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Peter at the Torriano

Peter played another solo gig at the Torriano Pub in Kentish Town last night. Apparently it was 20 quid at the door, so much more than on Wednesday night, but he also played much longer. I wasn't there so I leave the word to Alicepooh and her beatiful review:
"The Torriano – March 20th, 2008. By all accounts, last night’s [i.e. Wednesday] Pete Doherty gig in Kilburn was a pretty odd experience. Too many people packed into too little space, and a strange, aggressive crowd thanks to numerous XFM Radio announcements. People who not only didn’t know the music, but several not even knowing what he looked like (no mean feat considering the number of pictures of Doherty that have appeared in the tabloid press over the past couple of years). Several people said they overheard discussions about whether Alan Wass was in fact Pete. Round this off with an excess of paparazzi anxious to get photographs, and you have the makings of, at best, a mixed experience. It was therefore with some trepidation that I headed to The Torriano in Kentish Town this evening. Again, the gig seemed to have had a different scale of publicity than the usual last minute Shambles or Doherty show, this time, announced on the NME website. None of the ‘post it for five minutes and delete’ approach. The information said the show would be at 9pm. At half past 7 the pub was populated by a small handful of likely fans, by eight there were a few more, and by nine, the pub was busy. But not overflowing. Which was just as well since it was little, and the basement performance space was said to hold only 50. The presence of Adrian from Lazy Eye, Pete’s manager, reassured [actually it wasn't Adrian, it was Andy, the other manager], but no one really seemed to know what was going on. However, the crowd was laid back, the atmosphere in the lovely pub was relaxed, and it was a nice place to have a drink or two. Lots of friendly people, familiar faces, chatting. When Pete arrived, no one mobbed him, a few people said hi, but the mood remained easy. Finally we were let downstairs to the smallest performance room I’ve been in. They weren’t kidding that the capacity was 50, but it was OK, cause there weren’t really more than that in the whole pub. A mic stand and guitar indicated the stage area, and Pete stood about talking to people – there was really nowhere else for him to be. A turntable played Velvet Underground. Just like in the old days. At about half nine, Pete made his way to the mic and welcomed everyone and announced a ‘warm up’ act, Coco. A young woman with an incredibly distinctive voice came up and sang three songs. She was remarkable. Breathy, raw and beautiful. And the crowd clearly thought so too, giving her attention and fulsome applause, and welcoming the ‘extra’ fourth song she played at Pete’s request. An amazing start to the evening. Then Pete came on and played a truly wonderful set. It was close up, intimate and breathtaking. The audience was quiet, managed to convey enthusiasm without undue pushing and shoving, singing along without drowning out the man we’d all come to see, joining in to provide backing vocals rather than a full blooded sing along. Doherty looked well, focussed, and was very chatty, despite a few tentative moments. It must be daunting to play a crowd, however small, when there is nothing between you and them. No stage, no barrier, no security. When it works, it’s lovely. But if the crowd had been one of those pushy-shoving-getapiceofhimquick it could have been horrible. Fortunately, the audience was calm and allowed the intimacy of the event to wrap around us and the performers. But you never know beforehand. Couldn’t have been a greater contrast with Wednesday night in Kilburn. We could all relax and enjoy the moment. I’m not sure if this is the full set list. It’s certainly only in approximate order. But it included: Back from the Dead, Ballad of Grimaldi, Dilly Boys, Whole World is Our Playground, Albion, What a Waster, Death on the Stairs, Smashing, Beg Steal Borrow, Pipey McGraw, Music When the Lights Go Out, What Katie Did, Can't Stand Me Now. Smashing included an approximation of the French bit, although it seemed as if he was making it up as he went along, and that without conviction. He began Beg Steal twice, deciding he’d done it wrong after he’d sung about a third of the song, and a bloke shouting out ‘bravo’ made him lose his place in Grimaldi. The mood was unbelievable. Supportive, warm and happy. And it makes such a difference to the overall feel of the event. About half way through Pete made an announcement about the pub, which is, apparently, threatened with closure, a property developer has acquired it and has plans to convert the site into flats. The landlady came onstage and gave a little talk about this, ending with a plea for everyone to go onto the pub;s website and ‘sign’ a petition. Well worth doing, folks, it’s a really nice pub. What makes a good evening is partly the performance, there’s no doubt about that. But the other people there can make all the difference between something truly magical and something faintly unpleasant. Tonight was positively in the ‘magic’ end of the spectrum. Not to be forgotten in a hurry."
Thanks a lot to Alicepooh for her report of course. Now, listen to this. The Torriano Pub is in dire straits and likely to be closed soon. Adrian Hunter sent this appeal to FDW, asking to spread the word:
"This is mine and Andy's local. It's under severe threat of redevelopment. i.e. flats which will RUIN the area and the community therein. So please sign the petition Do it via Facebook or email (, and tell her you support this. All of our locals are on their way out, but try and help. It's got a special place in my, Andy and Peter's heart and if it goes .... it's just a little step further towards the death of Camden Town. Spread the word ... BB".


nearerdark said...

I filmed the Torriano show and put the video up here, just in case you'd like to see it: Peter Doherty at The Torriano

EZ said...