It’s 11.30am and already die-hard Doherty fans are drinking in the street and listening to old Libertines albums on repeat. There are 100 tickets left on the door for this somewhat secret gig, and only the most dedicated will get them. This might be a matinee show, starting at 2pm, but you get the feeling these fans would be here by 11 regardless.
20 quid and hundreds of Libertines reunion rumours later, Bruised Beauties take to the stage. The boy-girl duo is forgivably nervous as they fumble through a set of rather dull Babyshambles-esque acoustic songs for this notoriously judgmental crowd, without the support of the rest of their band.
It’s a reasonably pleasant sound, but it’s mighty boring – especially as the pair barely glance at the audience, creating an awful nervous tension in the room.
Up next is Alan Wass, lead singer of Lipstick Melodies, who supported Pete at his Shepherds Bush Empire show in May. He’s confident, but his tiresome, slightly country, acoustic songs make the wait for Pete’s arrival seem endless.
Pete shows up uncharacteristically on time (although it’s no major accomplishment when one considers that he lives about 30 yards away) and appears on top form.
He marches through a set of classics that makes these superfans weak at the knees. With just an acoustic guitar and his calm, soothing tones he brightens the room.
When played in this simplest of forms the warmth in tracks like Back From The Dead and For Lovers really comes out and gives this packed little venue the comforting vibes of a campfire sing-along.
But as the set goes on Pete begins to drift, closing his eyes for entire songs and spending more and more time at the back of the stage, smoking a fan’s cigarette and downing what look to be Jack and Cokes with unsettling speed.
The songs are wonderful and the audience smitten, but Pete is revealing a diminishing attention span.
We’d been waiting for him for five hours, but after just 45 minutes onstage Pete walks out of the venue with his gang of hangers-on and doesn’t come back. No new songs were heard, no special guests turned up, and in the cold light of day this gig feels like a quick way for Pete to make an easy six grand.
By Sophie Armour