Live review: Pete Doherty

Alec Fullerton was pleasantly surprised by Doherty at the O2 Academy Bristol

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Eudaimonia, the title of Peter Doherty’s new solo album, is a Greek word describing the contented state of being happy, healthy and prosperous. His performance at the Bristol O2 Academy on Wednesday last week, the first night of his 2016 UK solo tour, proved this to be a well-chosen title.

Expecting an intimate and relaxed solo set, as he had previously performed his solo material, you can imagine my surprise and excited anticipation when he casually sauntered on stage in classic Doherty style accompanied by a five-piece backing band: an accordionist, a Russian keyboardist with bright, bubble gum pink hair, the exceptionally talented Miki Beavis on the violin, Drew McConnell of Babyshambles on Bass and a new drummer. They played eight new songs during the performance, and the set-up really gave his music a very different vibe. It was clear that whilst writing this new album he’d been experimenting with different genres. For example, one song almost sounded like a Country and Western hoedown. In others, the very talented accordionist’s playing introduced a Ska feel to the music.

From Doherty’s electric energy and stage presence you could tell he was really proud of these new songs and was enjoying performing them. It was really good to see him enjoying himself on stage and giving such a positive performance after a few difficult years battling addiction. After opening with two fast-paced and raucous new tracks, the unmistakable violin melody announced ‘Last of the English Roses’, arguably Peter’s most popular solo track, which proved to be a real crowd pleaser as the whole venue sang the words back to him. The night was no doubt unforgettable for one man, who was invited up on stage by Doherty for ‘Albion’, after the singer noticed him wearing the same iconic red British military jacket infamously worn by The Libertines. They closed with ‘Time for Heroes’, the hectic and frenzied Libertines hit, written by Doherty after experiencing the carnage of the London May Day riots in 2000. Eudaimonia, set for release later this year, is not one to miss for any Peter Doherty fans.