Live: Carl Barât and The Jackals in Hamburg (DE), 26.02.2015

The sold out Molotow Club was packed and about to burst on a suprisingly warm Thursday night. But no one wanted to miss The Libertines frontman Carl Barât coming to town with his newly founded band The Jackals (and by founded I mean he held open auditions to find his new mates).

There were also rumours about a now clean Peter Doherty attending the gig flying through the room. But I’m going to spoiler you right here, no, he wasn’t there as he was playing small gigs in England.

Once a Libertine, always a Libertine (© S. Prahl)
Once a Libertine, always a Libertine (© S. Prahl)

Before Carl Barât could show us what he had been up to while his Libertine bandmate had been battling addiction in Thailand, the support band fought their way through the crowd and onto the stage. But to be honest I remember more about the looks of the Manchester four-piece Todd Dorigo than about their music. Their guitar-playing frontman was rocking the Temples James Bagshaw look with his mop of curly brown hair and glitter shirt. It wasn’t a coincidence that the first song played by the DJ of the night, Paul Pötsch of Hamburg band Trümmer, after they had finished their set was Shelter Song by Temples.

Their music sounded more like The Kooks or something similar even though they claimed it was rock’n’roll as they announced that they would play a song about drugs. Their last song was their best one, in my opinion.

A Storm is coming (©S. Prahl)
A Storm is coming (©S. Prahl)

Right on time Carl Barât and the Jackals took the stage, all clad in black skinny jeans and leather jackets. They burst right into “Victory Gin” with the chorus “We are not afraid of anyone!” making it clear that they weren’t planning on hiding behind Carl’s fame. The next song they played was “A Storm is coming” which has also been released as a single and has a pirate-y feeling about it. Carl was definitely delighted that quite a few of his fans in the first rows were able to sing along.

The next song wasn’t a Jackals one (it wouldn’t be the only song of the night that Carl played from his previous music projects) as it was “Gin & Milk” from Dirty Pretty Things. After two more Jackals songs, “Summer in the Trenches” (not to be confused with the poem “Suicide in the Trenches” which Pete and Carl recited at their Hyde Park reunion show) and “We Want More”, Carl dug deeper in his past and played the Libertines song “Death on the stairs”, which got the loudest response from the enthusiastic and sweaty crowd so far.

Only a few songs into the set, Carl and his bandmates ditched the leather jackets as it became almost unbearably hot in the club. In between the songs the not-really-aging frontman chatted happily with the crowd, always putting emphasis on the fact that he was there with the Jackals and not the Libertines.

The rest of the set was a blur of Jackals songs “March of the Idle”, “Glory Days” and “Let it reign”, more Dirty Pretty Things songs “Deadwood” and “Bang Bang You’re Dead”, Libertines acoustic song “France” and Peter’s solo track “Ballad of Grimaldi”.

Carl didn't age at all (©S. Prahl)

While fumbling with his acoustic guitar Carl announced that The Libertines were recording their new album in Hamburg and that they soon would be back playing live shows. He then claimed that tonight was about The Jackals and not The Libertines which didn’t fool anyone as they closed their set with Libertines smasher “I get along” as the last encore.

I was positively surprised by Carl’s energy and enthusiasm and it felt like a special treat seeing the big man on such a tiny stage without any space between the crowd and the band. It gave me a tiny taste of what the early Libertines shows must have been like.


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