The Libertines make their first appearance in the North East of England since their 2014 reunion to open the second weekend of the ‘Live From Times Square’ outdoor concert series in Newcastle.
The festival is the brainchild of SSD concerts, who this weekend will welcome amongst others the Manic Street Preachers, Hacienda Classical and the Beach Boys icon Brian Wilson to the heart of Newcastle city centre.
Following several sold out shows in the city, a support tour with The Amazons as well as airplay on BBC Radio 1 local lads The Pale White kick off the proceedings early on as the festival punters usher their way on to the site.
The band is quickly followed by Guilford based outfit Blackwaters. The quartet delivers an emphatic set which certainly grabs your attention, whilst at the same time conjuring up images of classic 70’s punk rock groups like The Clash and The Sex Pistols and are definitely one to watch out for.
Almost a year to the day since their last appearance in Times Square, Teesside art rockers Maximo Park are the main support this evening. The band delivers a perfectly well-balanced set of old favourites which are interspersed between tracks from their latest album Risk To Exist.
Classics like “Books From Boxes”, “Our Velocity” and “Girls Who Play Guitars” are given a lively response and sit side by side some of Maximo Park’s more recent material like “Get High (No I Don’t) and “The Hero”. The latter of which adds a funky disco touch to the proceedings.
Maximo Park closes out their set with fan favourite “Apply Some Pressure”, which gets the Times Square crowd fired up and leaves them more than warmed up for the mighty Libertines.
During the build up to the headliners, The White Stripe’s “Seven Nation Army” resonates over the PA system around Times Square. The crowd now in a party spirit sing along in unison with chants of ‘Oh Jeremy Corbyn’. This being one of the several times throughout the course of the evening the audience shows their admiration for the Labour Party leader.
During the run up to the General Election, Corbyn was invited to deliver a speech at the start of a Libertines concert in Prenton Park.
Following their reformation, The Libertines released their third studio album Anthems for Doomed Youth back in 2015. Subsequently, the band have been touring this record with a string of high profile festival dates and an arena tour in between working their respective solo projects.
Pete Doherty, in particular, is no stranger to the North East of England, having been born and raised in nearby Hexham, tonight’s show is a homecoming of sorts. As a result, the atmosphere inside of Times Square is electric as The Libertines takes to the stage.
The group immediately launches into “Time For Heroes” from their debut album Up The Bracket and the band’s much loved early B-side “The Delaney”.
Although they might have had their differences in the past, all that appears to be water under the bridge. There is a real visible closeness and great stage chemistry between Pete and Carl this evening. The pair is often found huddled around the same microphone centre stage whilst belting out their timeless indie hits in unison.
Gary Powell and John Hassall on drums and bass respectively hold down a fierce rhythm throughout which is so prominent you can actually feel it.
As the fans would want and expect, the show is packed full of Libertines anthems including the likes of “Can’t Stand Me Now”, “What Katie Did” and show closer “Don’t Look Back Into The Sun”. Each of which results in a mass sing along with many of the fans at the front of the stage perched upon the shoulders of their friends or family, singing every word back to Barat, Doherty and company on stage.
The Libertines may well have taken 14 years to return to Tyneside, but they were definitely worth the wait. One of the UK’s favourite garage rock band is back and better than ever, let’s just hope it doesn’t take so long for their return to the North East.
Event Date: 03-Aug-2017
Source: National Rock Review