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Album Review: Peter Doherty – Hamburg Demonstrations

 
By on Tuesday, 20th December 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Peter Doherty Hamburg Demonstrations album coverWhen it comes to Libertine and all round British poet/musician/artist Peter Doherty, you’ll often find divided opinion. There are those who are enamoured by his reckless yet gentlemanly demeanour, whilst the other side of the spectrum simply cannot stand him for both those reasons. Wherever you sit on this line, you can’t deny Doherty has written some of the most memorable songs of the last 10+ years with The Libertines. After the infamous splitting of said band, he then formed Babyshambles, a band that had almost as many ups and down as his prior, but without the immediate success. Now here we are with the second Doherty solo album, the follow-up to 2009’s ‘Grace/Wastelands’.

Doherty’s infatuation with Britannia always lends itself to his musical output. He does a sterling job of crafting songs filled with tales of the down and out, the shit on society’s shoe, but he also manages to romanticise it like no-one else. First track ‘Kolly Kibber’ is referencing a character from Graham Greene’s novel Brighton Rock – immediately we’re thrown into a picture of both woe and British romanticism. A much more folky sound – acoustic guitars, quiet drums, piano and bass – turns the song into a classic folk tale rather than a rock ditty, which he favours throughout the entire album. The choice of a folk direction allows the focus to fall upon his words, of which he certainly cannot be disputed at being a master of. On the occasion where electric instruments do make an appearance, they’re used with the same minimalist acoustic, with their only purpose to give a harsher edge to accommodate the darkness found in songs such as ‘Down for the Outing’.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUUbpeBXse0[/youtube]

There’s certainly a sense that this solo album feels to have more of a focused, sober Doherty at the helm. ‘Birdcage’ is seemingly self-referencing, putting Doherty in a birdcage where the world is able to simple look and judge him, which is inevitably detrimental to his personal relationships. “Only love can bring the secrets of simplicity”: in so few words, Doherty manages to encapsulate a feeling that is impossible to recreate in anyway other than actually falling in love. This carefree and focused turn your mind takes in this state of bliss, where a serenity envelops you. Perhaps, in an almost satirical way, he next focuses upon the choices the youth of America have to make. “Come on boys, you gotta choose your weapon, J-45 or AK-47”. You can hear in his voice that he’s both fully invested in the message of peace and also in just having a good time.

Reaching a poignant moment, ‘Flags Of The Old Regime’ was previously heard back in 2011 after Doherty’s friend Amy Winehouse’s death. Reserved and fragile, the lyrics cut particularly deep when you consider the circus that enveloped and encouraged Winehouse and other celebrities who have gone down a road to ruin: “The fame they stone you with, you soldiered it, and made your fortune, but you broke inside”. Your emotions grow listening to this song, knowing that Doherty himself could’ve succumbed to the tragedy that befell Winehouse. His voice breaks through the gentle cadence he uses, with the final words supporting his recent sobriety, “let’s have it right, we all know the score, we’ve been up for nights, stood behind the door, sparkle on the floor, I don’t wanna die anytime”.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsHA3C1OK88[/youtube]

A heart on sleeve gentleness hits with early single ‘I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)’. He uses mostly repetitive lyrics, though when he breaks out of this cycle, Doherty describes love in his unique way, with a raw and unbridled hurt. Perhaps most surprising is the third verse when American Civil war song ‘When Johnny Comes Marching Home’ is introduced. ‘The Whole World is Our Playground’ is more of Doherty’s romantic yearn and hurt, but it’s on finale ‘She is Far’ where these topics take things to a whole new level. Quiet and reserved, he paints pictures of lovers and memories of London, memories that are fading away.

Doherty at a reserved level such as this is a blessing. It shows exactly why he is a gem to British music. Doherty proves on ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ he can play both erratic rockstar and forlorn folk singer with such ease that those who have sought to condemn him would do well to reconsider upon hearing this new album.

9/10

‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ is out now on BMG. To read more of TGTF’s coverage on Peter Doherty, follow this link

 

Video of the Moment #2204: Pete Doherty

 
By on Wednesday, 19th October 2016 at 6:00 pm
 

After all that Peter “Pete” Doherty‘s been through – even if had a bad impression of him through his junkie years – you just gotta root for the man. After successfully reuniting with the rest of The Libertines for the ‘Anthems for Doomed Youth’ album last year, he’s refocused his energies for his own solo work. A new album ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’ is expected to be released before the end of the year. Ahead of that release announcement, he’s shared ‘I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)’, which has already made the radio rounds. The single now has a new promo, interestingly enough taking Doherty’s own famous form and turning into a fluid animation. Watch the video for new single ‘I Don’t Love Anyone (But You’re Not Just Anyone)’ below.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsHA3C1OK88[/youtube]

 

Preview: Kendal Calling 2016

 
By on Thursday, 7th July 2016 at 10:00 am
 

As Glastonbury fades into the distance, the only evidence that it ever happened being clods of mud on the soles of one’s wellies, hours of BBC catch-up to plough through, and the occasional sweaty 3 AM nightmare featuring a gurning Charlotte Church. Oh, and several acres of Somerset farmland piled high with litter and abandoned tents. I’m sure we all had a blast. Whether you were there in body or only in spirit, those wishing to relive the hedonistic peaks and chilled-out troughs of a top-class festival, without, shall we say, the negatives of an enormo-fest like Glasto, should look no further than Kendal Calling.

Less crowded, less pretentious, (slightly) less muddy, and, most importantly, more Northern, Kendal Calling has occasionally been called the Glastonbury of the north. And in spirit, that’s certainly true. Fair enough, it can’t attract the likes of Adele as a headliner, but if you want a sweary Londoner there’s always Rat Boy. Kendal’s biggest strength is its party atmosphere: wherever you are, you’re never very far away from the hoedown that goes on in front of the main stage all day. This year will climax with sets from d’n’b stars Rudimental, Brit-ska legends Madness and a prime slice of dad rock from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (pictured at top). There’s something for everyone on the main stage: hard rock from Band Of Skulls, The Hives and the Darkness, urban sounds from Sugarhill Gang and Too Many Ts. And, um, authentic North West humour in the shape of the inimitable Lancashire Hotpots.

Having said all that, TGTF’s favourite stage is the Calling Out tent. Want to know who’s going to be big next year? Look no further. From burgeoning youngsters like Sundara Karma, The Amazons and Rosie Lowe, through acts on the verge of mainstream breakthrough like Teleman, Eagulls and Spring King, this is where the smart money hangs out. Headliners Blossoms, Ghostpoet, and, astonishingly – if he turns up! – Pete Doherty, make Calling Out a mini-festival all of itself.

That’s not to mention the other little nooks and crannies of the beautiful Lowther Deer Park. Those fond of a hot spiked beverage can chill in the always-reliable Chai Wallahs. Obscurantists and beard-strokers are to be found in the Riot Jazz tent, hosting the unique brilliance of Gideon Conn (again, hurrah!), with the Riot Jazz Brass Band performances always a Kendal highlight. If you fancy a Tim Burgess-themed bacon sandwich, then head to the Tim Peaks diner. If, instead, you’re partial to a sit-down and some profound spoken words, Carvetti’s your spot (last year’s Aziz Ibrahim interview was particularly instructive). And let us not forget the 3 AMm intensity of the Glow Tent’s beats. There’s only a handful of tickets left at the time of writing. What are you waiting for?

The last few adult weekend tickets to Kendal Calling 2016 are available for £135 plus fees. To purchase yours, get them from Ticketline.

 

Pete Doherty / May 2011 UK/Irish Tour

 
By on Tuesday, 25th January 2011 at 9:30 am
 

Pete Doherty will be going on an extensive tour of the UK and Ireland in May. Tickets go on sale Friday (28 January) at 9 AM.

Tuesday 3rd May 2011 – Leamington Spa Assembly Rooms
Wednesday 4th May 2011 – Leicester Academy
Thursday 5th May 2011 – Bristol Academy
Friday 6th May 2011 – Oxford Academy
Sunday 8th May 2011 – Cambridge Junction
Monday 9th May 2011 – Folkestone Leas Cliff Hall
Tuesday 10th May 2011 – London Shepherds Bush Empire
Wednesday 11th May 2011 – Southampton University
Friday 13th May 2011 – Norwich UEA
Saturday 14th May 2011 – Birmingham Institute
Sunday 15th May 2011 – Liverpool Academy
Tuesday 17th May 2011 – Newcastle Academy
Wednesday 18th May 2011 – Manchester Academy
Thursday 19th May 2011 – Leeds Academy
Friday 20th May 2011 – Glasgow Barrowlands
Friday 27th May 2011 – Dublin Academy
Saturday 28th May 2011 – Derry Nerve Centre
Sunday 29th May 2011 – Belfast Mandela Hall

 

Preview: V Festival 2009

 
By on Wednesday, 18th March 2009 at 12:00 pm
 

Oasis (live, V Festival, credit)It’s undeniable that V Festival is a lot more commerical than other music festival’s across the country, and while the bash has certainly recieved the odd bit of criticism for it’s uber radio-friendly line up, the fest is no less fun in our eyes. Certainly – going by the awesome line-up, it’s unsurprising that the event managed to sell out in just two hours this year.

The summer bash – which is happening on Saturday 22nd to Sunday 23rd August – will be taking place across it’s two usual sites this ’09: Hylands Park, Chelmsford and Weston Park, Staffordshire.

Oasis (pictured right) and The Killers are the two big name headliners confirmed to be playing the festival’s top spot this year. Other major acts gracing the fest’s main stage (aptly titled ‘V Stage’) across the weekend include Razorlight, Snow Patrol, The Specials, Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Lily Allen, James, Seasick Steve and, intriguingly, Taylor Swift.

The smaller sized ‘4Music’ stage will also be featuring further super cool artists including Fatboy Slim, Pendulum, The Ting Tings, The Wombats, Keane, The Enemy, Katy Perry and Dizzee Rascal.

If nothing has still managed to catch your eye (or ear!), why not head over to ‘The Arena’ where you can check out a varied selection including MGMT, Lady GaGa, Happy Mondays, The Streets, Pete Doherty, and latest girl band sensation, British Sea PowerThe Saturdays.

If that’s still not enough, the festival has another 50 acts up its sleeve to announce in the coming few weeks. Exciting!

As I told you earlier, tickets for the Chelmsford leg have sadly sold out. There are still some available for the Staffordshire event, however. For more information regarding ticket outlets, check out V Festival’s website.

Top photo comes from stevec77’s flickr stream, and side photo from John Griffiths’ flickr stream under the Creative Commons License.

 

Review: Peter Doherty – Grace/Wastelands

 
By on Tuesday, 17th March 2009 at 4:00 pm
 

Peter Doherty album cover (side)If you’re a ‘Dohertyite’ chances are you’ve heard a couple of these songs already on gigapacks of his bootlegs, b-sides, studio sessions and laptop recordings, if you’re a virgin to these mixtapes then Grace/Wastelands will be an even bigger delight. Lead single ‘Last of The English Roses’ has done the rounds over the last couple weeks as Doherty presents his new clean image, the drugs and wastrel look is gone, now he shows up to gigs and ’09 has been free of relapses and such.. The album is an accumulation of this squeaky clean Doherty as music takes centre stage again.

The opener is all you would expect from Doherty; a soft mellow acoustic sing/strum-a-long, and if you are a keen disciple of everything Peter then you’d have heard this on one of the countless bootlegs etc. etc. His charm shines through the clever songwriting which is both witty and meaningful, I would go as far as to say that anyone who wants to see how a decent song looks on paper should google anything Doherty’s ever wrote (especially if it was with partner Carl Barat). Speaking of Carl, Peter knocks out ‘A Little Death Around The Eyes,’ a track that sat at the bottom of The Libertines recording list but finally found a release under Peter’s solo imprint.

‘1939 Returning’ is testament to his songwriting versitality as he tackles nazi Germany, alien to his usual topics (though ‘Arbeit Macht Frei is kind of close). The track ends with a nice guitar solo and as of yet there’s nothing too surprising about the music itself, Doherty sticking to what he knows best.

The Moss referances are plentiful on ‘Sheepskin Tearaway’ (where Doherty-Allison joint vocals are a joy) and ‘New Love Grown on Trees.’ This might give the anti-Doherty brigade a chance to criticise but the very obvious influence the supermodel’s had on him merits her a place on his debut. Coxon’s guitar adds an extra dimension to the LP as does the bass when expolited well (see: Last Of The English Roses..)

The record may become too the-same-sounding between tracks like ‘Salome’ and ‘Palace of Bone’ but there’s enough refreshment as the brilliant ‘Broken Love Song’ re-energises the record from any wear’n’tear and brings a fresh energy to the melancholy, again the spontaneous lyrics are a charm; “If you’re still alive/when you’re twenty five/should I kill you like you told me to?”

‘Lady, Don’t Fall Backwards’ is another song which has done the rounds in the Albert Hall bootlegs and Shaken & Withdrawn megamixes, but it finds a fully produced home on Grace/… and closes the LP with the soft acousticism for which we all know Doherty. It’s a good end to a remarkable debut, whilst it may not be origonal it serves as a good starting point for more albums to come (we hope) in the near future. The poetic songwriting and boyish charm win over the listener and it seems Doherty has been reborn, it’s an astounding effort and one which deserves the utmost praise.

8/10

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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