Caird Hall, Dundee 06.12.19
With the Xmas Party season underway in Dundee, the streets and bars were packed, but the party would be in a much larger venue than normal, the Caird Hall. A historic venue that has seen a great number of acts throughout the past 50yrs and can be a challenge not only to fill, but to nurture an atmosphere. The Libertines hit Dundee, the third date on their current sold out tour of the UK. The crowd would make sure any shortfall on the bands performance would be more than compensated by their enthusiasm. To get the evening off to a great start, the support slots were Retro Video Club from Edinburgh and Dundee Ex-pat Kieren Webster from The View with his new project band Web.
Retro Video Club had a few technical issues as they kicked off their set but soon got into the flow. The indie rockers looked comfortable on the big stage and rightly so as they opened with the tuneful “Psycho”. Moving up a gear the tight punchy “3AM” demonstrate the band’s exuberance and energy. It’s a shame the hall is not at capacity to hear the indie rockers rip through their set. Hoping to capitalise on this tour, the band certainly deserve to use this to springboard onto bigger things. “Chemistry” and “Addicted” keep the crowd going before the band closed out with “Night In”. After a great performance in Dundee, I’m sure Retro Video Club will relish the two sell out nights in Glasgow at the iconic Barrowlands.
It’s been a while since Kieren Webster has graced the Caird Hall stage and he got a welcome return. As the crowd numbers steadily increased in anticipation, there was a few spirited members in the crowd spurring on the former View bassist. More accustomed to acoustic gigs these days, Kieren has put together a three piece project called Web. With no material on general release, the majority of the crowd were hearing the songs for the first time. “Dark Before the Dawn” was the first song followed by “P.O.D”. The crowd were warming to Kieren’s new material and the Dundonian banter did help between songs. The standout track for me was “Haze”. There will be some releases planned for next year but meantime, the crowd were always waiting for songs from The View’s back catalogue and “Shock Horror” saw the arms raised as well as the odd beer being thrown. The final song of the night was “Superstar Tradesman” and had a great response from the half filled venue. With most of the crowd mouthing the words, the ever popular local hero left the stage having acquitted himself. Slightly ramshackle at times, but that’s the beauty of it.
The advertised slot of 9pm came and went, did we really expect anything less. The band don’t play by the rules and in this day of gigs by appointment, it’s actually refreshing not to have everything run on time! With the room filled to capacity, the barrier was bursting in anticipation. It got too much for two guys though as a brawl started and saw security remove the two members of the audience before the band kicked off! With that two minutes of drama over, the band breezed on and the crowd let out a huge roar. The Libertines may have had the ramshackle brilliance down to a T but their honed performance now, leaves those chaotic days behind. Suited and booted (more Oxfam than Hugo Boss), Pete Doherty and Carl Barât strode out first, raising arms in acknowledgement as a hail of plastic beer glasses were thrown in appreciation. This would continue throughout the night! It was a slightly low key start with “Delaney” from 2002 and the ironic lyrics “maybe maybe I just don’t care” but it’s obvious the band were loving it. The energy alone from drummer Gary Powell was enough to carry the entire band. The chemistry is still there between Pete and Carl and they playfully swap singing roles throughout and shared the microphone on many occasions. Bassist John Hassall stayed rooted to the spot for the majority of the set but together with Gary, provided a solid platform to allow the pair of “Likely Lads” to entertain to audience. The backdrop had images of the four band members projected larger than life in black and white and provided an artistic feel to the show. There was not much interaction between the band and the audience but the few times Pete did shout out a thanks to Dundee for the support through the years, it was met with rousing applause. “Fame and Fortune” and “Boys in the Band” were an early highlight in the set before Carl took his place at the piano for a poignant performance of “Waterloo”. The next highlight of the set was “Can’t Stand Me Now” and there was a good number of the crowd up on shoulders, arms raised and singing along. The song finished Pete launched his mouth organ into the crowd. The laughter backing track on “Ha Ha Wall” was well done as the loud cackling drowned out the music at times. As Carl sat back down at the piano for what seemed an eternity, the rest of the band crowded round and had a singalong at a mic above the piano. “Dead For Love” did bring the mood down but it wasn’t long before the evening was back on track with “Up the Bracket”, “What Became of The Likely Lads” and the main set closed out with “Time for Heroes”. There was a brief interlude before the band returned to play a well deserved encore.
“Music When the Lights Go Out” was followed on with “What Katie Did” and as the performance came to an end, there was no one sneaking away from this Xmas Party early. It’s been a rock n roll rollercoaster for 22yrs and the fresh faced cheeky chaps from Camden have matured but still manage to make the crowd feel the halcyon days of those early years.
The tour continues until 22nd December.