03.05.: Peter Doherty, Esch-sur-Alzette (Luxembourg), Rockhal Club
I didn’t quite know what to expect when buying my ticket. I had the Babyshambles’ Down In Albion and Shotter’s Nation playing on iTunes every now and then – random play that is, about 20 songs within a pool of 12.000… The ska/reggae bits I don’t like that much, otherwise I was pleased (and curious) enough to check him out.
Doherty went into his set at about 9:45pm, walking… strolling…erm, well, stumbling on and across the stage. I got this awkward feeling – yes, this is what everyone expects and so he starts to fill this role.
His solo and acoustic set featured tracks from his most recent and first solo effort Grace/Wastelands (Last Of The English Roses, Salome, New Love Grows On Trees) as well as some Babyshambles songs like Albion.
While artisticly strumming through his set he actually filled any role – rhythm, lead, vocals. And on top of that, Doherty entertained the audience. Towards the end of the set, Michael Whitnall from The Babyshambles joined him for a few more songs which saw a great Whitnall on guitar, harmonica and vocals. Part of that was an improvisation that – on Whitnall’s side – didn’t work out well, I must admit.
And here we are – I honestly don’t think Peter is much aware of it but he manages to interact. He connects with fans.
Picking up nearly everything thrown on stage. Inspecting it. A pearl necklace? He puts it around his neck – accompanied by hysteric cries of the fans (presumably, most of all utterances of the female fan who threw it). Pieces of paper? He reads most of them, a few he shows to the audience and reads aloud. Someone yells? Doherty jumps on the train and makes fun of it. Some girlies are demanding a song? Don’t ask twice, Peter’s going to play.
Slapstick, entertainment, artistry, interactivity, creativity. Peter Doherty has it.
Media Awareness, Yes – But Don’t Forget About the Music
But, look at it from the marketing perspective. Unfortunately – that’s the bad thing about it – the main element of marketing that dominates it all is Doherty’s lifestyle (if you prefer to use a euphemism), more precisely it’s all about abuse, failure and tragedy.
Admittedly, I myself did experience this impact of media awareness and thus the media presence of Doherty the majority of people is familiar with: “He’s that Kate-Moss-drug-doing-jailed-drunk-loser-guy, y’know.” If it wasn’t by chance I wouldn’t have been introduced into the music of the Babyshambles. It was about his scandals what I did know.
The Online Experience
I’m quite pleased to see he has his own website The Bony King of Nowhere (Gent/Belgium) played the opening slot. I enjoyed them a lot. Actually, I prefer their music over Peter Doherty’s (stylewise). But I have some issues about their marketing. Therefore they deserve an article on their own – coming up soon.