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Review of The Libertines at the Rochester Castle Concerts first night


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The lights may have gone out on The Libertines' set at the first night of the Rochester Castle Concerts, but there was still music for thousands.

It was hard to get their infectious tunes out of your head after a mind-blowing, almost non-stop set which saw the crowd up dancing and singing at the tops of their voices.

The Libertines headline the first night of the Castle Concerts Picture: Barry Goodwin
The Libertines headline the first night of the Castle Concerts Picture: Barry Goodwin

It must have been a capacity audience for the first night, organised by promoters AGMP, as the place felt full and buzzing.

If you've ever been to one of the Castle Concerts, you'll know that concertgoers there know how to have a good time. Admittedly some seemed to have drunk so much in the lead-up that by the time the main event came on stage - which was just after 9pm, so long before bed time - they were too far gone, and probably (sadly for them) won't remember much of the night.

With a perfect late summer evening keeping everyone dry and far from chilly, the build-up to the arrival of The Libertines on stage had seen The Ovines and Chappaqua Wrestling entertain early arrivals, before Black Honey rocked out, playing to fuller crowds. Security was tight and organisation seemed excellent.

The final support act, Sports Team, threw themselves into it - lead singer Alex Rice literally throwing himself all over the stage and climbing the side of it too - and had the crowd raring to go for the headliners.

The Libertines arrived to a roar and dived straight in with one that cried out to be sung along to, What a Waster, heading into What Katie Did.

Pete Doherty of The Libertines on stage Picture: Barry Goodwin
Pete Doherty of The Libertines on stage Picture: Barry Goodwin

If you've seen recent tabloid stories about Pete Doherty's less than svelte figure these days, they are correct, but don't think that doesn't mean he's any slower.

He and guitarist Carl Barat blasted out some fast and furious guitar duets and if you thought there was any time for chat or pause between songs, forget it, because there wasn't.

Carl Barat Picture: Barry Goodwin
Carl Barat Picture: Barry Goodwin
Pete and Carl together Picture: Barry Goodwin
Pete and Carl together Picture: Barry Goodwin

Pete's chat with the crowd for the entire set - which admittedly went down well - consisted of "This is nice, down by the river" and "I miss Margate - I miss Kent. How are you, Kent?"

There wasn't a song that didn't hit the spot for the crowd, but if I had to pick one which was the biggest crowd pleaser, I would say it was Don't Look Back Into the Sun.

After stopping abruptly, with some bemused people starting to leave, the band returned, dedicating their final song to Chas Hodges, before banging Time for Heroes out and ending the night. The crowd was left happy.

The Libertines Picture: Barry Goodwin
The Libertines Picture: Barry Goodwin
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Tonight's sold-out evening will see Soul II Soul headline, supported by The Brand New Heavies, Janet Kay and Carroll Thompson, Omar, Mad Yella, and Snowboy & The Latin Section.

Saturday's show is headlined by UB40, with support from Selecter, Stone Foundation, Rhoda Dakar, The Style Councillors and the Petty Thieves.

For all the latest entertainment news across Kent click here.

Read more: all the latest news from Medway

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