Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres // Live Review & Photoset

5th May | O2 Academy

Word & Photos: Lorenzo Ottone

Peter Doherty and The Puta Madres stun with an muscular and melancholic performance that proves the many talents of the former Libertine.

It’s a bank holiday Sunday, but the O2 Academy is far from its full capacity despite the name on the bill. Peter Doherty has attracted his usual die-hard crowd of ex-indie kids and Britpop nostalgics in skinnies, Gazelles and Fred Perry tops, ready to witness the most recent incarnation of the troubadour’s solo career. It’s when the expectations aren’t the highest that Doherty, once again, catches everyone by surprise with a reignited flame. He’s surprisingly not late to the stage and in a cheerful mood that shows all the humanity and kindness of an artist too often mistreated by the press.

Puta Madres and solo numbers perfectly blend together in an uplifting and melancholic stream, where Doherty’s trademark Lou Reed-esque guitar and harmonica tie everything together. The best thing about the gig is that Doherty is enjoying himself, demonstrating an excellent complicity with the band and interacting with the audience. At some point he even shows the wound in his left hand caused by a hedgehog he saved from his two dogs. Doherty’s dogs, the real stars of the show when brought on stage for an intense four-song encore topped by ‘Someone Else to Be’: a touching Lou Reed tribute, mashing up The Velvet Underground’s ‘Ride Into the Sun’ and Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’.

If to some the choice of limiting The Libertines’ repertoire to ‘You’re My Waterloo’ (so recent but so anthemic) was a disappointment, it does justice to a newborn and matured Peter – don’t call him Pete no more now.

See the video for ‘Who’s Been Having You Over’ here: