Sunday, 15 May 2011

Peter Doherty: HMV Institiute Birmingham

Peter Doherty played the HMV Institiute, Birmingham on the 14th May 2011.

Writtler mboy007 writtled
My stab at a bit of a review...

Arrived about half way through Wass' set and, after reading various reports in the past about him being too wasted to play etc, was really surprised at how good he was. Must confess we walked in to hear him doing very competent but dull 'indie singer songwriter' fodder but it stepped up with a song about a two timing wife, then one called 'Runaway Blues' followed by a new song (he told us) called 'True Love Lies.' He was totally sober, suited and booted and seemed to be enjoying himself. The set went down well from what was seen, finishing predictably with 'Hired Gun'.

Peter kept us waiting until 8.55 (advertised as an 8.30 start) but that was no big deal... although every minute after about 8.45 did increase the worry as to whether he would show. Looking at the stage set up it was hard to see how he needed to be late, given that it was pretty much just him, a guitar and an amp.

He wandered on and launched into 'Flophouse' looking, to my mind, tired, puffy faced and a little bloated. The crowd were behind him however and he carried straight on into 'DLBITS' which got a fantastic reaction... the problem which I think plagued the night for me by this time was evident though - he seemed to all the world to me like a bloke who'd got clattered the night before, woken up with a crushing hangover and decided the best thing to do was to try and drink through it. I'd stake my mortgage on the fact he was drunk - not wasted drunk, but drunk enough and tired enough to be sloppy. He stayed this way through the entire evening, in my opinion, although he did liven up momentarily in one or two songs, such as 'Waster'. He noodled away on guitar during and inbetween songs, but rarely seemed to be able to get the sort of sound I should imagine he wanted. It wasn't fluid, it was messy. Irritatingly messy when you know he can do miles better and you've paid to be there.

The rest of the set passed without anything remarkable happening, apart from my having to ask two lads in front of me to shut the fuck up as Peter began 'Lady' (one of my favourite songs of his) Mind you, is that remarkable, people chatting loudly at an acoustic gig? Unfortunately not, but why do people pay £20 to go and shout a conversation at each other at a venue when they could save their money and have a conversation in their lounge?

Peter left the stage at 10.20, shortly before the curfew.

Overall, I was sorry I'd bothered going as it was all so half arsed on Peter's part. Finally getting to see him live (solo, that is) and then hearing favourites like 'East of Eden' tossed out without much effort in terms of maintaining tempo or delivering lyrics well was disappointing. To be fair, we all have our off days. Selfishly however, I just wish he hadn't had one of his when I saw him.

The venue, by the way, I'd recommend to anyone travelling to B'ham for a gig - nice and intimate, decent little bars with enough staff on them and a capacity I'd guess of about 700. Seemed pretty much sold out to me last night, but if it wasn't it must have been close. Beer was £4 a pint, but then it was a gig in the middle of a big city so you couldn't expect to pay much less I don't suppose.

The setlist (which, as you'll see, contains no '32nd December'-esque surprises) was:

For Lovers
Can't Stand
East of Eden
What Katy Did
Time for Heroes
Sorry - left off original post - Fuck Forever
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