Libertines : London W2 The Cherry Jam

Libertines : London W2 The Cherry Jam

The gig's been a mess. But it's also been the most exciting thing we've seen all year...

The arrival of [a]Strokes[/a] and [a]White Stripes[/a]

was meant to herald a new dawn in guitar music. So far, all we’ve got is a handful of half-baked chancers (hats off, Hoggboy, Moco, Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster) who’ve copped the attitude, but who are never going to write a song even if you lock them in a room and wait for the next Ice Age. Thank God then for The Libertines.

Anyone who’s seen them around town, or has been fortunate enough to hear their demos, must already know they’ve got everything. And apart from the hair, the look, the attitude and the songs, they’re brilliant. A four piece from East London, they nab the lyrical dexterity of[a]Smiths[/a], the taut energy of The Jam and the raw melodies of [a]Strokes[/a] and take it from there.

Tonight, they arrive on stage with their backs to the audience, smoking furiously. As soon as they turn round, you can see they’re so wired their eyeballs are almost touching the back wall of the club. From the start, they attack their songs with a careering momentum that leaves most of them skidding totally out of control. Think [a]Beatles[/a] in Hamburg at 4am in the morning.

The two guitarists – Peter (who’s the spit of Julian Casablancas) and Carl (Paul McCartney) – alternate as frontmen, furiously bobbing up and down, falling into each other and collapsing in a screech of feedback. After their second song (the completely amazing ‘Up The Bracket’ – working title ‘On The Racket’), they square up to each other and start pushing each other around. Shirts are ripped, and from here it’s chaos.

With barely a thought for staying in tune or keeping the same tempo, they proceed to demolish the rest of their set. Highlights? Well, upcoming single ‘What A Waster’ is incredible, total London punk rock featuring the immortal lines (“[I]What a divvy/What a fucking div/Talking like a moron/Walking like a stiff