Q Live At Concrete
Q The Music Club, September 28, 2010
On Tuesday, 28 September, Tim Burgess and his band of merry men, The Charlatans, showcased tracks from their eagerly-awaited 11th album, the Youth-produced Who We Touch, plus a sprinkling of old classics, at London's Hard Rock Cafe. The Hard Rock...
On Tuesday, 28 September, Tim Burgess and his band of merry men, The Charlatans, showcased tracks from their eagerly-awaited 11th album, the Youth-produced Who We Touch, plus a sprinkling of old classics, at London's Hard Rock Cafe.
The Hard Rock Café is a very intimate venue. The crowd are so close in fact that they are given the opportunity to look right into the whites of frontman Tim Burgess' eyes as he takes centre-stage. This view is incredibly rare because his glinting gaze is usually obscured by an increasingly avant-garde choice of haircut. In a strangely biblical Samson scenario, as his hair gets longer The Charlatans seem to grow ever stronger.
The group marked an impressive 20 year career this year with the release of Who We Touch, a youthfully vibrant offering which yet exudes the creative confidence of a lengthy musical life. Labelled by many to be an also ran of the late eighties Madchester scene, The Charlatans are seen as survivors, a band who were cast off into the wilderness after being overshadowed by The Stone Roses and then Oasis. If they are to have this survival tag however they have surely proven to be more Bear Grylls than Ray Mears as their popularity with the public, having outlasted both aforementioned acts, seems only to be growing.
The set mixes a few contemporaries with many of the classics. Those lucky enough to be there bounce with glee. Burgess reciprocates by jumping impishly from one foot to the other as though standing on hot coals throughout the gig. 20 years may have taken their toll on the outfit's physical appearance but they tear into North Country Boy with abundant energy. The Only One I Know is another nostalgic hit which shows no signs of growing weary with age. Burgess defies maturity during How High as he frantically moves around the small stage like a child on a sugar high. The highlight is Weirdo, its introspective lyrics and Acid house influenced tempo provide the pinnacle of a great performance.
The Charlatans are reinvigorated, playing with a smile, new material fitting the standard set by previous eras. Love Is Ending gains just as hefty a response as One To Another. Despite sadly having to replace their drummer Jon Brookes who collapsed on-stage during a recent gig in Philadelphia, The group seem as determined as ever to triumph in adversity. As Brookes aims to rejoin in six weeks time, the survivor tag placed on the band can now be attributed with a different connotation.
- Simon Butcher
Our lucky competition winner won the opportunity to review the gig and interview the band. See below to see what they thought:
Playing at the Hard Rock Cafe The Charlatans couldn’t have failed to notice the rock history surrounding them. Behind the stage were some beautifully tasteless Beatles shirts and on either side drum kits used by John Bonham and Mitch Mitchell peered down on the performers. Matching this rock aristocracy may be a tall order but the band were undaunted; playing an intense hour long set which made no concession for this being a small promo show.
The band immediately launch into a trio of the highlights from the new album Who We Touch. Your Pure Soul stands out as a lyrically dark but beautifully subtle pop song that, as so often with The Charlatans, sounds unexpectedly anthemic live.
Tellin’ Stories marked the start of a succession of classic tunes. This was dedicated to drummer Jon Brookes who was very sadly diagnosed with a brain tumour on their recent North American tour. Verve drummer Pete Salisbury had been drafted in as a temporary replacement to allow the UK dates to go ahead as planned.
Tim Burgess was all nervous energy as he danced around the stage during the rest of a set which was a surprising mixture of greatest hits and a few songs from previous album You Crossed My Path. He must have also been pleased that the garage rock influenced new album opener Love is Ending slotted in seamlessly alongside the existing crowd pleasers North Country Boy and The Only One I Know. Proof that The Charlatans are a long way from being consigned to rock history just yet.
- Gavin Eves.
FAN VIDEO INTERVIEW