Credit: BBC

Watch The Libertines chaotic performance of ‘Horrorshow’ from 2002

If you were never sure what all the fandom surrounding The Libertines was all about, then let us take you through just a few of the moments that made The Libertines a religion, if only for a short while.

The Libertines were a true phenomenon. Moulding the aesthetic look of New York bands like The Strokes, Pete Doherty and Carl Barat were so incredibly British (even adding British Red Coats to their look). Live and raw when performing on stage, they thrilled a sub-sect of London to exclamation and in the end became mega-stars.

There were plenty of reasons for the band’s dramatic rise; the love between the two frontmen, the anarchic and destructive nature of the band that had all the charm of a Romantic in a gin palace, the poetry of the music and, least of all, their authenticity when speaking for the common man.

Oasis lead singer Noel Gallagher once said of the band: “If Oasis was the sound of the council estate singing its heart out, The Libertines were the man behind the dumpster having a go.” High praise? We think so.

Either way, one thing was undeniable about The Libertines; their unbelievably energetic, anarchic and unstoppably inclusive live performances. They picked fans up by the scruff of the neck and turned them into gang members at will, with many tattooing themselves with the group’s handwriting. The Libertines were leaders of a new generation.

During the band’s inception, they played the London toilet circuit with aplomb. But they made one haunt their home: The Rhythm Factory. The East London venue became a foreword in the indie explosion of the early noughties following these halcyon performances. It was here that their cult began and would find its unsteady feet.

The video below shows one such performance of the Up The Bracket album opener ‘Horrorshow’, but more importantly the crowd’s reaction to it. The track is a furious and frenetic power punk scramble through the dark streets of London and judging by the crowd they know what they’re in for.

As Doherty and Barat attempt to sing and play their furious riffs the crowd are intent on consuming them whatever way they can. Doherty is pulled into the crowd and Barat mobbed by fans but it doesn’t stop them thrashing through their song with the kind of energy that punk heroes, Joe Strummer and Iggy Pop would be proud of.

Take a trip back to 2002, before the drugs and debauchery made headline news, before Pete Doherty was attached to one of the most famous people in the world, and most importantly before the world caught on. Look back to see one of the most chaotic, energetic and furious live performances you’re ever likely to see.

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