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Babyshambles/The Courteeners/Beggars: Apollo, Manchester, Sunday, February 10
It’s the old faithful Vs the new challengers: Round One…
How the hell do you follow that, then? Well, a year ago Babyshambles would probably have just sparked up the crackpipe and turned the tourbus around. Tonight, however, they raise their game accordingly, firing through the fantastic pop moments of ‘Shotters Nation’ with panache and aplomb. It seems the energised Pete who wowed the arenas last year is here to stay – for now at least. Pirouetting like a Tasmanian devil during ‘Baddie’s Boogie’ and leading the venue through
a – gasp – note-perfect ‘UnBiloTitled’. It’s notable, however, that aside from the odd stray pint threatening the hatstands and lampshades that litter the stage, these days drama is generally conspicuous in its absence: there’s no surprise guests, no inter-band scuffles, no tears in the front row – not even a meandering skiffle jam. Just a set of spasmodically brilliant indie-rock tunes played with the efficiency you’d expect of seasoned session players. All of which begs two important questions: are Babyshambles becoming a conventional indie outfit? And do we actually prefer it this way? Death and glory may be “one and the same” – but here’s hoping Pete’s sobriety and relevance are too.
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