Peter Doherty & The Puta Madres @ Rock City 11/05/19
Last month, former Libertines and Babyshambles frontman Peter Doherty introduced us to his third musical project, ‘Peter Doherty and The Puta Madres.’ Doherty’s latest work is a lot folksier than his previous repertoire, demonstrating inspiration from his new Margate abode, and includes fantastic Doherty-esque instrumental interludes illustrating the individual musical talents of each Puta Madre.
Arriving at 7:30, I managed to catch the majority of Riding the Low’s set, a confusing choice to support Doherty. Though the band’s frontman was not short of passion, he appeared to have analysed many 70s and 80s boy bands and had picked up some bad habits. With each song sounding like it was about to go into ‘Summer of 69’ and a perplexing track about being in prison with a baby on the way, I swiftly headed to the bar.
As presumed, The Puta Madres entered the stage late, Pete sporting a fine-looking silk shirt and suit trousers which hecklers frequently told him were falling down. Accompanying Doherty was Trampoline’s Jack Jones on guitar, Doherty’s partner Katia on keys, Rafa on drums, Miggles on bass and, to the crowds sheer delight, Doherty’s two huskies (one husky, Zeus, would later allow the crowd the run their sweaty fingers through his silver fur). The set began with the first track on the new album ‘All At Sea,’ a folky, jangly pop track, and was followed by the fanatical ‘Hell to Pay at the Gates of Heaven,’ exciting the crowd as they avidly sang along “Come on you gotta choose your weapon/J-45 or AK-47.” As the set progressed, although the slimmed-down audience was relatively noticeable, Doherty’s charming dance quirks came out and a toy hedgehog was thrown at the stage (a reference to Pete’s recent wrestle with one), making the audience and the room feel fuller and more alive.
One of the highlights of the night was ‘Last of the English Roses’, a beautiful tale of young girl’s awareness of true British Culture who “Almost spilt her lager, toasting girls of great beauty.” Though Doherty has been performing this track for a decade now, he exhibited a genuine enjoyment as he recited the song as though he was telling the story for the first time. ‘Someone Else To Be’ was also a highlight, the song being made up of a cover of The Velvet Underground’s ‘Ride into the Sun’ with the addition of a section from Oasis’ ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger.’ Both the performance and song was a merge of decades of romantic, perceptive poetry, with Peter’s vocal enhancing the impact of lyrics such as “When you’re sitting at alone in self-pity, remember, you’re just one more person who’s living there,” and “Please don’t put your life in the hands of a rock n roll band who’ll throw it all away.”
The band’s encore was unfortunately cut short, to Pete’s evident disappointment, due to the queue of youths waiting to hit Rock City’s club night. Though told that the venue were pulling the plug, Doherty sang an extra song and concluded the night with Babyshambles’ ‘Albion,’ a romanticised image of Britain and her hidden beauties. As the song drew to a close, the audience began to sing the song again which was a beautiful experience as Peter could not stop himself playing along with us, despite slowly heading towards the door.
I have now seen Doherty four times, and due to his excitable and temperamental nature, each performance is a new experience and a tremendous watch.