THE Libertines biggest ever gig comes next weekend in Hyde Park, but there was something far more fitting about their comeback gig occurring in the Barrowland. This was the band in sweaty, ramshackle form and every gesture generated hysteria, to the extent a stage invader simply stopped in awe of Doherty before being sent back into the throng. That adulation continued for the duration of a lengthy, nostalgia-heavy set that started with the abrasive Horrorshow and ticked off nearly every track from both their albums. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the biggest early roar of the night occurred the first time the quartet's co-front-men, Carl Barat and Pete Doherty went face to face. Their soap opera bromance fuelled both creativity and decline, but here good spirits abounded, including Doherty trying to return a lost mobile phone to a crowd member.
There was no bells and whistles, and the only indulgence was the band occasionally being served drinks by a young woman onstage. As for the songs, the scrappy tunes of record were presented as pint-throwing sing-a-long fodder, yet the chaotic vibe that lifted the Libertines above landfill indie thankfully remained. Boys In The Band and Campaign of Hate both sounded brawny while the guitar pop alchemy of Don't Look Back Into The Sun, The Boy Looked At Johnny's knees-up tone and a melancholy Music When The Lights Go Out stood out most, overcoming a sometimes messy sound mix.
A closing run brought the exuberant punk of I Get Along, but the memory that will most remain was Barat and Doherty smiling away at each other on the closing Tell The King. They were just mates in a band again, and all seemed right for now.