Marcus Foley

14:18 12th January 2007

These last minute jaunts to the capital’s tiny venues in search of Libertines reunions were once a fairly regular occurrence; however the success of Dirty Pretty Things and Pete Doherty’s new career as tabloid fodder has tempered the whispers somewhat. It is with renewed optimism, though, that we arrive at Camden’s Dublin Castle. After all, it was in this very boozer that Pete ‘n’ Carl sat happily chatting just a few months ago, and the rumours seem to be spreading from fairly well-connected sources…could it really happen?

Well, no. In the end it’s just Babyshambles, and never has a secret gig by such a big (in fame terms at least) band been greeted with as many long faces. Undeterred, a packed crowd assemble in the famous pub’s tiny music room, and when Pete arrives in black and white baker-boy cap, it is still to a volley of cheers and squeals. The majority of the set consists of new songs, and the excitement of the assembled masses visibly fades with every ska-by-numbers tune they reel off. Bizarrely, the recently released and comparatively excellent ‘The Blinding’ is ignored.

So the crowd’s eruption as the intro to ‘Albion’ is teased into ‘Time for Heroes’, is a mix of elation and relief. It is perhaps quite telling that Libertines songs always get the biggest cheers at ‘Shambles gigs, but the same can be said for Carl’s DPT, so perhaps we shouldn’t judge too harshly. The more familiar tunes are coming thick and fast now; ‘Killamangiro’, as raucous as ever, is ruined by rapper Purple’s needless intrusion. It doesn’t exactly take a master linguist to think of rhymes for “Pete Dock-er-teee”.

Proceedings are brought to an end with ‘Fuck Forever’, Pete smashes a couple of lights, then leaves the stage to be mobbed by glazed-eyed sycophants waiving cameras and pens, only to be disappointed as he retreats to the safety of the dressing room. The rest of the band pack up quietly, the paparazzi line up outside to get tomorrow’s cover shot, a Queen of Noize wanders around the pub desperate to be recognised…business as usual then, and not a Libertine in sight.