it's the fans that make or break bands

The Libertines – Reading Festival

Reading Festival
7.5 10 Chaotic
  • 7.5

As the sun set over the final bank holiday of the year, music lovers at the Reading Festival await for one of the most hotly tipped performances of the weekend.

Sauntering on stage for their first performance at the Reading and Leeds Festival since 2010 were The Libertines – the only difference this time, they were the headline act closing the festival.

For many at this year’s Reading Festival, this had been the performance they had been waiting for and perhaps as you may expect, it was a set full of chaotic twists and turns – but the audience loved it.

Over the years the relationship between front man Pete Doherty and Carl Barat has been somewhat strained – many felt the days of live performances were long gone. However on stage any animosity of their past appeared to be forgotten, with the duo appearing closer than ever.

On the band’s set list were some of their more popular classics, with hits such as ‘What Katie Did‘ and ‘Can’t Stand Me Now‘ sending the audience into a mosh pit frenzy. More recent additions to The Libertines back catalogue such as ‘You’re my Waterloo‘ were also well received in the crowd, which bodes well for the looming release of their upcoming studio album.

The end of the set saw Pete Doherty, who had returned from a stint in rehab in Thailand earlier this year, hoist drummer Gary Powell onto his shoulders. A few gasps could be heard amongst fans in the audience, with the drummer far outweighing the singer in size.

Held on the pedestal of Doherty’s shoulders Powell announced to the festival ‘Never forget, you are all libertines!’

The Libertines created a chaotically charming atmosphere, one perhaps quite fitting to a band who have overcome so much to still stick together. However despite being the headline and closing act of this year’s Reading Festival, the band often felt overshadowed by Kendrick Lamar, who took to the main stage prior to the indie band.

Throughout his set Lamar controlled and entertained the audience as he led an audience of thousands into his 2012 hit, Swimming Pools (Drank) – a song full of the hard hitting world of addiction and the struggles of alcohol abuse. The audience were in the palm of the rapper’s hand, holding onto every word while singing every word back with spirit and passion.

The Californian rapper created an atmosphere and presence that commanded the audience in a way different to that of The Libertines – creating the impression that the main stage at one of the UK’s biggest music festival is where he belongs.


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