoeba Records in-store in San Francisco before the show that night (August 9) started off on the wrong foot: staff kept announcing the bands "would be on very shortly!" and 65 minutes later, three of the four members finally rolled on stage. Barat looked eccentric in a tweed-looking vest, fedora, and sunglasses that looked to have been lifted from Elvis's garage sale (yes, he wore them during the acoustic performance - indoors). The feedback sounded wonky, and Barat's voice occasionally got lost in the twang of his partner's guitar. Plus, he looked sort of bored and though I felt for him and his broken arm, which was hoisted by what looked like a large British flag tied around his neck, I left after three songs, frustrated and not impressed.

Needless to say, I even contemplated not going to the show that night in general, but my optimism won and I strolled down to Slim's to observe a newly-energized band on stage, this one caring about the essence of rock and roll. While I admit that their stage presence improved tremendously and drummer Gary Powell killed it on the drum beats, I couldn't help but wonder if Waterloo To Anywhere would have reached the acclaim it did in the UK had it not been for Barat's history of being a press schmooze and the Libertines. I mean, if "I Get Along" is still being covered by the band, I don't know - don't be so quick to say that your new project is your most important thing at hand if you're still playing tracks off a 2002 record by your former band.

That being said, I did enjoy the show, don't get me wrong. Perhaps I have just become way too cynical for my own good.

By Jenn Hernandez

Live - Dirty Pretty Things @ Slim's | SF