Nightmoves @ The Libertine

JUST as the Merchant City's gentrification sits in stark contrast to the nearby Gallowgate, The Libertines' reunion week was also one of extremes.

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Two weeks ago they played two nights at the Barrowlands, their first gigs together since 2010.

To witness two of my teenage heroes back together was exhilarating: it didn't matter that I was surrounded by sweaty boors chanting Babyshambles songs (a fact not lost on Carl Barat, who looked slightly horrified) and soaked in second-hand beer (I really hope it was beer).

They were fantastic, though, tearing through 20 or so songs in what felt like half an hour.

Pete Doherty looked at his dishevelled best, and while there were signs of rustiness it was outshone by the band's energy and enthusiasm.

I wasn't at Hyde Park on Saturday - just seven days later - but friends of mine who were at both gigs felt let down by the whole experience.

The distance between the crowd and the band was insurmountable, and the sound, as at any big gig, was scatty and unclear. The outpouring of love was on a similar scale, but the setting failed to deliver.

So in the week that saw the triumphant/disastrous (delete according to preference) reunion of the loveable, grubby rockers, what better place to indulge in some serious drinking than the Merchant City bar named after this beloved band?

The Libertine, at the corner of Bell and Albion (fittingly) Street, has the location and the name - but is it the kind of boozer that the former indie urchins would frequent?

Well, not really, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing.

This is no grimy, spit and sawdust Islington boozer: it's modern, spotless and noticeably lacking in drug-addled rock stars.

Instead, there are young professionals everywhere drinking European lagers and watching the World Cup.

Pete and Carl might not approve, but I have a feeling the Merchant City drinker's tastes are quite different.

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