The great thing about the Charlatans is they never became too big.
No doubt about it, they have some great tunes, but they have fired enough blanks to ensure the superstardom enjoyed by the likes of Oasis and Coldplay has never come their way. This has afforded them an offbeat, underdog feel that fans love. And it also lends itself perfectly to another of Xfm Manchester's Acess All April gigs at the Night and Day Café.
The five-piece barely fitted on stage - I had a better view than drummer Jon Brookes - but the sound and feel clicked with the venue. They went with their new material first up, with NYC (There’s no need to stop) followed by the ska-tinged For Your Entertainment lending a laid back feel to the proceedings.Tellin’ Stories, from the 1997 album of the same name, followed before a switch back to The Architect from new album Simpatico served as a reminder as to the Charlatans versatility and courage. Their musical experimentation doesn’t always work - the new material in the main received a less than rapturous reception - but at least they have the guts to try it.
The hi-octane Feel the Pressure and How High went down predictably well, as did Jesus Hairdo and You’re So Pretty, before Sproston Green brought matters to a rousing conclusion. If Brookes had been given the worst seat in the house tucked away at the back of the stage, he made sure everyone was aware of his presence with a manic finale.
Tim Burgess, not always the most reliable singer, was on good form too. And thankfully he kept banter to a minimum because he’s clueless on that front. Nine studio albums in and the Charlatans show little sign of flagging, or losing touch with their core values. They are now embarking on a tour that will take in the UK and US before a summer of festival appearances. Catch them if you can.
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