Emerging from a musical and tabloid silence, which has seen him take an uncharacteristic absence from both The Sun and NME, Pete Docherty took the stage to perform in front of an adoringly frenzied crowd in Brixton’s Jamm. It’s been three years since Pete’s debut solo album Grace/Wastelands scrawled a convincing display of well-defined song-writing and musical talent across an uneven career of soaring heights and curb-side lows, leaving us with an impression that, independent of his work with Babyshambles and the Libertines, he can still release stand-out material.
On the night, the atmosphere in Brixton’s stickiest and best suited after-party venue lay thick with anticipation and hope that the rare performance would re-visit old classics from his Libertine days, as well as showcase some new material. The set list ran through well-known anthems like Time for Heroes and I Wish, which launched the adoring crowd into wild chanting and screaming of the memorised lyrics, as well as more reflective, acoustic based solo material.
Pete’s performance was charismatic yet subdued, leading his support band with an erratic performance on acoustic guitar, missing notes and chords yet stringing them together in a beautiful enough way to be put down to his loose style of playing, rather than suffering from being out of practice. His confidence on stage and in-front of camera has often been held together by a trance like calm; it was what seemed to hold his confidence together throughout the set and help with the exchange of words and grins with the audience. If anything the performance was second to the wild excitement caused by the man himself, rather than the music. So the fact that the music itself was genuine, well performed and even better received, gives hope that his inevitable second solo album stands a good chance living up to the first.
Words: Charlie Wood