Saturday, 10 May 2008

Lock me up with Doherty

Pete Doherty and Babyshambles are playing a special comeback gig to celebrate his release from jail at one of my favourite music venues, the Kentish Town Forum, on Tuesday. There are still tickets available at the time of writing, which at £22.50 are a fair bit cheaper than the last London gig Doherty did at Wembley Stadium towards the end of last year. Doherty off the smack and crack is one of the best live performers around (he’s not too bad on it either, though a mite less reliable), so catch him while he's straight. Be warned, though, if you’re over 21: his audience is one of the youngest around and the mosh pit will be full of 14-year-olds.

I’m going to have to miss the gig myself as I’m pre-booked to be blindfolded and tied up in a wheelchair that evening as part of the Battersea Arts Centre’s Burst season. Later, I’m mixing it with the New York performance weirdo Ann Liv Young (sorry, Ann, but the performance is a bit, well, weird) in her ‘high energy explosion of pop songs, movement and mess’. Part of it involves her smearing her naked self with chocolate (or is it ketchup? I forget). The Burst programme says it’s ‘a powerful, open honesty’; my daughter insists it’s soft porn. I’m easy either way.

I’m paying my political dues before my quick Burst of debauchery (there’s a month of it to come, with A Trashy Multi-Artform Bingo Blowout Party at the old town hall that is the Battersea Arts Centre tonight) by turning out for the ‘1968 and all that’ event at London’s Conway Hall today. And tomorrow I’ve got to be in Morden by 8am for the ‘6n6’ swim and run duathlon. Someone should have locked me up with Pete Doherty.


Fiona said...

'blindfolded and tied up in a wheelchair'

You're willingly putting yourself through what would be my worst nightmare, well the wheelchair bit anyway.

Steve Platt said...

I find it surprising how many people have told me they wouldn't dare do this. Maybe I'm too trusting but I have no fear that the company will abuse my trust in them - and since I will be untied and unblindfolded later, I will only toying with the reality of having no sight and no independent mobility. I'm far more worried about having to travel south of the river - a Tory borough and off the tube map to boot ...

J said...

This was the review of Babyshambles - I like the bit that mentions "middle aged fans" - they must have seen me in the audience! Shame you couldn't come, it was pretty wild!

Review: Babyshambles

Pete storms prison comeback gig

14 May 2008 - Set in the theatrical auditorium of the Forum in Kentish Town, hoards of Pete Doherty lovers gathered to see their idol play with his fellow Babyshambles band-mates for his first gig since leaving prison on 6 May.

The crowd was a melting pot of indie kids, lads, admiring girls, a heap of general music fans with a smattering of middle-aged fans thrown in too.

With the usual buzz in the air of whether Doherty will actually turn up, when the band finally took to the stage they were greeted with a rapturous response from adoring fans.

Doherty’s opening words were a slightly slurred: “Thanks for all your support, especially those of you who wrote a little letter in the last month.”

Then straight into Pipedown to kick start and it went down a storm with the crowd surging and singing along with Pete’s every word.

Three songs in and a little rusty since being incarcerated in Wormwood Scrubs prison, Doherty was vocal about momentarily forgetting Delivery’s starting chords.

In his trademark grey suit, white shirt teamed with skinny tie, braces and a trilby, Doherty looked healthier than his former self.

Throughout the set they tried out three new songs which went down well alongside hits like Kilimanjaro and Carry On Up The Morning.

Mid-set the band were joined by The Pogues’ Shane MacGowan. With drink in hand, MacGowan’s raspy voice complimented the collaboration on the Irish folk classic Dirty Old Town by Ewan MacColl.

Other treats included a Ska inflected cover of Money In My Pocket by the reggae artist Dennis Brown, which Pete dedicated to his son.

They also cracked out a cover of the Squeeze track Cool For Cats which started well and then diminished into a somewhat shambolic effort but this did not matter as it fused with another hit, Side Of The Road.

Much to the security’s dismay Doherty continued to break laws, this time by lighting up a cigarette which was soon retrieved by a guard. With a chorus of boos resounding, he merely lit it up again.

For ten minutes of the encore the band seemed to lose their way, lacking focus, with some fans’ faces highlighting the sense of dissatisfaction that I was feeling.

But the finale F**k Forever was a frenzy of moshing, beer spillage, singing and stage invaders, including one fan who made it three times onto the stage over the course of the gig.

After the gig a fan said: "He was the best thing there and the best thing there ever will be. The prison was the best thing for him, he came out and has just done the best gig he's ever done."