The Puta Madres is Peter Doherty's latest band to join the big Albion family. Yet some faces are already familiar: Babyshambles' bassist Drew McConnell for instance, as well as the brand new recruit, Jack Jones from Trampolene. Jones was already The Libertines’s tour poet last year, and was recently invited to be part of The Puta Madres as a guitarist, and Doherty's new sidekick.
The Libertines co-frontman has just released his first solo album in 7 years called Hamburg Demonstrations, which as many noted, reveals a very different sound and a fairly surprising evolution in terms of style, marking an undeniable coming to maturity.
This couldn’t be more true live. A Doherty gig nowadays is more ressemblant of a folkloric celebration rather than the punk rock revival it once was. Don’t get me wrong, folklore doesn’t mean old and boring, we’re talking about good ol’ Pete Doherty and a band called The M*ther F*ckers (or literally the whore mothers in Spanish) - it’s obviously still as shambolic.
24-year old guitarist Jack Jones - who learnt the perks of British patriotism from his mentor wearing only a Welsh flag over his shoulders - brings the band back to the early Libertines reckless and chaotic days, displaying a very close complicity with the frontman, fooling about, falling on each other and rolling around the stage…
It’s delightfully messy and scruffy, nobody seems to be really aware of the setlist halfway through the gig, the entire band wanders around the stage chatting and laughing with each other constantly as if they were on their own, jamming! But it’s got soul, and it's as real as a live performance gets.
Peter Doherty tries to pull a fan who managed to crowd surf his way onto the stage during the madness of “Killamangiro", then starts teasing a security guard 'Jim Morrison style', playing with his earpiece and screaming "Fuck Forever" to his face. Carl Barât is lying there on the ground next to drummer Rafa, joining in times to times… Guitars, keyboards, and bras fly in and out the stage, and the singer can’t even find a working mic anymore, but it’s ok because the crowd knows all the lyrics by heart!
Doherty delivers a performance as intimate at the O2 Forum as it would be in a bassement! It’s full of imperfections and character, and makes you feel like you’ve been invited to a Puta Madres rehearsal, during which friends such as The Libertines' bassist John Hassall come say 'Hi', and maybe perform "Gunga Din" in Spanish just for the kicks…
The Puta Madres/Babyshambles/Libertines - God knows who is who anymore - bring the frenzy to an end with "Up The Bracket", followed by an improvised and pleasantly raw performance of "Hallelujah" in memory of the late Leonard Cohen. Fortunately, The Libertines’ new reputation of mature and responsible band - who performed a series of very polished Stadium gigs last year - has been positively tarnished by a new band de Puta Madre.