The hottest ticket in town had to be The Libertines playing the compact and frankly undersized venue Clwb Ifor Bach. Could probably have sold it out ten times over and demand would still have been feverish. With doors being delayed by a good ninety minutes the queue snaking down Womanby Street was like the entrance to Wonkas factory as people clutched their golden tickets. The band has been loyal to Cardiff with several shows in the city over the last few years and then with a new album set for delivery towards the end of March it was time for the boys in the band to regroup and test out some of the new songs on audiences around the country and what better way than in small grassroots venues that would be packed to the rafters and boy was Clwb Ifor packed.

Arriving on stage fashionably late The fab four waste no time in getting on with business. It’s a work through ‘Up The Bracket’ and ‘Vertigo’ to warm things up and loosen the voices of the semi-inebriated audience who were all looking to make the best of this opportunity to catch the band this close and personal. The recent single ‘Run Run Run’ was the first song off the new album to be aired and the masses were already throwing themselves around and singing along like it had been in the set for years. it wasn’t long before a couple of other new songs were played in the shape of ‘Night Of The Hunter’ and ‘Shiver’ with the former being the chance to grab an early breather as the wall I found myself pressed against was actually perspiring I swear it and on Stage right Pete was still wearing his Crombie buttoned up and a hat with a rather fetching Rosary bead wrapped around his forehead for dramatic effect no doubt not something I can see catching on but hey, you never know. Pete and Carl were their usual busy selves on stage interacting as they took the mic for their lines like a well-oiled machine and as the set developed the audience began to fall over itself at the lip of the low stage. There were calls for people to take a step back which fell on deaf ears and instead whilst nobody was injured the security did a decent job in refreshing the audience with bottles of cold water.

The middle of the set eased back with ‘Shiver’ from the new album before a rousing sing-a-long of ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘What Kate Did’ before the cool swagger of ‘Mustang’ played out the last of the new songs. It was heads down and time to get busy before the curfew was ignored and ‘Death On The Stairs’ lit a torch under a magnificent run through ‘Time For Heroes’ and the main set was done.

A swift towel down and it was ‘Gunga Din which happens to be my favourite song off the last album before ‘The Good Old Days’ loosened the audience up for one last hurrah of an epic ‘Don’t Look Back Into The Sun’ and this sweaty mess was over and we could all wander out into the cool January night and some much-needed oxygen. I’d almost forgotten what it was like to go to a sold-out sweaty show by a big band in a small club and it was indeed one of those nights where you’re grateful to have discovered this thing we all love called Rock n Roll because The Libertines are one of the best if not the best live band the United Kingdom has produced in decades and these sweaty gigs are where they shine brightest. It’s their natural habitat From the magnificent rhythm section of Gary Powell and John Hassall who never drop a note and pour petrol on the fire in the engine room of The Libertines that enables Carl Barât and Peter Doherty to weave their merry notes like they are two sides of the same person yet very different in their delivery and approach and that’s where the magic of nights like this lies. A Magnificent night of music pure and simple.

Now then, Can we do this all again sometime it was a blast and I’m sure every single person who is lucky enough to attend one of these shows will testify just how bloody good The Libertines are. OK, maybe bigger venues so more people can witness how damn good a night out should be.

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Author: Dom Daley

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