Published Sep 01, 2003Within just one week of the Libertines' Opera House appearance, front-man Pete Doherty revealed that he's addicted to heroin and crack cocaine; pleaded guilty to burgling co-front-man Carl Barat's London flat; and claimed to have formed a new band called, coincidentally, the Libertines. With this in mind, Barat's confession that Doherty is "too ill to tour with the band" should garner consideration for understatement of the millennium. Doherty's not ill. He's fucked. Pity, since he sings all of the Libertines' best songs. But songs are only half of the live equation, where energy and theatrics can save a show from going pear-shaped, and in this sense the three quarters of the Libertines that braved their first trip to Canada put in a pretty solid night's work. The cadent harmonies of "What a Waster" and "Up the Bracket" were a touch spare sans Doherty, but Barat dug his heels in, doing enough shag-wagging and shuffling to make up for it. Drummer Gary Powell kept everything ultra-tight, albeit a little fast, although perfectly acceptable for a band that takes their cues from the likes of Sham 69 and the Kinks. Even opener Adam Green couldn't help but join the boys on stage for a wee gambol during the oddly Santana-esque "Begging." Oh yes, Adam Green; always a laugh. The crowd's whispers of "he's joking, right?" were answered when he got to the bits about "getting head under a rainbow" and "fucking girls with no legs." Particularly effective at an all-ages gig. But really, he's joking, right?