the libertines live @ webster hall, 10-12-04

So I could dutifully relate the setlist (which has been more or less the same the whole tour), give you the blow-by-blow, and write a proper concert review. But even if I did all of that, it wouldn’t tell you what it was like, what – THEY – are like. The Libertines are the second coming, pure and simple, or at the very least, one of the bands leading the charge in the War Against Suck-Ass Music.

I’d like to explain to you what it is, exactly, that combination of personality and talent and sweat and attitude that makes up this band, and try to puzzle as to why on earth they aren’t as big as, say, the Strokes (oh my god. this is going to be my new goddamn crusade. Dave Matthews doesn’t need my help any more after that abysmal performance at the VFC finale last night). And of course there’s always that “sadly ecstatic that the heroes are news” syndrome, that you don’t really want your favorite band to be everyone’s favorite band because then you can’t turn up at 9:15 and end up three rows from the front (honestly I didn’t deserve that, it was just too easy not to).

The Libertines are this great big blinding flash, they embody the spirits of so many of the bands I love(d). It’s so fucking easy to toss out the Clash comparisons, and I hate doing that to ANY band, let alone this one; but unlike, say, Rancid, they didn’t just mimic the sound, they grasped the essence of what was behind every member of that band, mixed it up, and parcelled it out again. I hate even venturing into this territory because it’s not any kind of straight comparison in any way, shape, or form. Everyone searches for the band that sticks their hand into the big cosmic bowl of influences, pulls it out, and makes it THEIR OWN. So while the Libertines are everything that I love, they are also, in the end, only themselves. It’s not mimicry or derivation, it’s transformation.

It was fun, and loud, and breathless, and the girls were screaming down front, and a gang of boys trying to look so hard rushed the stage three minutes before the band went on and added some necessary testosterone to the whirling, jumping, singing crowd down front. It wasn’t a mosh pit, it was what you do at a punk show, which is jump up and down and sing loudly because you’re so fucking excited and you’ve waited forever for this show and you couldn’t possibly do anything else but what you’re doing at that very moment.

This, my friends, is what the Libertines are. It’s the only possible way I can explain it.

“If you’ve lost your faith in love and music, the end won’t be long…”
The Libertines, The Good Old Days