Carl Barât - Manchester Academy 2 - 6.4.11

The Libertines, the iconic band that Carl Barât formed one half of. These days he’s performing on his own without Pete Doherty’s antics hogging the limelight. This is his chance to shine and from the performances I’ve seen so far, he’s doing exceptionally well on his own.

Carl calmly struts onto the stage, on time, to a cheering audience. He looks fashionably scruffy in his signature skinny jeans and leather jacket, he looks a little tired, but then he has just become a father, but he soon relaxes into the Carl we all know and love.

The crowd consisted mainly of upper end teens/early twenties with the obligatory forty-something dotted here and there. He takes us through some tracks from the new eponymous solo album, however it’s the first few chords of the fifth track that makes the crowd erupt into a frenzy. Even the students want to hear the Libertines and as ‘Up the Bracket’ is in mid chorus the crowd surfing begins.

Barât performs more songs from the solo album, Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things, he introduces the new ‘Death Fires Burn at Night’ and performs it perfectly, followed by Death on the Stairs and Bang Bang. The crowd at this stage are ecstatic as the bad retreat from the stage.

The audience chant ‘We want Carl’ over and over until he returns on stage, and almost straight away they switch mid chant to Shoop shoop, shoop de-lang-a-lang, almost forcing him into an impromptu rendition of What Katie Did with no instrumental support.

‘Oh what you gonna do, Katie?,
You're a sweet sweet girl
But it's a cruel, cruel world
a cruel, cruel world.’

Strangely enough he looks like a little boy lost when he’s parted from his guitar, but he pulls it off well and almost seamlessly swings into the next track The Ballad of Grimaldi

Barât performs the Langley sisters Sing for My Supper, which will also be included on the Death Fires Burn at Night EP released in May.

He interacts well with the crowd, but I detect hint of nervousness, he speaks quickly and mumbles. He forgets the words midway through an acoustic version of Truth Begins he quickly corrects this and continues and the crowd don’t seem to mind, which is reassuring, he’s not over confident of himself like other rock legends.
On stage he is surrounded by familiar faces, his brother Ollie B on guitar and Edie Langley, his partner, who looks fabulously radiant as she plays the cello.

He polishes off the night with an old Libs favourite Don’t Look Back into the Sun, the crowd makes the foundations of the Academy tremor for the final time before Barât and his band leave the stage.

Carl Barât has shown us what a talented singer songwriter he is in his own right. I think that in time he’ll shrug off the Libertines shadow that still follows him around, but for now I feel he’s testing the waters and wants to keep the ‘old Libs fans’ happy. It won’t be long before he’ll be liberated from being a Libertine.

Words / Photos: Amanda Window



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