The Libertines – Forum Theatre

The Libertines – Forum Theatre – 28/02/2018

Written by Liam Head

Photographed by Alex McGregor


The Forum in Melbourne was a time for British indie rock heroes to show Australia what they have been missing. In their first ever Australian tour, The Libertines had attracted a sell out crowd of both young and old, all eager to hear the London band in their second Melbourne show, following the previous nights surprise gig in Carlton. The reunion of the band in 2014 had not just allowed them to produce their third studio album, Anthems for Doomed Youth but also provided fans the opportunity to see their famous live show.

Starting off the night were Melbourne locals Jarrow who greeted the incoming crowd with a set of indie pop rock that attracted a fair amount of attention as the set wore on. Next up was the apparent lovechild of John Cooper Clarke and Dolly Parton who sporting sunglasses a little too big performed her poetry. The poem finishing not a minute too soon, with booing starting to emanate among the patrons.

Surprisingly almost to schedule, the Libertines appeared on stage led by their talisman Pete Doherty and followed by his partner in crime Carl Barat. The band take their positions with Carl taking the centre mic surrounded on either side by Pete and bassist John Hassell supported by the shirtless Gary Powell on drums, who’s shredded physique has everyone regretting the handful of beers they have drank so far tonight (thankfully Petes shirt was to come off shortly to lead everyone back into their comfort zone).


Pete greeted the crowd with an English accent G’day and they were straight into Horrow show, a song from Up the Bracket, the album that shot the band to fame in 2002. By the third song, Pete and Carl were sharing a mic, singing the lyrics to The Delaney, an action that would be repeated throughout the night.

The crowd were in full force with big sing a long lyrics and heavy guitar riffs giving the viewers plenty of opportunities to lose their shit, demonstrated by the cups of water and beer (we hope) being flung consistently through the air. By the time the riff for their most acclaimed song, Cant Stand Me Now begins, the crowd is ready to explode with boogying and singing, the song predictably becomes the highlight of the set.

A cigarette and lighter is projectiled onto the stage which Pete promptly pops into his mouth and lights up, a security guard just as quickly grabs the cigarette from Pete’s mouth clearly concerned for the artists health.  In the background the animated screen moves through classic movie scenes from Charlie Chaplin and Fred Astaire, highlighting the nostalgia of the night with the band that were at their peak in the early noughties. The set weaves through a combination of old classics such as What Katie Did and The Boy Looked at Johnny and material from their most recent album with hit song Gunga Din the highlight.

The encore performance proves to be their crowning glory with fan-favourite after fan-favourite ensuring the band is only just heard over the singing of the crowd. Music When The Lights Go Out, Up The Bracket, Time For Heroes, Don’t Look Back Into The Sun and I Get Along one after another ensures the set ends on a high note. The performance highlighting why the band are recongnised as such a large influence on the indie rock music produced in the last 15 years and identifies that the bands legacy should be in their art rather than reports in the tabloids.