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Review: The Libertines headline By the Sea Festival in Margate

By Lowri Chant

The anticipation was palpable as rockers The Libertines prepared to close the third and final day of Margate's By the Sea Festival last night.

And when they finally took to the stage in the Winter Gardens' packed main hall 15 minutes later than planned with the familiar lyrics, "Did you see the stylish kids in the riot..." from Time for Heroes, the crowd went wild.

It set the pace for the next 90 minutes, as the London quartet delivered a constant stream of iconic anthems.

Libertines frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barât
Libertines frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barât

The chemistry between frontmen Pete Doherty and Carl Barât was compelling. They barely needed their own microphones as they zoomed across the stage to share each others' at every opportunity.

The journey through their back catalogue was punctuated with the occasional track from their most recent album, 2015's Anthems For Doomed Youth, but for many, the night was all about nostalgia.

The gig drew a varied crowd of all ages, but it was predominantly 30-somethings no doubt enjoying transporting back to the noughties when the band were at the height of fame.

The performance was rip-roaring, raucous and chaotic, which made for one hell of a show - but created an expectation of drama.

And it came 15 minutes before the end of the set when the band exited the stage, leaving the hordes wondering whether they would be returning.

When they emerged five minutes later, Pete had a serious message... about the smoking ban.

It turns out they fancied a smoke on stage, but were told they would face a massive fine if they did - or the gig would be pulled altogether.

The band take a bow after one rip-roaring performance
The band take a bow after one rip-roaring performance

In true anarchic form, Pete then pulled an unlit cigarette from his pocket and teasingly put it to his lips to huge cheers of encouragement from the audience.

Act of rebellion done, the band were then able to finish their set with a spectacular encore.

The energy ramped up even further as the crowd swelled and shifted around a riotous mosh pit for the penultimate song - fan favourite Up the Bracket - followed by the heart-thumping Don't Look Back into the Sun for one uplifting finale.

The Boys in the Band done good.

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