Dirty Pretty Things, Brixton Academy, London

Brixton Academy, London

Ex-Libertine Carl Barat may have been overshadowed this year by his former bandmate Pete Doherty, but to give Barat his due, at least his Dirty Pretty Things can be relied on to turn up and play a set that bears some resemblance to their album, Waterloo to Anywhere. What's more, Barat is still faithful to the concept of the English dream world called "Arcadia", and this lets them claim a bit of rock territory as their own.

The stage was dressed as an Arcadian living room, with a bar and a Union flag draped over a speaker, and Barat was the Arcadian rock star: skinny, cigarette permanently in paw. Guitarist Anthony Rossomando and bassist Didz Hammond were the angular courtiers, while drummer Gary Powell was the shirtless powerhouse who put swagger into the rhythms.

The set was a streamlined whizz through the past, present and future. The past was dealt with via jagged takes on the Libertines' The Good Old Days and France, provoking bleats of joy, but these were nothing compared to the frenzy that greeted Dirty Pretty hits like Deadwood and Bang Bang, You're Dead.

It wasn't that DPT material was awfully different from the old stuff - Barat's lyrical theme is still the many ways a young man can get into trouble in London - but they were delivered with extra panache. Meanwhile, the future, glimpsed in the form of a new song called How Can They Be Tired of England?, holds more of the same. Given the energy they're putting into the present, that can't be a bad thing.

· At Newcastle Academy, tomorrow (0191- 260-2020). Then touring.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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