Levi's Craft Of Music Sessions: Carl Barat

Final Regents Street session
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To say that there was an excitable atmosphere of apprehension this evening would be a merely a verbal descriptive mild dressing; a warm vingerette perhaps. Rather than a particularly zesty Reggae Reggae sauce - this is what we’re talking about here. You see Carl Barat played the official Libertines reunion show last night at the Forum, which was of course, sold out. then tomorrow they are, for many, the 'Unofficial' headliners for the Reading Festival.

So, here we are, in the tiny setting of the Levi Store on Regent Street for the final in this series of gigs for the Craft of Music shows. Barely a 100 people are here and as Barat is delayed due to "nature calling" the compare banters the audience will a tender dose of aggression.

Walking up to the make shift stage Barat sits down with his guitar and welcomes the audience in his trademark casual demeanour. Time is spent talking about the reasons for the much publicised Libertines reunion. But, before long he, along with a second guitarist start playing songs from his forthcoming debut album. Not far removed from his romanticised balled of the Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things they're both affectionate and catchy with Kinks influences coming through. He was of course never going to play a set of entirely new songs so a welcome rendition of 'Deadwood' sets the tone. Rambunctious, intimate and stirring he never at any point needs to win the audience over as there is a clear atmosphere of adulation present. Libertines tattoos adorn those watching who sing along at every opportunity and ending the initial set with a version of 'Can't Stand Me Now' there's a giddy animation that becomes more than apparent.

Audience questions are put forward with, unsurprisingly most of them being about the reformation of the Libertines. Shrugging he simply says it was the right time to do it and as a heckler gets aggressive shouting out how Carl "raped us" to a bemused looking singer and audience, the drunken renter was soon ejected to the jeering crowd as his rants failed to be followed by any explanations.

Much as been said about the reunion shows and the if's, but's and maybe's of a tour so its with this that they decide to leave the questions and push on with some more music. Once again its time to welcome back his Libertines catalogue and the tender lament of 'France', an ode to a former love with the same breathy wanting as the recorded version it goes down more than a little well. And from here we leave on 'Don’t Look Back Into The Sun'. The room is left in a jubilant mood and its time for Barat to get his socks on for the Reading show this time tomorrow.

In retrospect The Libertines have become a huge band to the nature of the news paper paparazzi and their infatuation with Pete Doherty. But, its shows like this that earned them a cult following in their early days, the intimate and close nature of these personal shows. Happy to be a band of the people, as cheesy and clichéd as it may sound it was something that they always succeeded in doing and this evening was no different.

Charming, charismatic and as a performer, he is developing quite a catalogue of what will surely in years to come put him in the same classic of Classic British songwriters as Davis, Weller and Thompson.

Words by Lee Puddefoot


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