Pete Doherty Live @ The Troxy

Quite standable, actually.

Quite standable, actually.

Sunday night, and something decidedly indie and mainstream for the staff of DownTuned, as we brave both the East End and a style of music that doesn’t include a pig sacrifice, strange days indeed! But while the dodgy boozer next door doesn’t fill me with confidence for the evening, things pick up on entering the Troxy’s glorious 1930s art deco environs, complete with balcony booths and even a bloody carpeted dancefloor-god alone knows how they get the stains out…

It seems like the country air and pies are doing young Pete a world of good, as he ambles amiably onto stage in fine fettle, actually filling that suit for once, and launches into a lone acoustic version of “When the lights go out”, and sets the tone for this evening, one of shambling, good natured fun with the newly christened Peter and a few celebrity great mates.

Things build slowly over the next couple of songs, with Graham Coxon’s appearance for “Last of the English Roses” from the current Grace/Wastelands finally meaning the drums and strings can join in too, the sound bass-heavy enough to fill the cavernous roof space of the Troxy.

If there’s a major moan tonight, it’s that the sound mix is occasionally muddy, with backing vocals taking a particular hit, but the decision to seemingly slow everything down and put on a good old cockney sing-a-long-a-knees-up works well and covers a variety of sins-not least Wolfman’s shambling performance during “For Lovers”.

On the plus side though, the sheer good humour of the night shines through, with foot stomping bass and a tight backline (and at one point, a birthday boy in a Native American headdress banging a tambourine.) providing a great foil for Coxon’s studious noodling and pete’s wayward strumming. Things get a little luvvie when Lee Mavers pops up and gets to sing his 15 years out of date hit “There she goes” to a slightly disinterested crowd, but they soon perk up for the ubiquitous “Can’t Stand Me Now”. Finally, a good old fashioned stage invasion is prompted by Pete, and works to his advantage as one young lady in the audience has decided that stockings, suspenders and a corset are ideal gig wear, and throws herself at the man with determination.

All in all a fun night, with none of the babyish shambling and flailing that have come to blight Pe-Doh’s career in the past, a return to form at the end of tour that deserves to continue.

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