As you may have noticed from the slightly inactive Live Music category here at All-Noise, I’ve not been getting to much gigs recently. One of the (many) downsides to living in Leicester is that a lot of the ‘bigger’ bands tend to choose Nottingham’s Rock City to tick the East Midlands box of their UK tour. Just look at the gigs on the schedule for Rock City (www.rock-city.co.uk/gig-guide) compared with Leicester’s O2 Academy (www.o2academyleicester.co.uk) to see what I mean!
Occasionally, though, Leicester manages to somehow attract a big name – and tonight that big name was Peter Doherty. OK, the days when he was a bona fide A-list rock star have been and gone, but as tonight’s gig demonstrated, his is a unique talent that doesn’t come around very often.
Tonight’s gig was much like Babyshambles’ output as a whole: pretty average for the most part but with occasional moments of absolute brilliance. Opening with ‘Delivery’ and closing with the always awesome ‘Fuck Forever’, an at times ramshackle and shambolic gig was bookended with two true moments of quality.
In between we got random Irish folk songs, a brief Joy Division tangent, a confusing conversation with a member of the audience, a rollicking ‘Killamangiro’, a Ramones cover, an amazing rendition of The Libertines’ ‘Time Fore Heroes’ and a whole lot of showmanship from Pete.
As always with Pete, the debate is whether the brief flashes of genius are worth the wait. Tonight they definitely were, and when Pete is on this kind of nonchalantly charismatic form he’s as engaging and entertaining as any other rock frontman of the past decade. Unfortunately, he too often gets lost in a fog of rambling and incoherence. But that, too, is part of the charm of Peter Doherty.
I arrived at the O2 at about half 8 so I only saw about 10 minutes of support act Loveless. From what I heard though, they sound exactly like you’d expect a band named after a My Bloody Valentine album – big Wall of Sound and lots of reverb. They sound a bit like The Horrors and definitely warrant a closer listen.