“We’re looking for a home”, said Libertines co-frontman Carl Barât ahead of the Tiddeley Om Pom Pom Tour, a nostalgic seven-date jaunt of British seaside towns. “One roof for the many splendoured trappings of Arcady, a factory, with a guest house, bar and studio. We do like to be beside the seaside and we hope to find that home on this tour”. And thus their scrupulous search ends here this evening, at the Brighton Centre, with a whole host of scintillating supports acts in tow including Hidden Herd favourites YONAKA.
Despite tonight being the band’s biggest show to date, the rib-rattling rock quartet look like they were made for whopping rooms and sprawling stages like this one, exhilarating from the outset. The four-piece – whose moniker translates as “dead of night” in Japanese – possess a thunderous sound that’s both intoxicating and venomous; a throbbing pulse of bass underpins lead lines that sound like the lash of a whip through the air, while cymbals cut through the brooding atmosphere like a white-hot knife. At the centre of YONAKA‘s tornado of noise is frontwoman Theresa Jarvis, an ever-captivating presence who moves tirelessly under the fidgety lights in a Beetlejuice-esque blazer, recalling Yeah Yeah Yeahs icon Karen O at her most electrifying. Her performance is dazzling and the highlights are many: ‘Wouldn’t Wanna Be Ya’, ‘Drongo’ and ‘Ignorance’ each prove to be thumpingly heavy and unshakeably infectious. YONAKA’s next Brighton gig at Patterns – as part of the Hopscotch Tour with Anteros and Stereo Honey – promises to be unmissable.
It’s every bit as good as the main event, which is achingly nostalgic and notably refreshing in equal measure. The Libertines’ highly anticipated third album ‘Anthems For Doomed Youth’ showed they still have the chops to pen rip-roaring rock ‘n’ roll songs, and tonight their unique live show and skewed vision is a timely reminder of why stories of their gigs will be regaled for a good many years hence.
Needless to say, their bill-topping set is thrilling from the get-go. With a mad glitter in his eyes, Pete Doherty launches into ‘Time For Heroes’, with that iconic opening line acting as the catalyst for an exuberant rush of pandemonium. ‘The Delaney’ follows suit, instigating similar raucousness, the air now a thin veiled mist of draught lager and sweat as limbs flail and lost voices arduously croak. They’re the scenes of yore and the scenes of now, with the big space reduced to chaos in the wake of the four-piece’s no-holds-barred noise – the wanton disregard for mic stands only serving to fuel the visceral adoration further.
Of course, there’s much much more up their sleeve to slake the baying public’s insatiable thirst: a scintillating ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, a beautifully bedraggled ‘Death On The Stairs’ and fervent finale ‘Up The Bracket’ follow, with each proving unequivocally magical in their own raw and ramshackle way. What the future holds for The Libertines is anyone’s guess, but tonight those sceptical and cynical about their reformation and resurgence stand corrected.