Review and images by Jonathan Taylor
To celebrate the release of their album “A Head Full of Ideas”, which is a career spanning best of record that encapsulates their remarkable musical career since the 1990’s, The Charlatans take to the road on a 31st anniversary UK tour.
The crowd in Birmingham spans the generations which is testament to The Charlatans, the impact of their swaggering guitars and Hammond driven soundscapes and its ability to resonate way beyond their original fan base.
The set opens with the broody Hammond organ and the melodic guitars of ‘Forever’ and as front man Tim Burgess takes to the stage the crowd erupts in a wave of appreciation.
‘Weirdo’ follows and the evening continues with epic notes of musical nostalgia with the likes of ‘Then’ from debut album ‘Some Friendly’, ‘You’re So Pretty’, the monumental ‘One to Another’ and the iconic ‘The Only One I Know’. ‘Just When You’re Thinkin’ Things Over’, ‘Can’t get Out of Bed’ and ‘The man Needs to Be Told’ are welcomed additions to the set and still sound incredible regardless of the passage of time.
Latest offerings ‘Different Days’ and ‘Plastic Machinery’ between which, true to the album, there is the spoken word sample by author Ian Rankin sound perfectly at home amongst the back catalogue of classics. The set is brought to a close with ‘Sproston Green’ with intros and outros that build euphorically and are always a musical highlight when played live.
The Charlatans are a band of great tradition and musical invention. Over the decades they have experienced great tragedy and loss within the band yet continued to produce music true their roots and of the highest order.
Iconic bands are very few and far between. But tonight, it was clear that The Charlatans confirm again that they are worthy of such an accolade. Their music from over the decades is timeless, remains relevant in both lyrical and musical content and its ability to unite the generations was truly an incredible site to behold.