Performing live has always been at the forefront of everything The Libertines do and with an intimate gig at Southampton’s Engine Rooms, it would have been entirely remiss not to go and check out their set.

This was not my first rodeo, and it was actually my third time seeing the Libertines in the last twelve months, but with a fantastic line up of Tom Bright, the Dead Freights supporting the Libs, it was set to be an epic night of live music.

Tom Bright

We kicked off proceedings with the brilliant singer-songwriter Tom Bright who is no stranger to House of Coco. One of the most hardworking individuals in the music industry, Tom performed tracks from his three solo albums as well as giving a sneak peek into one of the tracks from his forthcoming fourth solo album which has been produced by Mick Jones from The Clash.

John Kennedy of Radio X has declared Tom to be ‘one of the UK’s most moving songwriters’ and with a playbook of emotional tracks like ‘Pull Me Up’, ‘Down The Line’ and ‘Legacy’ it’s easy to be swept away by both his rich yet gravelly tone and his impressive song writing prowess.

Tom was joined by talented musician Jared Rood on electric guitar for a few tracks and both musicians fed off each others energy, with Jared’s playing elevating Tom’s tracks and adding texture to Tom’s melodies.

Tom effortlessly engaged with the crowd with a delightful combination of charm, energy and humour, regaling them with tales of his past including how he was the UK’s youngest ever pub landlord before he found a career in music.

As well as performing several tracks such as ‘Bless Our Generation’ and ‘Legacy’, Tom also recited one of his poems (from his own book of poetry) to the captivated crowd. It was a well-rounded, life-affirming and endearing performance from the highly-likeable musician.

Dead Freights

Returning for a support slot with The Libertines was Southampton-based band the Dead Freights who lit up the stage with their unique blend of indie rock and metal/grunge. With influences from Nirvana, Rage Against The Machine, and Father John Misty, they are the epitome of sleazy rock and roll and have a mesmerising and visceral presence.

The Dead Freights are an exciting band and are certainly ones to watch in the coming months. This was their second time supporting The Libertines and a few of their tracks have been produced by The Libertine’s Gary Powell.

Front man Charlie performs like his life depends on it and I could see elements of Brett Anderson (Suede) Damon Albarn (blur) with a hint of Mick Jagger in his stage presence. Collectively, the Dead Freights are a force to be reckoned with and we expect great things with their forthcoming debut album which is out in April 2024.

With tracks like ‘Call Me On The Wildside’ (which is a rousing blend of ‘Call Me Maybe’ and ‘Walk On The Wildside’), ‘Batman’ and ‘How Much To Call Me Daddy’, the Dead Freights offer an intoxicating and thrilling brand of authentic, unadulterated rock and roll.

The Libertines

Over the last twenty odd years, The Libertines have played to some huge crowds including Glastonbury, Reading Festival and BST Hyde Park, but for their ‘All Quiet On The Eastern Esplanade’ tour, the band were all about taking it back to their roots with a run of sold out dates in a series of intimate settings.

As soon as the strains of Kool & The Gang’s ‘Jungle Boogie’ filled the room, you knew it was time for The Libertines to take to the stage. Pete, Carl, John and Gary were in superb form and seemed thrilled to bits to be performing in such an intimate venue.

With the imminent release of their forthcoming fourth studio album ‘All Quiet on the Eastern Esplanade’ which is their first studio release in nearly nine years, this was a chance to showcase both newer tracks, deep dives and fan favourites such as ‘What Became of the Likely Lads’, ‘Up The Bracket’, ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ and ‘Don’t Look Back Into the Sun’.

As usual, vocals were shared between Carl and Pete, with both singers expertly trading vocals on both classic Libertines tracks as well as songs from the forthcoming albums such as ‘

Run Run Run’, ‘Shiver’ and ‘Night Of The Hunter’, all of which effortlessly found their place amongst the Libertines mainstays.

Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

Standout tracks included ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’, ‘What Katie Did’, ‘The Boy Looked at Johnny’ and a tour debut of ‘What a Waster’ from their 2002 debut album ‘Up The Bracket’.

It was a triumphant return for the indie rock stalwarts who hadn’t played Southampton since 2002, their set was first-class and showcased their distinctive brand of indie-rock as well as their electrifying chemistry and undeniable stage presence.

Photo Credit: Russ Leggatt

This was a true-to-form outing from the indie-rockers, they delivered an outstanding set that was celebratory, nostalgic and rousing in equal measure. Pete, Carl, John and Gary served up a masterclass in delivering catchy choruses, intoxicating hooks and rousing riffs, The Libertines gave a first class and enthralling performance.

Photo Credit: Emma Harrison and Russ Leggatt – where specified


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