Libertines | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Libertines 

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Plenty of folks questioned the Who's decision to begin a U.S. tour just days after John Entwistle died, but what if it had been Roger Daltrey? That's closer to what London's Libertines are trying as they tour the States this month without Pete Doherty, who up till now has shared the guitarist-front man job with Carl Barat. The British press is reporting that Doherty blew off some European shows in June and was arrested for burglary a few weeks ago; according to a publicist for the band, they're "very concerned for his well being [and] have told him out of concern for his health that he needs to get better before he can rejoin them." Anthony Rossomando (of Boston's Damn Personals) is apparently filling in on the American dates, but how? Doherty's laconic singing, which suggests an English Julian Casablancas, is one of the best things about the band's superb debut, Up the Bracket (Rough Trade). Produced by Mick Jones of the Clash, the album isn't particularly original, but its shambling energy is hard to resist. The roughshod guitars and rude rhythms are as loose as early New York punk, but the pop smarts, as evidenced in songs like "Boys in the Band" and "The Boy Looked at Johnny," go all the way back to the Kinks. Reviews of the Doherty-less shows have been largely positive, and the promise of the album certainly makes this set a risk worth taking. Sunday, August 10, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Roger Sargent.

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