Back with a bang!
Peter Doherty and The Puta Madres
at Sin City, Swansea

Leading up to the release of their debut album ‘Who’s been having you over?’ Pete and the Puta’s have been embarking on a tour of intimate gigs across the UK. Although it’s the band’s first album, for the prolific Pete Doherty it’s his 7th studio album with his third band. The Puta Madres seem to be a fresh change of tone for Doherty. The six gig intimate tour across the UK is in massive contrast to the huge arena tour the Libertines ventured out on in 2016 and signifies a shift in focus on the connecting power of the music more-so than show stopping performance. The album itself was all recorded in Étretat Normandy in a family home overlooking a small fishing village; if that doesn’t encapsulate the spirit of the Puta Madres I’m not sure what does.

A surrogate family band, the love between the Puta Madres is tangible. Warm looks and laughs littered throughout the show reinforce this idea. Pete and guitarist Jack have a stage relationship that resembles brothers playing in the mud, a pure ecstatic joy to be together performing. Despite the flawless performance from every member, Pete is alone in his mesmeric quality. Effortless, he moves with rhythm, like honey in motion his body flows with the sounds. Bobbing and gliding about in the groove, hands stretch out to get a fingers graze on him like a rough urban deity.

The audience consisted of die-hard Doherty fans, Libertines and Babyshambles shirts from wall to wall. These people were Pete’s accolades, each and every one of them wanting to take a little bit of the music home with them to keep forever after the amps had gone silent. Local lad Jack Jones received a hero’s welcome. ‘You Jack bastard!’ filled the space between (and within) most songs and Jacks Cooper Clarke-esque poem, ‘Poundland’ was on the tongues of everyone including the main man Pete. Shabba do way to you too Jack!

The group felt like a beloved local group more than anything else. The down to earth no barriers approach was epitomised by them making some performance notes on stage as the first few groups of people began to stream through the doors. Support act Marty warmed the audience up with a charmingly impassioned blues set that commanded your attention with his frank zapper meets captain jack sparrow image and guttural vocals. A short while passes and the Puta Madres stride out onto stage marched on by the cool swagger of Doherty. The music for the most part was kept light with nothing intense to send your blood rushing, but it didn’t need that adrenaline factor. You could listen to it in any state of mind without it losing its resonance; it's powerful, it's joyful, it’s a band you could listen to on rainy days and on bright summers. With exception to title track ‘Who’s been having you over?’-that saw the energy crescendo in the first half- the level of intensity remained floating around a comfortable light area (this would soon change).

Confusion flooded the building as the band walked off stage seemingly mid set without announcement. Was this it? was this a damp squib to close the debut tour? confusion turned into anger, anger turned into boos at the security. But just as people were losing hope, out they came loaded with a fresh energy (and a violin player). We were eased into the second half by a new track, it began quiet and dissonant, building tensions in the air. The track explodes violently into a passionate chorus and there begins the road to the climax. Pete jumped about the stage, getting up close and personal with the audience, ‘You’re my Waterloo’ briefly reared its head to bring the tone back down a peg, but this peace was short lived. Here came the encore of the century. ‘Fuck Forever’s’ opening chords spat out of the amplifiers, before you could think chunks of mic stand were flying into the audience, the pianist smashed her tambourine against the cymbals of the drum kit, converting it from instrument to red shrapnel by the end of the song. Jack worked himself into a frenzy being absorbed into the song. Then there was Pete, Pete was more animal than man, belting out the lyrics with king of the jungle ferocity, roaring out the chorus with as much emotion as was capable. What a way to end the show. But the show was far from over. A brief hiatus in pace as Jack was sung a short happy birthday at the request of Doherty before being asked by Pete to perform one of his own tracks. The local crowd loved seeing the Swansea native show off his home grown talent. However, it was getting close to curfew and management were saying no more. ‘No more’ isn’t a phrase Pete understands you see, he runs up following jack’s song, snatches the guitar from his hands and dives into ‘Time for Heroes’ without hesitation, the crowd are the wildest they’ve been all night, mosh pits open to devour and spit out crazed fans. Jack dives into the crowd to have a small army of bouncers’ clamber for his ankles to drag him back over the barrier, falling red faced with laughter onto the front of the stage. The band are all dancing, Pete's going crazy, it’s how the show was destined to end. The song finishes, Pete tries to catapult his guitar into the crowd for it to be stopped mid-air by a member of his crew. Screaming, shouting, yelling their praises the people live for it. The Puta Madres swagger, laugh and stumble off stage like school kids in trouble.

It seems with the Puta Madres, Pete is in his most playful state yet, in it not for the glory of the stage but because of a compulsion to create. The lyrics are free and hold character whilst the down to earth family dynamic removes all barriers and makes the music easier to connect with. They’re a band your mum would like, they’re a band your mates would love; whoever listens, the Puta Madres will resonate.

Words and pix - Dom Waters
More of Dom's pix here

Thanks to Tony at Cloud PR for sorting this out