The Libertines

The Libertines created a shift in popular music culture that deeply resonated with the youth of the early 2000’s, entangled in aggression, drugs, freedom and spirit.

I can remember a friend of mine introducing me to their seminal debut ‘Up The Bracket’, produced by the legendary co-founder of The Clash, Mick Jones, which stoked a visceral feeling in my gut like nothing before or since in many ways.

It was just fucking raw, unapologetic chaos of a sound that reignited the alternative scene in more ways than just music.

That album ultimately paved the way for all ‘indie’ bands, especially in the UK, to have the freedom to recreate that ‘rock n roll’ style that had been eluding the scene for many years. It still sounds as fresh as it did when it was released in 2002 and it has grown organically to new generations of music lovers.

If you weren’t fully immersed in the cause, then you were never going to get it, but for those that did, it created a huge sense of belonging and that feeling has carried the band’s spirit through to the present day.

Many reference The Strokes as being the first wave of the garage rock revival but that was America man, this was unashamedly a lyrical passionate nod to British culture, romantic poetry and violence, it was destined to break hearts.

From my own perspective at that time as a fourteen year old, they were the coolest fucking thing around, you felt that they were your band, your people, your energy and those songs made you stomp around and want to break the floor you were standing on.

Before that record, I frequented many a park bench consuming copious amounts of lambrini, listening to DJ Rankin on a Sony Walkman in knock off Fred Perry garments purchased from the back of a van on Skeggy market.

Within a week, all that changed. It was red wine, skinny jeans, chelsea boots and a constant need for a live music experience that would open my eyes to guitar music. A pivotal moment and one I will be eternally grateful to them for.

As quick as the band exploded onto the music scene, they imploded internally, with exposure to drugs, mainstream media and fame. Three aspects that collectively was destined for disaster.

Although that didn’t waver in any sense of creativity as in 2004, they released their self titled second album, ‘The Libertines’. With tracks such as ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘Last Post On The Bugle’, It was seemingly at a point of no return, with fractious relationship infighting and bloodsucking media narratives that ultimately led to the bands demise. No matter, they’d still left a lasting legacy to legions of loyal fans and created a new path for new musicians up and down the UK.

The elephant in the room in the music and entertainment industry was drugs, exposure, mental health and how it was dealt with.

I think it’s fair to say that the press have the right to unbiasedly critique performance and anything in an artist’s creative output, as it’s in the same fairness to defend it.

Some might argue that being in the public spotlight, it was somehow acceptable to receive criticism on a personal level, ‘you know what you signed up to’ kind of bullshit.

Tabloid attacks on an artist’s personal issues including addiction, appearance and mental well-being. That’s fucking not okay. The gutter press, that we’re out to sell publications ahead of anything else, we’re a scar on the youth generation reading it. Shameful.

There’s a lesson to be learned here.

Instead of championing The Libertines, the press focussed instead on Pete, all the details of that time have been well publicised, it’s not relevant in this piece to dig up those details.

The main focus here is what could’ve been.

Imagine for a second what that generation could have benefited from with clear, concise helpful information regarding addiction, mental health and the stigma that surrounds it.

As time has gone by there has been improvements around these subjects, but not nearly enough in my honest opinion.

It’s high time that the media becomes more open to ideas in detailing addiction and mental health in popular culture and more importantly providing positive resources as a guide to better health.

Addiction is an awful disease, one that engulfs your soul into believing that you’re worthless and that recovery is impossible. The last thing you need is belittlement, negativity and shame in an open setting such as the media.

People should not be defined by an illness or an addiction, we need connection, honesty and openness. That is the true vision of recovery.

Find help and support here and here.

By some form of magic, teamed with a loving bond, patience, blood and tears, The Libertines still remain, twenty years on, selling out venues once again, bringing nostalgia to a generation where music actually meant something, to me anyway.

The Libertines are now armed with fresh, electric tour supports this winter including Black Honey, Andrew Cushin, Dead Freights, DSM4, Gabi Garbutt and Black Bordello.

Libertines tour poster

November

20th Saturday Margate Winter Gardens
22nd Monday Glasgow St Luke
23rd Tuesday Glasgow O2 Academy
25th Thursday Bournemouth O2 Academy
26th Friday Brighton Centre
27th Saturday Norwich UEA
29th Monday Birmingham O2 Academy
30th Tuesday Leeds O2 Academy 

December

1st Wednesday Edinburgh Usher Hall
3rd Friday Newcastle O2 Academy
4th Saturday Liverpool Uni The Mountford Hall
6th Monday Manchester Academy
7th Tuesday Leicester O2 Academy
9th Thursday Cardiff University Great Hall
10th Friday London O2 Forum Kentish Town
11th Saturday London O2 Forum Kentish Town
13th Monday Bristol O2 Academy
14th Tuesday Nottingham Rock City
16th Thursday Sheffield O2 Academy
17th Friday London  Forum Kentish Town
18th Saturday London O2 Forum Kentish Town
19th Sunday London O2 Forum Kentish Town