LIVE REVIEW: The Libertines, Dead Freights, Vona Vella, O2 Forum Kentish Town, London, 25/02/2022
The Libertines brought out a diverse crowd of fans of all ages to their show at O2 Forum Kentish Town for their Giddy Up A Ding-Dong tour. They had two support acts to accompany them on these long-awaited rescheduled dates.
The first act Vona Vella from Leicestershire started with their unique style of indie-pop. Although the room had only just started to fill-up and people were trickling in throughout their set, the reception from what audience was there was positive. Presumably, they were impressed with the vocal harmonies of Daniel Cunningham and Izzy Davis. Perfectly complementing each other for 30 mins of blissful guitar music with a poppy twist. 8/10
Next up was Southampton’s indie post-punk rockers, Dead Freights. They hit the stage with high energy that intensified with each song, beginning with new single, Hey Hatred. By this time the crowd was much larger and they took well to the spat-out lyrics of singer Charlie James as he strutted his way through the Gary Powell produced track. Dead Freights are actually signed to Powell’s label and it’s obvious The Libertines drummer knows a good thing when he sees it, or hears it in this case.
Dead Freights did a wonderful job of warming up the crowd and played songs like Girlfriend Experience and the strangely conflicted song Bat Man. The song was written after James was attacked one night by a man with a baseball bat who kept saying “I’m Batman.” It uses the fun theme song for the original Batman TV series but is somehow a hard-hitting punk track all at the same time. It may sound like an odd combination, but it works. 9/10
The crowd cheered as Pete Doherty came out on stage in what appeared to be a dressing gown which he quickly shed and picked up his guitar. Although Doherty’s health has been not the best, he sure put in a performance to remember. Opening the set with some early songs What a Waster and Up The Bracket they quickly worked their way through some of their well-loved tracks.
Giving the crowd what they desired included The Ha Ha Wall and What Katie Did from their self-titled album. Fans who were singing and dancing along got a brief moment to take a breath as Carl Barât got on the keys for You’re My Waterloo, Doherty accompanied him on an acoustic. The moment passed quickly though as they ripped into Boys In The Band.
The band concentrated on performing the music and could have done with communicating with the crowd more but they played with amazing rigour. Powell shines through as the backbone of the band his talent cannot be questioned and was emphasised by amazing drum solos. Neither in that case, can bassist John Hassall. Together they are as legendary as we remember from years gone by.
Other highlights of the set included singles such as Can’t stand me now, What Became of the Likely Lads, and The Good Old Days which closed out the set before the obligatory encore. The encore ended with Time for Heroes and just like that a glorious night was all over – too soon.
Written by: Cat Wiltshire